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By Maddy

West Sussex, United Kingdom Gb

Two questions please!
1) 4 months ago I got some advice about caring for the natural hedge that I planted. It's done very well but I want to encourage it to thicken at the base. What is the right time of the year to cut it down a bit, and how low should I cut it?
2) My fig is growing beautifully against a South facing shed wall. Very early on I had 4 gorgeous figs, then I had around 30 none of which have ripened. They're still on the plant. What did I do wrong and how can I improve things next year?

Thanks in advance, Maddy.

Many thanks



Regarding the fig, you've done nothing wrong - its just we haven't had much warm sunshine since early August so that the figs could ripen properly. The weather plays its part in making your fruit lovely to eat, and if we don't get it, then your fruit doesn't ripen.
As for the hedge, depends what plants you've got in it really, but generally speaking, practice is to reduce by a third to 2 thirds at planting time. Perhaps you can do that next Spring instead.

19 Sep, 2011


I saw a fig last week exactly the same - a few big ripe ones and a lot of small ones. The very tiniest ones may go through the winter and carry on next year but the rest won't, sadly. Not your fault, our climate is only just on the borderline for figs.

19 Sep, 2011


Here in Arizona, with our long, hot growing season, we get 3-4 crops of figs each year. In the UK, as in the USA's Pacific Northwest, two crops would be a good year. I don't see any cause for shame, Maddy, though if there are any shade trees around that might be blocking the sun, some pruning of them might be in order. A couple of 20 liter drinking water bottles filled with colored water set near the tree in early spring might speed things up a little, too.

19 Sep, 2011


Eh? What do you mean by a couple of bottles filled with 'coloured' water, Tugbrethil? And by setting them near the tree?

20 Sep, 2011


Thank you Bamboo,Tubrethil, and Steragram.

Tubrethil, please explain about bottles of coloured water otherwise I'll be awake all night trying to figure it out !! Maddy

20 Sep, 2011


He might come on this evening, Maddy - the time difference means he's not on during the day much. But I'm desperate to know what he means too - at the moment, because I don't understand it, it's in the same box as dancing round a mulberry tree at midnight wearing a grass skirt and singing as a cure for warts...

20 Sep, 2011


The colored water absorbs heat during the day--from sunlight, if present, from ambient light otherwise--and releases it at night. Smaller bottles help with early planted flowers and veggies, but the bigger the plant, the bigger the bottle needs to be.
I'd try Bamboo's cure, but it would have to be in a front yard a block over, and I could see dissension and tumult erupting! : D

21 Sep, 2011


I didn't know a gardening site could be so amusing. Bamboo your comment about dancing around a mulberry tree had me in stiches and I hope, Tugbrethil that you weren't offended by our ignorance.
I shall definitely try your coloured water remedy next year (no problem with neighbours, they can't see the area!) and let you know if I'm successful.
Many thanks, especially for brightening my day. M.

21 Sep, 2011


Ooh, cool idea, never heard of it before Tugbrethil - why does it have to be coloured water though rather than just water? And do some colours work better than others?

21 Sep, 2011


Colored water absorbs light and converts it into heat more efficiently. The most efficient color is black--a mix of blue, red, and green food coloring. Light magenta--red with a touch of blue gives the least interference with surrounding plants.

24 Sep, 2011


Well, well, how interesting, thanks for supplying the info, Tug.

25 Sep, 2011


You're welcome, Bamboo!

26 Sep, 2011

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