Mission Fig Trees
Susan Helene Kramer
The Mission Fig tree can grow along the coast of California and even into Oregon in zone nine or more. The Mission fig or Fiscus carica is also known as Franciscana after being brought into San Diego in 1768 by Franciscan missionaries. And as the line of missions spread along the coast moving northward so did the planting of Fiscus carica.
That is me in the photo picking ripe figs in December. As you can see, the ripest figs split easily and it is hard to resist eating a couple right on the spot - they literally ooze with nectar.
I don't know if they are an acquired taste, but from my first bite I have found their slightly tropical flavor irresistible. Also, in the photo notice figs in various stages of ripeness - from green to a pink blush to deep purple when ripe.
If you wish to cultivate this variety of fig pick a place in your garden where they will get full sun and provide a circle at least 20 feet in diameter per tree. They grow a long time and get quite large. Dig a hole deeper than the tree roots and fill with good potting soil.
Mulch the base of the tree to keep the moisture in, as many areas in California can have periods of dryness. Drip irrigation is the way to go to maintain a regular supply of water.
Another consideration is planting in a location sheltered from frost and wind - not out in the middle of a field by itself. Think tropical for tree care. I have had success planting next to a south facing fence.
When harvesting fruit, be careful not to squish those you don't want to eat right away - and they do need to be left on the tree to ripen.
You can extend the months you enjoy eating figs by dehydrating them. I have left them on a screen covered with another screen in my backyard for several days. I've used a dehydrator set for 12 hours - you may need to pick out or turn your fruit after that interval. When dried out your fruits will be edible up to several months.
I've grown a variety of fruit trees over the years, and I think growing figs is worth the time and effort.
Article and photo by Susan Helene Kramer
Sunset Western Gardening Book
Copyright 2012-2015 Susan Helene Kramer
Santa Barbara, California USA
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Published by Creations in Consciousness
web site http://www.susankramer.com