I really, really wish I could grow some figs. Since 2006 I have had a fig tree. That’s 8 years. When I got it, I saw the glorious 15 foot tall mother tree from which my little potted tree was taken as a cutting. Its a Celeste fig, perfect for our area. Down the road from me is another 15 to 20 foot high Celeste fig tree that has me very envious. Our good friends just moved into a new house that has, you guessed it, a 15-20 foot tall Celeste fig tree in the back yard. Yet my little tree is knee high on a good year.
I have called this fig my “cursed fig tree” after the parable Jesus told in the Bible (Matthew 24:32-35). It simply refuses to grow. Since being pushed over in 2008 by a hurricane and re-rooted, it has struggled ever since. I think the problem is location and lack of water. Our soil, being a shallow layer of sod on top of black gumbo, is particularly dense where this tree is growing. However, fig trees have shallow roots and draw a lot of moisture from the near-surface. They enjoy good water but well-drained soil. My problem, I believe, is that there is far too much grass competing for the limited water this location receives. This year I plan to water the tree more regularly, but also will build a bed around the fig tree and mulch heavily. I will get this little tree growing, its just been there too long to give up on. In fact, as I write, it finally has a good number of figs coming in.
I also bought a trio of fig trees from Baker Creek. While out of stock now, I jumped on it when it first became available and was able to score a nice selection. I have Olympian, Ischia and Celeste varieties. Celeste is good for my area, in fact its one of the best. The other two are west coast varieties, Olympian being a newly discovered fig variety.
Here you will find some info on figs in our area. Click the link on the Olympian and Ischia fig variety above for a good forum about figs. Figs have been a staple fruit in our area since truck farming days, so I should be able to do this… in theory. Stick around, we’ll see.