Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Roof gardens and high winds

Yesterday, a severe storm warning, wind advisories, a tornado watch.  So I lifted the fig down, and some smaller pots whose intentions I suspected. The wind did blow, hard, so that even President Obama's choppers and escorts (again!), when they flew back to JFK were crabbing, noses into the wind, tails downwind. I wonder if Air Force One took off on time. Airport delays were at 2-3 hours at that point. I suppose if the president wants to go, he goes. I worried a bit, about the sideways choppers, I mean. . 

If you want to know how I know about crabbing you must watch Flying Wild, on Netflix. It's a riveting reality series (a sequence of words I rarely utter) about bush pilots working in remote parts of Alaska.

Do you see how small the fig leaves are, compared to previous years? Root pruning and all. The growing tips have ceased to want to grow, which also meant fewer figs this year. I know the tree needs to be in a bigger pot, but this late winter, for the first time, I will prune its branches, and hard. I gave this treatment to the blueberry in summer, gritting my teeth - it had not put out much new growth this year, and that is where next year's berries will appear. So I cut back to old wood, and hoped. It has excellent new branches now, the longest about 24". They have had a good amount of time to harden before the cold starts.

But I am nervous about the fig. I cheer myself up thinking of some of the old timers still in this hood, who cut their figs to the ground, and bundle them up for winter.

We'll see.


  1. Your Clematis certainly came through the storm all right. It is spectacular! Mine is just starting to bloom, but yours is in full swing!

    I am thinking of adding a fig to my terrace next year. Do you recommend a Brown Turkey, a Chicago Hardy, or some other cultivar? Let me know what you think is best for a NYC Terrace, please.

  2. I am curious about figs. i look forward to hearing how things go after you cut it back.

    This month I took a workshop with these two men, Eric Toensmeier and Jonathan Bates.

    I don't know if this is transferable, but they have a kiwi they keep outside, and it took them years to understand that the fruit only grew on the fourth year growth. I wonder if figs have some other rule?

    During the workshop and talk of figs they did not mention any quirks about them, but they have them in the greenhouse i think. And as i mentioned before, there is the trick of burying the top of the plant under dirt in cold climates (like they do at Smith College in Northampton MA)


  3. Terrace Gardener - I don't know the cultivar of my fig, it came nameless. Choose the hardiest variety you can. Chicago is a safe bet. As to location, "A NYC Terrace" - each terrace is very different; your microclimate will make a big difference. Mainly, it should not be overexposed to wind in winter. So if you're facing a wide open west, that might be too nippy.

    Sara - most figs make two crops, one on the previous year's growth, called the breba crop; and the main crop on the new year's green growth. I did not know that kiwis fruited on fourth year wood. Interesting, as they are a vine. How does one tell? Pruning, I suppose...

  4. Maybe they label each year's growth. :)

    FYI: 55 mph at Coney Island.

  5. tried to find "flying wild" on
    Netflix, no luck. Is this the
    correct title?

  6. tried to find "flying wild"
    on Netflix, no luck. is this the
    correct title?

  7. Frank - heheh. Tough winds!

    Anonymous, the full title is Flying Wild Alaska. But Flying Wild will pull it up first in Search bar.

  8. Marie and Frank: They had been overpruning, and finally let the wood grow, and voilá, kiwis. Also, the various years growth was not as obvious to me as it was to the growers, but you could tell the difference by the diameter of the woody vine.
    Marie thanks, the "breba" crop.
    I ate some yummy figs today, then I read about Estorboloco.


Comments on posts older than 48 hours are moderated (for spam control) . Yours will be seen! Unless you are a troll. Serial trollers are banned.