Viewing the fig trees in Aichi-Ken, near Nagoya, is always interesting as there are a wide variety of systems in place. A number of us toured the prefectures AG research station with Dr. Akiyoshi Narita who is in charge of the fig research there.
Figs are grown in fields covered in nets and in green houses providing an extended season for farmers. At the research center an experiment with container growing is underway as a way for seniors to easily manage the trees and gain income from fig sales.
We also visited Mr. Akira Ota’s farm where on a half hectare he can produce 200,000 grams of figs in a season. In both his outdoor field and greenhouse field, the soil ph is checked yearly. It ranges from 5.5 to 7.6 with NPK adjusted accordingly. The temperature in the greenhouse is kept between 15 and 30 degrees centigrade. The trees receive irrigation daily. All of the figs he grows are the masui dolphin variety.
The photo of the fig poster shows packaging guidelines by individual fig weight as well as coloration guides and diseased figs that should not be packaged.
The motto of Aichi is “Kingdom of Figs”. The average weight is 80 to 100 grams.
In the field, house and container, each tree as two verticals from early growth.
Each are lowered slowly over a period of ten days and extend horizontally from the trunk, no more than 15cm about the ground and usually lower. From these now horizontal limbs, new grow is allowed to grow vertically during the course of a season, usually no more than 2 meters tall. Each vertical averages 20 figs. After harvest each vertical is cut above the first node so that the following years growth is at the cut.
The container growing experiment follows the same procedure although the tree is limited to 6 verticals each with 20 fruit. The container receives water and nutrients daily. It rests on pipes an inch above ground. After 6 to 8 years the tree is moved to the field or a greenhouse. In all cases the verticals are supported by straps hung from a bar
The system is very secure in that the production can be easily figured.
This system was initially developed as a way to protect the crops from typhoons.
This way of growing figs might be applicable in the South Pacific where fruit crops are constantly ravaged by typhoons.