Thursday, 14 August 2008

Figs -- straight from the tree!

It was F's 50th birthday a month ago and we gave her a fig tree as our figs do well here and she is always very jealous.

I remember eating figs as a child in Berkshire. We were lucky to have a south facing wall that lapped up the sun and the figs loved it. In the morning we would eat a couple before going off to school and then in the evening we'd eat as many as possible that had ripened during the day. It was a battle to reach them when they were perfectly ripe but before the wasps had found them. Oh the joy of a freshly picked fig!

Yesterday was the plantation ceremony for F's tree. Despite having a large garden finding a suitable spot wasn't easy. Figs need as much sun and warmth as possible - but so do grapes and all their south facing walls were taken by beautiful looking vines! We compromised in the end and set to, taking turns to dig the hole in the sunniest part of a walled garden about two metres out from the wall.

The French always laugh at us when we tell them how we plant our figs. It is a system well known to anyone who has looked in an English book on the subject but not to the French. Having dug a deep hole we put in a square tube made of concrete - more commonly used for access to water pipes - and put some large stones at the bottom of it. (If you have one available the drum of an old washing machine is even better than the concrete.) Then some good compost, followed eventually by the fig tree which had been soaked in water all morning; and finally the rest of the compost and some of the original soil.

The point is to restrict the roots of the tree so that it can put more effort into ripening fruit than into producing leaves. I might add that the French can laugh all they like but they do admit that our figs grow better than theirs!

Anyway, fantasy then took over and we all danced around the fig tree singing Happy Birthday. By the time we left I suspect F & T were confident that we are total lunatics - let's hope that this time next year they will have reason to change their minds!

Right that's it - I'm off to feed the pigs and gather a few of our own figs on the way!

1 comment:

PurrPrints said...

yummy--i'm jealous--i've never had figs fresh off the tree