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Fig varieties suitable for the area
Q. What are some of the fig varieties recommended for our area?
A. The Celeste produces a large crop of small brown/purple figs on a large plant. It produces fruit on old wood, so should not be pruned heavily.
Texas Ever-bearing produces a larger fruit that requires 60 days to ripen. Its plant is also vigorous. Texas Everbearing will produce fruit more readily on current season’s growth than Celeste.
Alma is a less aggressive plant than either Texas Everbearing or Celeste, but is more freeze-sensitive. Its fruit is medium-sized and cream-colored.
Birds and squirrels love figs, so expect them to want to share. The varieties recommended in this article have a closed eye, so insect penetration should not be a problem.
Q. Do deer eat pomegranate? I want to try some of the new selections, but am blessed with deer.
A. In my neighborhood, pomegranates have naturalized and seem to escape browsing by deer.
Q. Tomatoes are on the market already. What happens if we plant them this early?
A. The soil is very cool so if a freeze does not get them, the cold soil will cause them to harden off. They will quit growing and only recover in April when temperatures warm up. Tomatoes purchased now can be “potted up.” Place them in a 1- to 3-gallon container filled with potting soil and fertilized with Osmocote. Place the potted plant in a sheltered spot in full sun where the wind won’t reach them. Move them into shelter when temperatures fall below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Q. Is a Mexican white oak as desirable as a live oak? They seem to be more attractive in the container.
A. Mexican white oaks are a good shade tree choice for our area. They grow faster than live oaks, are more upright, are nearly as drought-tolerant, and are more resistant to oak wilt.
Calvin Finch is a horticulturist and the San Antonio Water System’s project director of regional initiatives and special projects. Hear him on “Gardening South Texas” on KLUP 930 AM radio Saturdays noon to 2 p.m., and 1-3 p.m. Sundays. Or, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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