Getting our fruit trees FIG-ured out

You may remember that a couple of years ago I was utterly baffled by a little Brown Turkey fig that I grew in a small pot on my London patio. After a year of doing nothing interesting, this small but determined fig tree suddenly started to fruit over the winter and then promptly died for (as far as I could tell) no good reason. I was disgusted at this apparent lack of oomph (could this wimpy specimen really be the tree apparently chosen as a residence by the goddess Hathor?) and determination to thrive and so as the saying goes, I decided that I couldn’t give a fig and I simply gave figs up as a bad job. But when we started to plan an orchard for our smallholding and were choosing our 31 fruit trees, I decided that I wanted to try again. Ripe figs are delicious and are relatively expensive so I really liked the idea of being able to grow them at home.

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Figs awaiting planting

And this time I decided to give the figs a bit more help. Instead of growing it in a small pot, I decided to use these two fig trees to cover up part of the front of our very useful but rather unattractive barn which is south-facing. So we’ve planted both of them (another Brown Turkey, and a less common White Marseilles) in large 60cm pots up against the barn. I was slightly concerned to find that one of them was already starting to fruit now in January but I’m hoping that removing that tiny fruit will push the tree to put more energy into food production.

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Ancient tumbledown barn acting as fig backdrop

We’re hoping that a side effect of having the trees here is that as in the garden of Eden, their pretty and modest leaves will cover some of the barn and make it look a bit more attractive. I hope that being grown against a warm wall will help them as I suppose that I must concede that our English climate is hardly ideal for heavy cropping. I do have a horrible feeling that we may have drowned one of them already as I’m not sure the pot is draining particularly well so I’ll have to drill a few extra holes in the base of the pot this weekend. But fingers crossed that once I’ve done that, we will be knee deep in lovely figs!

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We farm a three acre smallholding in Hampshire, England, having fled London in pursuit of the good life for our little family. We mess about with an assorted menagerie and try to be as self-sufficient as possible in meat and fruit and vegetables whilst enjoying our plot and an outdoors lifestyle with our son. I am the luckiest person that I know.

8 thoughts on “Getting our fruit trees FIG-ured out

  1. I love your barn! We have two fig trees and get delicious fruit from them. The children hate them, so Stevie and I guzzle them together! Feels very decadent!

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  2. My parents have some fig trees and there is nothing quite like fresh figs straight off the tree! I can never bring myself to buy them in the supermarket because they aren’t the same at all..

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  3. Ali that’s reassuring (and I suppose is how they’d grow in the med), I’m a bit worried ours might lack space in the pots but am banking on the fact that I was told to restrict the roots if I planted in the ground…?

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