A Perfect First Fruit Tree

One evening, when I was five years old, I ate an entire package of Fig Newtons.  The result was entirely predictable and I never ate another one or anything containing figs until more than forty years later.  As childhood traumas go, that was a mild one, and I’m very glad I decided to give figs another chance – they’re quite tasty!

As a gardener, I’m very smitten with my fig tree, Ficus carica, ‘Brown Turkey’. I like everything about it – its architecture, the color, size, and shape of the leaves, and the fruit, which has become one of my favorite garden snacks.  I’ve heard people complain that the birds get all the figs before they can.  I find if I keep a well stocked feeder nearby, the birds leave a lot of fruit for me.  Besides, any plant that attracts wildlife into my garden is more than OK in my book.  Wildlife plays a large part in my enjoyment of my garden.

Ficus carica does well in hardiness zones 7-10, so they’re very popular in the South.  In colder climates, it can be kept in a pot and stored in a garage for the winter.  Figs prefer full sun and will produce two crops, one in the spring on last year’s wood, and another in late summer/early fall on new wood.  They tolerate pruning very well.   Drought tolerant once established, they require very little care.  They are also deer resistant.  I’ve never fertilized mine, although I do topdress my garden with compost in early spring and mulch it in the fall.  That seems to be enough for a respectable yield.

I’ve located my fig near my pond and it provides some nice shade there.

I like it in the winter because of the structure and the thick branches.  This photo from last December also reminds me of how fast it grows – it’s at least twice this big now…….

My Brown Turkey Fig was my first fruit tree – a great choice for a gardener new to fruit growing.   I  planted it in the fall, two years ago, so this is its second full season.  Last year I planted a peach tree, Prunus persica, so I’ll be looking for some fruit from that one in the next year or two.

I love growing my own food.  To me, veggies are the serious food; fruit is the dessert, the reward!

“To eat figs off the tree in the very early morning, when they have been barely touched by the sun, is one of the exquisite pleasures of the Mediterranean.”
— Elizabeth David   (An Omelette and a Glass of Wine)

This entry was posted in Bird Feeders, Birds, Ficus carica, Fig Tree, Figs, Fruit Trees, Garden, Wildlife and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to A Perfect First Fruit Tree

  1. Tracy says:

    Oh we are so in the market for a fig tree! I have made three batches of fig jam from other friend’s fig trees. We must have one for us! 🙂

  2. GirlSprout says:

    I have fond childhood memories of fig trees. We had so many figs that my mother dried them so we could eat them later in the year.

  3. David Miles says:

    I have just planted a brown turkey fig tree (Queensland Australia) from it’s pot from the fruit nursery. I would like to hear from any one that can tell me how long it will be for the first fruit to bear,I assume that the sappling is about 18 months old at the time of planting,September 2011. I will appreciate any assistance and answer all emails.

    with kind regards.

    David Miles.

    • Laura says:

      David,
      I planted my 4 tall, spindly fig in the fall of 2009. It disappeared to the ground that winter and I thought I’d lost it. 2010 came and it grew a few feet in height and width and put out a very small crop in the summer. It tried for a second but frost came and that was the end of that. This year, the early crop was moderate, but this one I’m enjoying now is quite a bit better. And I don’t use commercial fertilizer, just add compost.
      Best of luck to you,
      Laura

  4. Great article, thanks. I signed to your blog rss feed.

  5. Briann in Grand Junction says:

    Interesting post. Not being much of a gardener, I had forgotten that ficus are figs. I won’t be planting any fruit trees, but I recently “inherited” a plain old ficus house plant from a friend’s barbershop. Seeing it, and all the ficus we find in offices, it’s hard to imagine they grow to be pretty good-sized in nature. How’s your fig tree doing now?

    Nice article. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

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