homegrown figs

Figs stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped in jamon serrano
Figs stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped in jamon serrano

At a gathering earlier this fall some people were astonished to hear that I had a good fig harvest this year. A good harvest for my fig tree is around twenty to thirty figs. I now live in Pennsylvania–not the best climate for figs–but like many of my fellow “diegos” I have found a way to have our home grown figs. The fig tree makes a great addition to our patio in the summer. It’s about four feet high and confined to a large pot. Then, during the winter months, the fig tree hibernates in the garage.

Some people have their fig trees planted outside in an area protected from the weather and they wrap them when winter comes. I have also heard of people digging trenches and burying them during the winter (but that’s Paolo, the world’s only Italian redneck, so I’m not sure how common a practice this is). But for the most part, fig trees are easy to take care of and are fairly pest free. The only thing you’ll notice from time to time is a little damage from birds eating holes in the fruit, which is common with most fruit trees.

This year we had also had a chipmunk problem. A chipmunk discovered the figs and couldn’t get enough. One morning we saw this chipmunk carrying a fig in its mouth. The fig was almost as big as the rodent and loaded it down to where it was walking on its front legs only: the back legs were not touching the ground. I let the chipmunk get away since we had enjoyed so many figs this year, but I don’t know if I’ll let it happen again next year. Watch out, rodent.

One Reply to “homegrown figs”

  1. Fig researcher Paolo replied on Facebook as follows:

    cute, but its a very common practice to bury a fig tree. each one of our trees produce about 2000 figs the prof is in the pudding. i did an experiment a few years ago testing the difference between potted or buried and the outcome shocked me.. i took 2 cutting from the same tree and started both in pots. then the following year i planted one in the ground and the other i kept in pots… mind you i kept changing into bigger pots as the years went by.. well the outcome was in 3 years in the ground i got about 500 figs and the numbers grew until the magic 2000 and after 6 years i have only eaten about 4 figs from the potted fig.. i keep it in a pot cause i like seeing it in the living room during the winter. the trees never seem to pass the magic 2000 number for figs in this climate.. it seems by the time the tree is large enough to make that many figs the branches are to long and im guessing more vulnerable to the cold. that size is about 8 or 9 feet tall

    ps if you have figs that you dont think will get ripe use a q-tip to put a drop of olive oil in the opening on the top of the fig.. for some reason that i cant explain it makes the figs ripen super fast.


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