Growing up, my family always had a vegetable plot and flower beds, and my father taught me pretty much everything I know about gardening. I still find it miraculous that you can bury a tiny seed in the soil, and a few weeks or months later it will have sprouted, sent out leaves and stems, buds and blossoms and, ultimately, fruit. It still amazes me that you can buy a flat of tomato plants for a few dollars and harvest more tomatoes than you can give away.
I’ll have a lot more to say on the subject come spring, but this afternoon, after watching my 2 year-old son pop cherry tomatoes in his mouth as quickly as I could pluck them off the vine, we went out on our terrace and picked some sun-warmed figs right off the tree. He loves that and so do I, and I wanted to share a bit of figgy information.
Not many Americans, I think, grow their own, but figs are very popular in home gardens in the UK and across Europe. Even if you live in the north and think figs won’t make it there, think again. There are cold-resistant varieties available. Mine is a variety called Bornholm’s Diamond, which can be grown in a sunny and protected location as far north as growing zone 6.
Ours is in a container on the terrace, and it looks like we’ll get about a dozen ripe fruits this year. That’s not bad, since I just bought it last fall at the end of the growing season, and it’s shot up about 18 inches (45 cm) this summer.
Figs are great for patios, terraces, even smallish balconies in the city, since they do best when their roots are constrained, making them perfect for pots. If you’ve never considered figs, give them a shot – they look great, taste amazing, and in a pinch their leaves make handy loin covers.