This was a banner year for figs; last year my tree was fairly prolific, this year the fruits started ripening in July and by early August I was scrambling to keep them from falling on the ground. Thankfully, things have slowed down, but at one point that single fig tree was the focus of almost all activity in the backyard.
While I was busily harvesting (or not) the bees and ants were happily fussing about the overly ripe, fermenting fruit strewn under the tree, and since I neglected to prune the top back to a height that I could reach, even with a step ladder, the birds – cardinals in particular – were pecking away above my head. One afternoon I even spied a squirrel darting away with what looked suspiciously like a fig in his mouth. Figs and acorns do share some characteristics: size, shape, color; but I’m afraid he’s in for a surprise if he’s planning on storing those babies for any length of time.
I, on the other hand have been preserving in all ways known to womankind: baking, roasting, freezing, making jam; I just ordered a dehydrator. Let’s hope it gets here before the last fig falls; although one of the websites advised that as the ripest figs are the ones that are on the ground, you should use those for drying. Really? And compete with the bees, ants, and occasional wasp?
The best thing about that fig tree – it is low (virtually no) maintenance. Some judicious pruning in late winter is all it needs; no spraying, no fertilizing. Figs love hot weather and do not seem to suffer from lack of rain. Some people put burlap around theirs in the winter; I never have – but mine is somewhat protected from northerly winds. So if you’re in the market for a small fruiting tree that will thrive in our warming climate, consider the fig. And ps, fall is a great time to plant.