Dan Foster's Tips for Growing Figs in Michigan
Dan Foster is a well respected fig grower who's been around in the fig communities for a long time! He's seen everything and his perspective on growing figs in Michigan is well worth sharing. In this interview we talk about soil, fertilizer, growing in fig trees in containers, varieties and his unique perspective.
One of the interesting points Dan made was that every fig grower could give you a different answer for things like fertilizer, soil & growing in containers. It's about what works for you. I think most would agree however that a well balanced fertilizer that's consistently applied early in the growing season is the general recommendation. Most would also say that a well draining mix is also the way to go.
I think it's important to consider what you want. Going the organic route? Try compost tea & make your own soil. It's worth it. Microbes are important. We're made of microbes. Plants and the soil is no different.
If you want high performance from your mix and fertilizer that's proven, studies have been done on growing Cannabis. While Ficus Carica is not the same, I think we can still apply similar techniques. At Utah State, Dr. Bugbee recommends 50% peat and 50% vermiculite. By using an electrical conductivity meter, you can determine if your soil needs more nutrients. Figs as it's recommended when growing cannabis should be in between 1 and 1.5 milliSiemens per meter.
We also talked about De Tres Esplets, Fehmarn and LSU Tiger. Some varieties that Dan recommends.
Years ago I reviewed De Tres Esplets:
LSU Tiger is a fig that I talked a lot about recently here: https://www.figboss.com/post/6-fig-varieties-that-rose-in-the-ranks-from-prior-growing-seasons - Dan has been raving about it for years. I've thought of this fig in the past as a Celeste but double the size. It's more than that. The skin is incredible and uniquely chewy and sweet. It does taste similar to Celeste, but the berry is a bit more intense than some of the Celeste figs. This year none of them split or even cracked. They dried on the tree very easily and even through rain! I couldn't believe it. This fig is incredible and is now what I would consider one of the best figs I grow. It's certainly the best fig in this blog post.