Yes Figs Grow Around Fort Smith!


Work closely with the River Valley Master Gardeners on a five-to-ten year Fig growing trial to determine what varieties are suitable for our climate gardening zone. We are seeking information on local Fig trees which have survived multiple years either with or without winter protection.

Document and show as many growing Fig trees in our area as possible so people will know what varieties to choose from when they search about Figs and possibly want to grow them, in and around Fort Smith.

Most people think about California or perhaps farther South and into Florida when growing Figs comes to mind but in truth, we can grow just about any variety of Fig as can be grown anywhere, depending on how much effort we want to put into it, to ensure survival of the tree(s).

There are many varieties of Fig, some considered more "cold hardy" than others and so, more suitable to growing here if we simply want to plant them out in the yard as we might any other fruit tree suitable for our climate, while others will require protection of some sort during our cold winters that will kill most fig varieties.

Ok Charlie, what Fig varieties can I grow in and around Fort Smith? If it is listed in the right column blog archive below, then it is a good variety choice. More will be continually added as they are found locally or resulting from the Learning Fields at Chaffee Crossing Fig Trial.

We can grow even the pickiest of Fig if we want to have them in containers we can move into a garage or other suitable enclosure during the winter to protect them from killing temperatures and others may suffice in a greenhouse but these are not really the ones we want to focus on in this blog. Most people simply want to plant a tree and not go to a whole lot of effort.

It is advised that any Fig variety grown here be given some protection during Winter while young and until they are well established with woody bark. Even then there are no guarantees they will survive. Our purpose here is to help you decide which are the best choices according to known survivors in our area.

Variety topics are always in the Blog Archive.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Starting a Fig Orchard

Since the Southwest Times Record article, we have been blessed beyond expectation in new fig friends and their trees.  Today begins a new chapter of Figs Fort Smith.  We're going to plant a fig orchard!  

So, John at the Squash Blossom Store in Dora has this huge Hardy Chicago Fig tree we wrote about previously and agreed to let us have all the limbs. We agreed to return a portion of them back to him as rooted cuttings to do with as he will.

Hardy Chicago is a beautiful, cold hardy fig variety and delicious.  It's listed among those figs in the "Berry" category and is a favorite of ours and many other fig enthusiasts.  See how it's just dripping full with fig nectar! 

The tree during early Fall, 2015.

After pruning.  We pruned every limb from two nodes above the previous main limbs.  The five gallon pail gives good size reference to the tree's trunk.  It is situated on the East side of this home so is shaded after noon and has still done fairly well.  Figs usually do best when given full sun.

One hour's worth of pruning, limbs loaded in car and headed home for the real fun of cleaning, cutting and wax sealing the ends and side cuts.

We use a fry daddy, loaded with food grade cheese wax and temperature set at 225 - 250 F.  All the ends are dipped and side cuts are daubed with the handy wax dauber that hangs on the edge of the pot.  Wax and wax daubers are commonly used to seal mushroom log ends and we got both at Field & Forest Products.

Five hours later, we have three, 5 gallon pails of cuttings, sealed and sorted by sizes, small, medium and large.

Our personal "best growing" figs this past year were Unknown Lake Spur that cuttings were buried horizontally under a few inches of wood chips/leaf compost last Winter and sprouted in Spring.  We left them to nature and they showed us what nature can do, other than helping them along with a generous piling on of composted rabbit and sheep manure.

That is somewhat the same plan we have for these and other fig varieties as they are acquired.  Some will be buried horizontally and some will go into Root Pouch grow bags filled with the same compost as last year and then completely covered with it until Spring, when we will update this post as the green shoots appear. :)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments moderated prior to publication.