Are you a fig lover?
I find that figs are a Hot or Cold food. Those who love them really love them, and I am definitely a lover of figs.
I learned to love figs as a child growing up in Texas. My father grew them, and anything we could eat out of our own backyard was exciting, no matter how strange or unusual.
I might never have tried growing figs here in Pennsylvania (zone 6), but my father plants a tree nearly every time he visits one of his children. On his second visit to Maplehurst, he planted a fig known as ‘Chicago Hardy.’
That’s a good name for a fig if you garden in a place with cold winters.
Here is what I’ve learned about growing figs from my ‘Chicago Hardy’ tree:
- Mild winters give two crops: If your fig tree doesn’t die all the way back over winter, you can expect an early crop and a late one, too
- Mulch might make a difference (or not): Several years I have tried covering my fig in a heavy blanket of chopped leaves. One year, I wrapped it in burlap. Both years, it still died back. Now I let nature takes its course.
- Pull off those baby fruit as winter nears: Because my fig usually dies all the way back over the winter, I don’t see fruit ripen until very late in summer. If too many baby figs are left before I’ve had a harvest, I start pulling off the smallest fruits to give the rest a chance to ripen before the first freeze.
- Eat them, quickly, sun-warmed and fresh: That’s the best, though I also love slicing them into salads or on homemade pizza with a little goat cheese.