Tinkerbug Figs South

Since my house is on only 0.3 acres and in zone 7A, there is a limit to the number of in ground trees I can have. In order to trial more varieties and eventually grow more cuttings and figs I started putting plants in the ground at my parents’ house in zone 8A Virginia last year. The first summer and winter went pretty well. Trees grow slower than in NJ where I pamper them, but in general fig trees do well in the area around my parents’ house, so it should be a good location long term. Last year I grew 59 varieties at my parents, this year I added about 350 more for a total of over 400 plants (mostly unique varieties) in the ground.


The adventure of getting them down started with them all sorted and ready to go in my driveway. I rented a 20′ U-Haul to bring them all down, but even with that truck I had to stack them 3 or 4 high. Amazingly there was not much damage in transit.

I built an irrigation system powered by a solar cell and battery that you just have to hook a hose up to to set up at my parents. It has 12 zones and uses an OpenSprinkler controller with one expansion board. OpenSprinkler is controlled via wifi, which means you can make changes on your phone or computer. The valves are DC latch valves that don’t require constant current, which makes it possible to use a fairly small battery and solar cell.

Once in VA unloading trees, planting, and irrigation installation took two full days even with most of the holes pre-dug. I learned that 350 trees is a bit much for a weekend 🙂

Some areal photos of the about 2 acre lot mostly covered in fig trees.

Most of the pictures above came from the first day of planting, the second day included installing a drip irrigation system with 3/4″ mainline piping and a 1 gph dripper for each plant. The area gets very dry in the summer, so some irrigation is necessary for the first 2-3 years. We also tried putting down weed barrier in one row to determine if it is easy to manage mowing using that technique.