The growing season whizzed by in a blink. Caring for my mother who has later-stage dementia took priority and made summer slip away even faster than usual. Any extra time was spent outside reconnecting with the plants, instead of writing about them, which I think was a good choice for some much needed relaxation.
|My mom can't walk anymore, but she never stops weeding|
Now that things have stabilized a bit, I wanted to share my new, brazen (or maybe just crazy?) Mediterranean fruit project, and see if any of you have related experiences to share.
The novel growing adventure for me this year has been growing hardy Chicago fig in a large pot. I didn't put it in the ground in anticipation of needing to take it in for the winter. So many fall tasks already - I wanted to simplify the transition ahead of time.
The little fig quickly quickly shot up and reached its current height of over 5 feet tall in mid-summer! (I'm pretty relieved it stopped there.)
I'm not a fan of high-maintenance plants, but I've heard convincing evidence from northern gardeners that someday I might be able to overwinter the Chicago fig outside in a greenhouse or protective structure. The term hardy is a bit misleading, because although it's not hard to keep the plant alive, at least in zone 5, they do tend to lose all their leaves, unlike they would in a typical fig climate. That means lots of catch up work for the plant in the spring to regrow for survival first. So fruiting comes much later if it's not protected, and may not happen at all due to the short season. I'd love to hear from others in the colder zones as to how you work with this plant during its winter dormancy.
I was stunned to see fruits developing this first year! Didn't expect that, since I started with a tiny seedling this late spring.
|This was about a month after planting|
I'm noticing that the fruits so far have fallen off before ripening, but as the summer ends, a few more are hanging on tenaciously. I ate one of the few that fell off earlier this summer, and it wasn't tasty at all- hadn't had enough time to sweeten up. I imagine that next year when I bring it out from the basement in spring, it'll be able to put much more of its growing energy and time into fruit formation, especially now that's it's maximized the root space in the pot and has finally stopped growing upward.
I'll share more about overwintering and year two as things progress. Until then, please share your hardy fig adventures!