Saturday, October 8, 2016

Fig Farm update: rooting cuttings and air-layers, and covering the orchard in tunnel greenhouses

We are currently in the process of building 9 more tunnel greenhouses that will cover our new outdoor fig orchard.  The new tunnels are needed to extend the growing season and produce enough cuttings and air-layers to fill the 2017 fig orders.

The new tunnels will combine to reach almost 1,000 feet in total length and will be covered by around 1/3 of a mile of greenhouse plastic (double layered for insulation), which will be removed for seasonal storage in the spring.  The pics below show the 5' long 3/4" EMT metal conduit that we hammered into the ground to serve as footers for 20' long 1.5" thick schedule 40 PVC pipes that will form the ribs of the tunnel.  The PVC pipes are due to arrive tomorrow, and should go up fast  :)

Not all of the orchard has been planted yet, and a few of the empty planting locations that we had marked earlier will need to be moved slightly to get them inside the tunnels, as you can see in the first picture.  (The original line of planting locations had quite a bend in it, and when I made the tunnel line somewhat straight, it resulted in some of the old empty planting locations ending up outside of the tunnel line.)

During this time we've also been pruning and potting up some nice air-layers that were set around 3-4 weeks ago.  Here are some pics of a few:

We've also been rooting lots of cuttings in humidity bins, and they're starting to push out nice roots:


Overall, fig propagation is proceeding pretty well right now.  Cuttings are rooting well, air-layers are setting well, and the new tunnels are on pace to be done perhaps a couple of weeks before first frost.  We should then be able to continue growing trees at a good rate as it gets cold, and will have ample space for holding as many additional trees over the winter as we need. 

As the trees for your individual orders become ready, we'll email the you to let you know and to give you the choice of having your trees shipped at that time (late fall or winter, depending on the order) or waiting until the weather becomes warmer/safer in the early spring.  As of right now it looks like we'll be able to finish the trees for about 1/3 of the 2016 orders by sometime in November and will have the rest ready by early spring.  We are also cautiously optimistic that we'll be on-time for the 2017 orders thanks to all the extra greenhouse space we're building.