The fig tree is native to temperate of Asia’s regions. Figs are the fruit of the ficus tree, which is part of the mulberry family (Moraceae). Fig tree grown as an important fruit of commerce in the eastern Mediterranean climates, USA, and Spain. It also cultivated as a fruit tree in the home gardens in many other regions as well. During each season, fig bears several hundreds of pear-shaped fruits twice a year, which vary in size and color depending on the variety.
Figs have a unique, sweet taste, soft and chewy texture and are littered with slightly crunchy, edible seeds. Fresh figs are delicate and perishable, so are often dried to preserve them. This produces a sweet and nutritious dried fruit that can be enjoyed all year round.
There are multiple varieties of fig, all of which vary widely in colour and texture. Their unique feature is a little bud-like opening called an ostiole at the top that helps the fruit develop. Their natural sweetness meant that, before the days of refined sugars, they were often used as a sweetener.
Buah Tin / Fig fruits provide great source of fiber and full of vitamins and minerals, dried and fresh figs have a long and illustrious history. Known for being a healthy and versatile ingredient they can add a burst of sweetness to all kinds of dishes.
Figs can be consumed either peeled or unpeeled, depending on the thickness of the skin as well as personal preference. Since the insides of ripe figs are rather soft and sticky they can be difficult to chop.
Fresh figs can be available all-around the season. One may find fresh as well as dried figs in the markets. While buying fresh figs, look for uniform, ready ones that are soft, emitting sweet, pleasant aroma.
Planting Fig trees
Figs can be planted outdoors in Zone 8 and warmer. In zones where winter temperatures get colder than 10°F (-12°C) for periods of time, figs are best grown in containers and kept inside for the winter.
Plant fig trees outdoors in the early spring or late fall, when the tree is dormant.
For container fig trees, grow them in a soil-based potting mix and add fine bark chips to improve drainage. Keep the tree in full sun in the summer. Be sure to add a high-nitrogen fertilizer every 4 weeks in the spring and summer and water the tree moderately. In the winter, move the tree indoors and keep the soil moist.
For outdoor fig trees, plant the tree in the spring or early fall in full sun. Fig trees can grow in most types of soil as long as the soil is well-drained and contains plenty of organic material.
Space fig trees at least 20 feet away from any buildings or other trees.
Fig trees put down deep roots if given the chance, so bear that in mind when choosing a planting spot.
To plant container-grown trees in the ground
Remove the plant from its pot and remove any circling roots by laying the root ball on its side and using shears to cut through the roots.
Dig a hole that is a few inches deeper and wider than the spread of the roots. Set the tree on top of a small mound of soil in the middle of the hole. Be sure to spread the roots away from the trunk without excessively bending them.
Plant the tree 2 to 4 inches deeper than it was originally in the pot (check the color of the trunk to see the original soil line)
Growing and Caring for Fig Trees
Water young fig trees regularly to help them become established. In areas with dry climates, water fig trees deeply at least once a week.
Unless grown in containers, most fig trees do not require regular fertilization. However, if your fig tree is not growing much (less than 12 inches in one growing season), you can add ½ to 1 pound of nitrogen supplement. Divide up the nitrogen into 3 to 4 feedings. Start applying the nitrogen in late winter and end in midsummer.
You can also apply a layer of mulch around the tree to help prevent weeds and keep in moisture for the roots.
Fig trees require little pruning. During the dormant season, be sure to remove all dead, diseased, or weak branches to encourage growth.
If you have an abundant growth of figs, you can thin the fruit to encourage larger figs. In colder regions, bring container-grown fig trees indoors for the winter. Keep the soil moist.
If your area experiences a particularly cold winter, fig trees planted outdoors may die back to the ground. If the tree is of a hardy variety, the below-ground part of the tree will likely be unaffected.
Remove all dead wood while the tree is still dormant and watch for new growth in the spring.
Harvest & Storage Figs
Figs should be harvest only when they are fully ripe, as they will not continue to ripen off the tree. The figs should be fully colored and slightly soft to the touch.
May need to invest in bird netting to protect the crop; figs are a favorite of birds and squirrels.
When picking figs, wear gloves or long sleeves because the sap from the fig tree can irritate your skin.
Figs are very perishable. Store figs in the refrigerator; they will keep for 2 to 3 days.
For long-term storage, you can freeze figs whole for later use. Another storage method is to dry the figs.