I came to figs rather late in life; I was in my late thirties when I first tasted a fresh, sun-riped fig. The figs of my childhood were consumed at Christmastime; soft and sticky from a cardboard box with a camel on it. So exotic and foreign. Now I find myself living in New Zealand with my very own figs trees simply dripping with this most luscious of fruits. I am the proud curator of two Brown Turkeys and one Adriatic and some 600 figlets. I say figlets; I’m not sure if it’s a technical term for a fig under one year old! I have nurtured these little babies from dead looking stick to healthy, sprouting figlet and I’m very proud of that fact!
I never planned to become a fig orchardist but life has a funny way of sending curve balls. I was looking to replace part of our apple orchard closest to our house. A local business featured an article in the local paper looking for people to grow figs co-operatively with them. What I knew about figs then could be written on the back of a postage stamp but I read on… Figs grow anywhere – the poorer the soil the better; I certainly had plenty of soil poor or otherwise….figs only need pruning once a year; I can manage a bit of light pruning…..figs do not need to be sprayed with chemicals; bingo that’s just what I wanted to hear! I was sold and phoned my husband then and there. I must have sounded like I’d been at the gin because his response was a bit stilted to say the least. But then some of my ideas have been a bit “out there” now I look back. Like the time I thought we should invest in some buffaloes and go into the buffalo mozzarella business; “But there’s a market in New Zealand for it! I can’t find it in the shops!” “Will you do the milking every morning?” my husband replied. Good Point Well Made. Anyway, later that night we talked again and decided to go and talk to the Figgery….the rest is history. One year of history to be precise.
Our delivery of fig sticks
Here are the fig sticks ready to be put into root hormone and some potting compost
Job done. 1,000 fig sticks underneath the walnut tree.
And a very exciting moment…the first bud!
This is the year when we will plant the figlets in the orchard. Next year (2014) we should get a crop but they won’t be fully productive until 2015. There’s still a long way to go but I’m excited about this journey I really am!