Tuesday, December 2, 2008

"We wish you a Figgy Pudding"

These photos, taken in September show our fabulous fig harvest this year. This fruit, first mentioned in Genesis, can survive our winters in South Central PA with just a wee bit of extra care. This year we had fruit on our fig since the end of June, a bumper crop of the sweet fruit which once dried is five times sweeter then fresh.

The vine, the olive, the palm and the Fig were crops basic to ancient civilizations. Considered essential to health and well being, everyone tended at least one fig tree, even the most modest homeowner. It was a fruit, a dessert, a sweetener and a gentle laxative.

There are over 700 varieties, ours is Brown Turkey, but all bear the familiar pear shaped fruits. Depending upon where it is grown and how it is pruned, it can be considered a large shrub or a small tree. Botanically, figs are different from other fruits, when like magic the fruit just appears among the leaves. It was baffling how fruit could appear without the presence of flowers. I considered a midnight vigil with the flashlight to catch sight of the elusive flowers when I learned the ancient secret of the fig. The fruit is a hollow receptacle called a syconium with countless flowers inside! You never see the flowers of a fig. When fertilized, the numerous seeds inside form and the fruit develops flesh to protect them. Commercially grown figs can require a specific fig wasp to fertilize them - ours is self fertilizing.

If you're ever in our garden and you spot a ripe fig, feel free to ask if you can sample the fresh fig. We're happy to share the fruits of our harvest!


Lemon Verbena Lady said...

The herbal husband's favorite fruit! He loves to grow them also. We have three in pots and we are still harvesting ours. A posting will follow on my blog.

La Tea Dah said...

Great post and a wonderful fruit! The leaves are so pretty!