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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Growing Figs in the North - A Guest Post by Steven Biggs


Don't you love the cover of Steven's book??

I'm thrilled to introduce this guest post by Steven Biggs, a Canadian garden writer and speaker who co-authored the best-selling No-Guff Vegetable Gardening and has just released his brand spanking new book, Grow Figs: Where You Think You Can't. It's good. Really good. And if you have any interest at all in these incredible fruits, this is a book you will want to have. Steven is a self described 'Fig Pig' and I first met him (in person) last summer at the Garden Writers annual convention in Indianapolis. Before that, he'd been a guest on my radio show talking with his co-author Donna Balzer about No-Guff Vegetable Gardening and just a few months ago, we met up again at Canada Blooms where dozens of Canadian Garden Writers took part in a fun and informative lunch. 

Garden friends, may I have the pleasure of introducing you to Steven Biggs:

STEVEN BIGGS
It’s May and my fig trees here in Toronto, here in a fig-unfriendly garden zone, are leafing out. More importantly, the first crop of figs—the “breba” crop—is underway and should be ready in July. Yum, I can’t wait! (The second crop—the “main” crop—ripens in September and October.)
If you live somewhere where figs don’t survive the winter— in a fig-unfriendly garden zone—you might already have seen neighbours growing figs. If not, have no doubt: You can grow figs in coldish climates. It takes a bit of effort to protect them from extreme cold…but not much.
DID YOU KNOW that a fig tree overwintering indoors needs no more care than a potted houseplant? Actually, it needs less, because the fig goes dormant in the winter.
Figs WANT to go dormant. They drop their leaves after the first frost. That means we can keep them over the winter even if we don’t have a bright, hot greenhouse. While they’re dormant, they don’t need light or much heat. Contrast this to lemon trees, which demand a sunny window or a greenhouse in cold climates!
In fig-unfriendly zones you can often overwinter fig plants outdoors too. Over the winter, the ground remains warmer than air, which is why the technique works. The most well-known method of keeping a fig tree outdoors over the winter is burying it, and you’ll find more information about that approach on my website, www.grow-figs.com.
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