Tuesday, April 7, 2015

F is for Figs!

So I may have mentioned this before, Figs are why the farm is what it is today. We bought a piece of a former farm and one of the remainders was this HUGE fig tree. That's it in the picture below, (please ignore the weeds, June Bugs and I do not get along and I refuse to mow under it), it's crazy huge. You can just see a bit of barn poking out behind the right side, it's easily 20 feet high and twice that across. I personally had no idea that fig trees got that big. If you'd like to try to grow one this size, I recommend planting it next to an animal barn and wait 30 years!

We had so many figs the first year we ate till we were sick of them, shared them until our friends begged off of figs, dried them and then we made jam. Plus we shared with the birds, wasps and june bugs, they get the top half.

Surprisingly enough, the jam was a huge hit. (We have a secret ingredient you see) People told us to sell it and lo and behold people bought it! We tried again next year and added peppers to the recipe, and it sold faster than ever. Forward another year and we added a few more flavors and veggies and Our Greene Acre was running at full speed. So I credit this tree and it's wonderful fruit as the catalyst to all of those long nights canning, long days in the sun selling at markets and for all of the wonderful people we've met along the way.

We are located in North Carolina and when you hear about figs they normally come from California but we are proof that they can be grown in other places. We've been told that winter around us is what normally kills a younger tree. We've had good luck in over wintering our offshoots by covering them with tomato cages packed with straw or mulch. Unlike California we have a shorter season and only get a month or two of fruiting.
 We are fairly sure we have Celeste Figs, they are on the smaller side but have a thin skin and sweet tender inside!

I'd had fig newtons and my Father-in-law had a small bush in his yard and that was about the extend of my fig experience. I reached out to Google to learn about figs and I learned a lot of amazing facts. Here's a few

  • Fig Newtons were introduced back in 1892!
  • Figs are low in calories and high in Calcium as well as other vitamins
  • They have no bloom since the "fruit" is actually an inverted "flower"
  • They have a short shelf life but are easily dried and retain their positive health benefits
If you are looking to add fruit to your garden Figs make great additions. They are relatively easy to grow, they like rich organic soil, don't necessarily take up a huge amount of room but give a large harvest, Many types of Figs are available but as a rule don't need another for pollination, unlike plums, peaches and apples.

Look around at your local garden centers for a fig tree and start your own micro farm!

Since you're surely contemplating which fruit tree is best for you check out the A To Z Challenge for more great ideas! Then come back tomorrow to see what starts with "G" and is another great addition to your garden...