As someone who has gone fig crazy in the past year, I have come to the conclusion that, at some point, I must start growing my own. That point came yesterday when I brought some fig cuttings home to Tennessee from Virginia.
My mother-in-law has neighbors with a fig tree. I had heard from other relatives that the family with the figs had offered to share their crop with me, should I happen to stop by during the narrow window of fig ripeness.
While I was visiting Northern Virginia last week, my daughter and I walked around the corner to the neighbor’s house. There was no answer at the front door, but we felt comfortable enough to walk into the back yard to inspect the figs. I couldn’t find a fig tree. The property owner returned home while we were in the yard. We immediately realized we were at the wrong house. My charming daughter talked us out of the potentially embarrassing situation. The homeowner pointed to a house directly across the street, which was the home of the neighbor we were seeking.
Starting over, we rang the doorbell and were greeted by the neighbor who had offered the figs. He accompanied us to the back yard to proudly show off his gigantic fig tree and nice a pomegranate bush. The figs were nowhere near ripe. They probably won’t be ready until late July or early August. I asked how he would feel about me taking a cutting on the day that I would be driving home. He happily agreed.
Yesterday morning as the streets were filled with commuters heading to work, my wife and I armed ourselves with clippers, a trowel, some damp paper towels, a plastic container and some Ziploc bags. I dug up one small sucker and its shallow roots. It went into the container with some of the dirt it called home. Then I clipped off one small branch and cut it into several pieces, just like I had witnessed on a YouTube video about fig cuttings.
The pieces that look like twigs went into the wet paper towels. I put the stems that had leaves into water for the ride home. The leaves wilted quickly, as predicted on a different YouTube video. When I got home, I put the paper-towel-wrapped twigs in a container a darker room. I may go buy something called root gel that I learned about on yet another YouTube video. It’s supposed to help the twigs grow roots.
Two stems with leaves are in a mason jar filled with water by the kitchen sink. My hope that they grow roots is based upon the sprig of rosemary that my wife grabbed from a friend’s garden in December. We stuck it in a small jar of water and it has grown roots. We’ve pulled off some rosemary leaves and used them for seasoning on several occasions.
Lastly, the sucker with some small roots and two more stems with leaves are planted in my back yard. My best hope for a future fig crop is the sucker. Twenty-four hours later, it looks the most lively. Should any of them survive, it will be a couple of years before my cuttings are big enough to bear fruit.