Planting a Fig
To create that summer feeling in a garden a few plants normally seen in the Mediterranean, but are perfectly hardy in the UK, will give the effect. This is how to plant a fig so that hopefully you will get fruit as well as effect!
|The easiest varieties to both obtain and grow in the UK are 'Brown Turkey' and White Marseilles'. These varieties are capable of producing one crop during the season, given a reasonable summer.|
|A sunny fence or wall is required to give the fig the best chance. Figs are vigorous and need constraining otherwise you will get masses of leaves and no fruit!|
|To achieve this, the fig is grown in a hole lined with paving slabs. First lay down one slab and mark around it with the spade. Dig out the hole to the depth of a paving slab, keeping the subsoil and topsoil separate as shown in the photograph.|
|Line the hole with paving slabs making sure they are a snug fit against each other.|
|To restrict the fig roots further, line the bottom of the hole with crushed hardcore, lightly compacted.|
|Backfill the hole with the best of soil, but do not add extra nutrients. Firm in the plant and water in.|
If you are not interested in the fruit, plant the fig as you would any other shrub, they really will make a bold statement in the garden with rich dark green leaves, born in profusion on a large multi-stemmed plant.
Care & Maintenance
Pruning is best carried out in the spring before new growth starts, figs
fruit on last years growth so you shouldn't prune all of last years branches
off or you wont get fruit. The best way to prune is to simply remove any
thin, damaged or overcrowded branches to keep the fan open which will allow
sunlight and air through the tree to ensure good fruit formation and ripening.
Aim for a fan shaped tree, with evenly distributed branches.
At the same time as pruning any large fruit embryos that were left over
from last year should be removed, this may seem strange but only the tiny
fruit embryos that were formed late the previous season will have survived,
anything over the size of a pea that is on the tree in March is unlikely
to develop fully but will take the strength from the other fruits.
Figs don't really suffer from any pests and diseases of note, but do watch
out for frost damage to the young embryo fruits. Remove any damaged fruit
as they will to nothing.
Figs don't really have flowers as such, the flower is actually inside the
fruit! Close examination of a fig fruit will reveal a tiny hole opposite
the stem end. In their natural environment a tiny wasp enters this hole and
pollinates the 'flower' within. Figs don't need pollinating to produce fruit
so you shouldn't worry about this aspect of growing - but it was worth mentioning.