Fig Time in the Potager
We are now harvesting the first of a very promising fig crop. (That is if the birds, raccoons, squirrels and ants don’t find them!) Figs are quite easy to grow in our Zone 7 climate. I have grown them in self watering pots for a few years; a couple of years ago I decided to try planting one in the ground. It is loaded! Let me show you my fig trees and explain my methods of growing as well as some mistakes from which I have learned.
Here is another Lemon Fig in a self watering pot. It wintered-over in the pot, under the same plastic cover. This tree is about 4 years old. It got it’s funny shape due to not being properly stored during the winter a couple of years ago. Some of the branches froze and died.
The fruit is smaller than usual this year due to another “gardener error”; Knowing the potted trees need to be watered every day, we put a hose on a timer one weekend while we were out of town. We neglected to check to be sure it was tightly connected to the garden spigot. Apparently when the water came on the first time it forced the hose connector to come off the spigot so the tree did not get water for four days. It dropped all of its leaves but not the fruit. The fruit did mature but is a bit on the small side. The tree prduced new leaves. You can see the hose in the pot; it is still on a timer and waters for one minute every day.
This tree was given to me last year. I don’t know the variety but I think it might be a Black Mission Fig. It wintered over in the greenhouse, not a good choice. It did have a few figs early in the spring but didn’t produce another crop. Figs need to go dormant which doesn’t happen in a greenhouse. One of the more common ways of wintering-over fig trees is to put them in an unheated garage or shed.
Figs are ready to eat when the fruit becomes very soft and is easily pulled from the wood. They will not ripen off the tree. They do not keep well so plan on eating as soon as they are ripe.
You can find more detailed information on growing figs on the internet. I purchased my trees from Petals from the Past in Jeminson, Alabama.
One question I often get is “What do you do with figs?” We had fresh figs for the first time a few years ago at a restaurant in Sonoma, CA. They were served on a pizza with goat cheese and arugula. We loved them and that is why I started growing figs. In addion to adding them to grilled pizza (usually with chicken and goat cheese) we like them in salads. Here is my Fig, Goat Cheese and Grilled Chicken Salad recipe.
Top Spring Lettuce Mix with:
Grilled chicken strips
Drizzle with a simple dressing of 3 parts lime infused olive oil mixed with one part white balsalmic vinegar.
Mostly we eat them fresh from the tree in the garden!