Produces two crops a year.
Now growing an orchard is a great way to produce food, however it takes a lot of room. What about if you only have room for one tree what is your best choice? You would want a tree that products a lot of highly nutritional fruit that can be stored for several years.
I live in an area that is well known for its fruit trees, including apples, pears, mandarin oranges, lemons, peaches and cherries. These are all great fruits and can produce a lot of food. But I have two fig trees, one old and one young. The older one produces an amazing amount of fruit, my young is just starting to produce.
The old one has never been watered, fertilized, or sprayed, it has been pruned but only to keep it from spreading too big. They like lots of sun. If your yard is small you may have to prune them to keep them under control.
Fig trees potentially produce two crops a year. The first develops in the spring on last year’s shoots; this is normally the smaller of the two crops. The main fig crop develops on the current year’s new shoots and ripens in the late summer or fall. The main crop is normally superior in both quantity and quality to the early crop.
Fig trees grow to a height of between 25-35 ft tall, with smooth grey bark. These fast-growing beautiful trees can easily grow more than a foot a year. They grow well in the following states Arkansas, Louisiana, California, Georgia, Oregon, Texas, South Carolina, and Washington in the United States, south-western British Columbia in Canada. Although I have heard reports of them being grown in pots in colder areas, you just have to protect them from the cold. Fig trees are semi-tropical, they thrive in areas where winter temperatures do not drop below 15 °F.
Some types of fig trees require a specific type of wasp to pollinate the fruit. I recommend you stay away from these and grow the following types.
- Persistent (or Common) figs do not need pollination. This is the variety of fig most commonly grown by home gardeners. Adriatic, Black Mission, Brown Turkey, Brunswick, and Celeste are some representative types.
- Intermediate (or San Pedro) figs do not need pollination to set the early crop, but may need pollination, for the main crop. Examples are Lampeira, King, and San Pedro.
Figs are one of the highest plant sources of calcium and fiber. According to USDA the Mission variety, dried figs are richest in fiber, copper, manganese, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and vitamin K. They have smaller amounts of many other nutrients. Figs have a laxative effect and contain many antioxidants.
Figs can be eaten fresh or dried, and used in jam-making. Most should be dried or otherwise processed since the ripe fruit does not keep or transport well. We have dried figs and packed them in brown sugar (http://bit.ly/OyHU1Y) as shown in the link. The last batch was done in Nov of last year and is storing well. They can also be dried outdoors using a drying rack like the one shown at the following link http://bit.ly/OYauYa.
Fig trees product a lot of fruit for very little work.