Say Hello To My Leetle Fig

Have I mentioned that I’m a fig farmer now? Yes. This is my orchard:

patio fig farm

It’s a bit difficult to make out the mighty trunk of my “fruiting size” fig tree so I have helpfully outlined it for you. Ditto the leaf buds.

That’s a 5-foot tall Brown Turkey Dwarf Fig tee. “Fruiting size”. It arrived with bare roots, tiny leaf buds and the top 5” snapped off and left dangling.  I was expecting something different – leaves, at least but that’s what I get for ordering online from a specialty nursery. They probably thought the buyer was someone who knows what they are doing. I do not. Obviously.

At best, Sami is indifferent to my planting schemes;  at worst, opposed.  But he is very invested in the idea of home grown figs. This tree is supposed to be “fruiting size” so fingers crossed that it produces at least one ripe fig this year so that he can pick it himself and eat it while it’s still warm from the sun shine.

I have great hopes for this little tree. In fact, I have plans for an actual fruit farm this year.  A little faux farmette that will allow me to pretend that I have an idyllic life – a place to escape the responsibilities of my real world.  It’s going to be the Petite Trianon of Fernandina Beach, created for the leisure and pleasure of Suzette Antoinette1. Only my retinue2 will be allowed inside. Anyway, what with things being as they are (official senior citizen status, bum knees, generalized laziness, the Gemini tendency to start things but not finish them), I recognize that it would be unrealistic for me to take on actual in-the-ground gardening, but I do believe that I can manage dwarf things in pots within the perimeter of the little world I have created for myself here inside the pool screen.
Also, I’m not interested in coming face to face with a lurking snake. The lizards give me worry enough.
Here’s what I have planned:
  • dwarf fig tree
  • dwarf lemon tree3
  • one pineapple
  • pots of herbs:
    • parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, chives, mint
1 Fun fact: Antoinette happens to be my real middle name. Destiny!
2 Stedman.
3 I have come to the conclusion that the Meyer Lemon is a bullshit lemon.  Who wants a sweet lemon? That is not the quality I am looking for in a lemon. I think I’m going with a Eureka Lemon tree this time – the description of its fruit is “extra-puckery”.  Now we’re talkin’.

13 thoughts on “Say Hello To My Leetle Fig

  1. Lovely little farmette! Beware the authorities with your citrus, though. At the first hint of leaf blight anywhere in Florida they will scale your fence and remove all citrus trees, large or small. It’s like eminent domain for the juice industry.

    • This is distressing information. On it’s best day, my NJ Meyer Lemon tree was 66% blight. On the other hand, the online nursery that I am dealing with specifies the Eureka as approved for shipping to FL, so maybe there’s less tendency for leaf blight in that cultivar?

  2. When I was growing up, my grandfather had two fig trees in his yard. I don’t know what kind, except one was an “eating” fig, and the other was a “canning” fig. The difference was obvious.

    The canning fig fruit stayed mostly green, and required cooking before eating. The result was a preserve I miss today, since I haven’t found any as good.

    The eating fig, which was smaller, could be eaten off the tree, when ripe. I liked them cut up in a bowl with sugar and cream. My grandfather would eat them with his daily oatmeal.

    I hope your fig tree eventually produces enough figs to where you won’t feel like the ants ate more than you….oh I forgot that part. The local fire ants loved the figs. Poisoned ant bait was required around the base to keep them to a minimal amount.

    • More distressing news! Well, I’m finding out that Florida wildlife is no joke. Apparently, that includes the ants.

      I wanted to give myself the best chance for success by choosing the most time-tested choice plus something that wouldn’t require the skills of a bonsai master to keep it pruned to a reasonable size. This is the description of this particular type from the grower’s website:

      The Brown Turkey Fig Tree is an old time favorite in the southeast for fresh eating and canning whole. The medium sized, bell shaped fruits are purplish-brown with light pink flesh. This small productive tree will produce delicious sweet figs in summer and usually a secondary crop in early Fall, which makes it a good choice for those who want to container-grow on their patio or have limited yard space. Old Brown Turkey Fig Trees have survived single digit temperatures from time to time near the Willis family farm in southern Georgia.

  3. Hate to add to the dire warnings, but forewarned is forearmed…
    Stopping the ants is relatively easy – broadcast Talstar (with the added benefit of worry-free barefoot strolling*) and/or treat the base of the trunk as described above.
    Stopping the birds will be reminiscent of the Battle of Britain. The avian raiders will mass for attack and ravage the fruit just as it ripens. Small trees can be netted. Larger trees rely on the law of large numbers, whereby enough fruit hides behind leaves that you get a small bowlful every other day.

    *Knocks out fire ants, fleas and decimates those nasty lawn roaches. With our growing herd of grandschmedlets, fire ant defense around the pool is mandatory.

    • This is exactly why I’m limiting my Florida farming to inside the pool screen. No birds allowed inside. I
      ll have to be vigilant for the march of fire ants. Will I know them when I see them – or will I know them after it’s too late?

      • They build mounds of dirt. Usually, they’re found in the yard, but when they start building, they may be unnoticeable in the sod. Standing at one of these locations may end with hundred crawling on your legs.

        Fire ants can infest crawl spaces, potted plants, under stepping stones, and around trees. Keeping them away requires constant vigilance, and a good poison as described above.

        Fire ants sting, while holding you with their pincers. The sting burns, and can leave a large papule, which can become infected. Since they are so predatory, they eat just about anything, including newborn calves, with the misfortune of being born on an an mound. With enough stings, the calf is killed, and the ants have a feast.

      • “Far-ants” (local pronunciation) are unmistakable. Sizable mounds of granular dirt. Tiny (1/16-1/8″), aggressive little bastiges. Fierce attacks on anything disturbing the mound or obstructing the many forage trails stemming from it.

        Too late is sort of relative. They’ll attack your feet and ankles leaving itchy, burning zit-like lesions. Dogs and cats not nimble enough to gth away. Small birds learning to fly. Bugs, worms, reptiles – you name it. Ranchers have lost cattle. The came from the south Pacific during WWII like Formosan termites. Scourges, both.

        Some neighborhoods engage in coordinated anti-ant treatments so they don’t just hop from yard to median to yard. Talstar. It lasts for months.

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