Monday, August 2, 2010


I'm a fig junkie.  Right now many of you are probably rolling your eyes thinking about grandpa's nasty dried figs.  But if you haven't eaten a fig plucked FRESH from a tree, you don't know what you're missing. I eat them whole, sliced, chilled, and even grilled.  And yes, also dried when not in season, but it's like comparing apples and oranges.  There are many tasty varieties that do well in southeast Virginia.  Right now I'm growing Violet de Bordeaux, Black Jack, Celeste, and Peter's Honey.  I've been growing them for a few years and they are still relatively small.  Violet is definitely my favorite, Black Jack is so-so, Celeste is old reliable, and Peter's Honey is a green fig that hasn't done very well this year.

Unripe Violet de Bordeaux figs.  They are very dark and droop when ripe.
Ripe Violet de Bordeaux figs.  Notice the distinct change in color and size when ripe.
It's actually quite easy to propagate figs by rooting dormant cuttings.  I took cuttings of my uncle's Celeste fig tree late last winter and rooted them in perlite this spring.  Then I moved them to 1 gallon pots and now they are growing like weeds.

2-3 feet tall rooted cuttings from a mature Celeste fig tree.
I'm also growing an espalier fig against the corner of my shed.  I'm training two long branches very close to the ground (much like a stepover) and growing two more branches a few feet up, similar to a traditional multi-tier espalier.  It will take a few years to train the fig for the right appearance, but I'm looking forward to the challenge.  Notice the growth from the left picture (early June) to the right picture (early August).  The tree currently stands about 5 feet tall and is developing nicely.

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