Plain Gardening – Figs
Lots of gardeners struggle with trying to grow apples, cherries, or pears…all fruits that do well in the climate of northern Germany, but not the Gulf Coast.
Bill Finch of Mobile Botanical Gardens says why bother with other fruits when you can have one of the most delicious and delectable treats Mother Nature has to offer: figs. And figs grow great here!
The trick to growing fabulous figs is simple: lots of room and lots of organic material underneath. We're not talking about store-bought mulch or fertilizer, just old oak leaves that you rake up (or that your neighbors rake up and leave in handy bags on the street for you.) Just throw it underneath your fig tree. It'll decompose into soil on its own.
You'll need room because fig trees grow large. A problem many folks have with figs is that the birds get most of higher-up fruit (although there's plenty to share.) Take care of that by cutting back your fig tree each winter, essentially turning it into a giant fig bush. Doing this allows you to reach all the figs…simple, but effective.
Figs make great preserves, wines, and perhaps even figgy pudding, but are also delicious right off the tree. They mature at different times, and the perfect picking period for an individual fig doesn't last long. A day—sometimes even a few hours—can make a difference. So pick ripe figs every day in season. And enjoy.
For more info, contact the Master Gardeners at mobilebotanicalgardens.org.
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