Successful gardening day out with Children
August Flowers Blooming

Fresh Figs - how to grow and enjoy them


Ripefig Until a year ago I hadn't ever eaten a fig fresh from a fig tree, i'd had a couple of fresh figs in hotel room fruit baskets (back in our traveling on airmiles points days) but mostly i'd only had figs as a dried fruit.

When a client that I visited in Dorking last September picked a fig from their huge tree, that was growing up their house and hadn't been pruned or attended to that year, and I tasted the sweet fruit that you could eat skin and all, I knew that I had to have a fig tree.

So I put it on my Birthday and Christmas list, and my mum came up trumps and got me a fan trained Brown Turkey fig from the Wisley Plant Centre.

When I got it last November, we were concentrating on painting and carpeting the house, so it was ignored in its pot at the side of the house until March, when I bought a large pot for it, and planted it up in a mixture of homemade compost and John Innes Compost.

I put it on our lovely sunny patio, against my Greenhouse, and watered it occasionally, and lo here we are mid august and i've harvest 7 figs from it this week.  The first one swelled overnight, and I got very excited and picked it before it was really ripe, - i've been leaving them a bit longer now I know the deal, and although the late Christopher Lloyd suggests putting a plastic bag over each fruit for 3 days to prevent wasps and birds getting to them, I haven't had time to do that, and they seem to have been ok so far.  I think i've got about another 6 that should ripen over the next few weeks, they suddenly seem to swell and change colour very quickly so it could be less time than that.

Babyfigs There are also some baby figs developing that are currently about pea size, If I was in the Mediterranean these might give me a 2nd crop this Autumn, but here in southern England, i'm very unlikely for them to ripen this side of Christmas, and if they've got to the size of the other figs in this photo, i'll have to take them off as they won't survive the winter.  If there are any pea size figs left in  November, they may make it through to be next years crop.

As this was a fan trained plant, that was fairly mature, I won't have got back my (mum's ) investment this year, - but with four figs costing £2.50 this week at Waitrose, with no named country of origin -i'll be enjoying my English figs for breakfast this week, - I think Honey and yogurt will go nicely.

If you didn't want to buy a fan trained plant you can get a small fig in a 3 to 5 litre pot for under £20 (the smaller the pot, the longer you'll have to wait for figs) Brown Turkey is the most widely available variety, but Brunswick and White Marseilles are often listed and a specialist may have even more. Figs actually appreciate having some restriction at their roots, and will become very large trees if they are in fertile soil.  The large leaves are great for providing shade, but don't forget they are deciduous so you will have lots of leaves to sweep up if you put one over a border or lawn (voice of experience having had a client with a large tree in their lawn.)

i'll leave you with a picture of my plant shading my greenhouse
Fan fig in pot


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