Sunday, August 14, 2011

The First Fig

The fig trees in Washington, DC grow nearly as tall as the hardwoods, it seems.  They flourish in empty city lots, in cramped front lawns, up against fences, their branches hanging with fruit.  They seem to need or get little care.

Both Oklahoma and Washington, DC are considered to be in the "humid subtropical zone," and since both areas have similar hardiness zones (our part of OK is in zone 7a; DC is in zones 7 & 8) we assumed it would be as easy to grow tall and happy fig trees here as it is there.  What we didn't take into account was the ocean. DC is near a coast, and Oklahoma is land-locked, so our state does not benefit from the moderating effects of that big body of water that mitigates damage from frosts and freezes.  As a result, our fig trees die back to the ground each winter.

We planted different varieties of fig trees all along the eastern and southern borders of our garden - each specially chosen to be able to live in our hardiness zone.  Our goal was the have a tall, thick, attractive and productive border of figs.  But each winter the plants have died back only to have to start again from scratch in the spring.  The possibility of fruit under those conditions is slim to none.  Frustrated and hoping to get some fruit, this spring Kel transplanted several fig trees into large pots and they are all thriving.  One tree has four beautiful, large, purple-green figs on it and we harvested the first fig the other day.  This fall we plan on moving all of the figs still in the garden into pots.  Unfortunately that means the figs will not have unlimited space in which to grow, but keeping them alive and thriving during the winter will hopefully assure a big crop of figs next summer.  


  1. Wow, what determination! I hope the figs appreciate it! LOL

  2. I've never tried a fig, except in a fig newton cookie. I've heard that the apple in the garden of eden was actually a fig.

  3. Perhaps where the trees were planted, they didn't appreciate the soil quality? Some fruit trees I know like alkaline soils (like blueberries). Other prefer sandy soils etc. Something to do with the ph factor (or some such thing!) Here in the UK one can get kits to measure the amount of the stuff (ph thingy) and then you can adjust the amount compost etc. required to balance the soil. Pots can be so fiddly!

  4. My dad and neighbor have had fig trees here in Central OK and get LOTS of figs each year. I planted a fig tree a couple of years ago and got 2 figs this year. My tree dies down to the ground each year but my neighbor's tree (which is planted next to their home with lots of South sun, doesn't seem to die down. I am just glad that mine came back this year. I didn't get to enjoy the figs because the chickens (grrr) beat me to them...


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