This week I have planted our first fig tree, Brown Turkey,
(I actually wanted Black Genoa but they were too popular and sold out!)
I have been promising the kids a garden that even Adam and Eve could feel right at home in, and manage to spare their blushing with appropriate foliage. Of course I'm talking about figs.
Its a fruit that has got my children all excited ever since last summer when figs were in abundance at the shops. I have been planning to get one "one day" ever since, but knowing all ficus (fig) plants to have very aggressive root systems which love to invade drainage pipes, I wasn't sure how I was going to ever have one in my garden.
Potting Fig Trees
So I began researching dwarf root stock fruit trees. Searching for possible miniature figs that could be contained. In actual fact, all fig trees can be grown in containers or large grow-bags which will produce a healthy yield. They are so adaptable unlike other fruit trees. Figs will dwarf in pots.
That is why it is hard to ever find a "dwarf fig" tree anywhere, although they are known to exist, such as Ficus Petite Negra in the USA (max. height of 3m) or the Dwarf Brown (max. height of 2.5m).
The most important things to remember with potted fruit are:
- Consistent moisture content (never over wet)
- Placed in full sun
- Well fed twice a year
- Right soil pH (for being able to take up the fertilizer correctly)
Brown Turkey Fig Characteristics
- One of the most popular and prolific bearing variety of figs.
- The fruit have a beautiful brown, purple and green exterior.
- Pink juicy flesh with a sugary sweet flavour.
- Ideal for eating fresh, for cooking and jams.
- Does very well in drier inland areas; hardy in difficult conditions.
- Tolerates poorly drained soils.
- Loves richly fertilized soil.
- Too much nitrogen will produce lush foliage but little or no fruit.
- Crops over a long period of time. Up to two harvest seasons in warmer climates.
- Fruits: February to May (Australia) / August to November (Northern Hemisphere)
- First crop will be small, but subsequent crops should be generous.
- No pollination required.
- Deciduous (looses leaves in dormant time).
- Plant during winter months during dormancy.
- Soil pH: 6.0 - 6.5
- Full sun.
Fig Tree Care
- Mulch well around the tree to reduce soil moisture loss.
- Give your tree well rotted compost and aged sheep or cow manures.
- Keep well watered in summer but not water-logged.
- Apply a seaweed solution monthly.
- Figs have a shallow root system, so try not disturb them by digging around the base.
- Figs require very little pruning. Can be left for 3 to 4 years before a trim in required.
- Prune only in winter. A hard prune will mean the next crop will be reduced.
► High in fibre.► Vitamin B & C
► Great source of essential minerals, including iron, potassium, phosphorus and calcium.
Picking the Fruit
► Choose fruit that is slightly soft to the touch and smell fresh.
► Avoid hard or dry looking figs.
► Ripen at room temperature.
► Can be frozen for up to 6 months in a plastic bag.
♥ Don't be worried about purchasing a small potted fig from the nursery. Figs are very fast growers. If you buy during winter your plant will look like a tall straight twig stuck in a pot. By summer it will be bursting with leafy green foliage and attempting its first fruits.
Smaller fig trees can cost as little at $11.98 at Bunnings in their Pick 'n' Eat range.
♥ If you have pets or free-range chickens in the area of your new fruit tree, a little protection may be needed to keep it safe until it becomes more established. Chicken wire or veggie shade cloth secured to stakes around the tree will not only keeps out pests but also protects it against strong winds.
♥ I have chosen a different potting mix this year for my pots:
Osmocote Plus Organics Potting and Planting Mix.
25 Litre bag retails for $11.98 at Bunnings.
Contains a great mix of composted manure, seaweed, blood and bone, calcium, gypsum, fish and molasses.
|Its worth spending a bit more!|
Mid-October 2013 - first year's growth - 4 months after planting
It literally started its life in a pot as a 'stick'. Now look at it. Amazing transformation!