In the beginning…..there was a fig tree

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

Fig 2Fig 1

Here are the fig sticks ready to be put into root hormone and some potting compost

Fig 3

Job done. 1,000 fig sticks underneath the walnut tree.

Fig 4

And a very exciting moment…the first bud!

First Fig 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!


5 thoughts on “In the beginning…..there was a fig tree

  1. I’d love to trade some fig cuttings with you or anyone else that’s interested. I live in the US and have about 30 varieties of fig trees I can take cuttings from and I also have a large collection of tomato seeds and other garden seeds I can share with you too . my email is if you want to talk more, thanks and I look forward to hearing back from everyone. 1 Other thing none of my trees need the fig wasp and it don’t live in my climate.

    • Unfortunately New Zealand has very stringent restrictions on the import of seeds, cuttings or indeed anything that may harm it’s eco-system. Sadly I’ll be unable to exchange any fig cuttings. I would love to hear more about your fig varieties though. Thank you for your comment!

  2. Hi Sarah
    Great story, nice to see figs gaining popularity in New Zealand, I have a small collection of about twenty varieties that I am experimenting with in Auckland, They range from “figlets” to the oldest a seven year old tree. I would love to know what varieties are you growing and where in the country are you? Have you planted out your “Figlets” yet?

    • We’re growing Black Mission, Brunoro, Black Korunga, Adriatic, Brown Turkey and Malta at the moment. Just planted them out last weekend. We had a load of rain this week which has really helped to settle them in. You should get in touch with Te Mata Figs here in Hawkes’s Bay. They sell and process figs and are very knowledgeable about all things fig!
      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Pingback: The Fig Diaries | the fig tree

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