How to Grow Figs in a Cold Climate

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We should really all be so lucky (or smart?) as to have a uncomplicated greenhouse like the 1 Mr. Reich has on his 2.25-acre residence in New Paltz, N.Y., a 20-by-20-foot, poly-lined framework that he keeps minimally heated so the temperature does not drop under 37 levels.

Four of his figs are planted in the greenhouse’s dirt floor, qualified as espaliers. It is not just a figgery in there, even so. The greenhouse is also dwelling to a diversity of edibles, together with mache, lettuce, kale and even celery in winter season, together with spring’s flower seedlings and summer cucumbers.

But the no-frills way to develop a fig — in spots the place the winters are cold — is in a pot. That’s furnished you have the proper spot to stash it when the freezes get there, as Mr. Reich does in his scarcely heated basement, the place he has 15 potted trees.

Mr. Reich has very long grown not just figs, but also the likes of medlar and pawpaw, amid the vegetation highlighted in “Uncommon Fruits Deserving of Awareness,” his ahead-thinking 1991 e-book that influenced gardeners to think about a wider palette. Even with far more frequent selections like blueberries, Mr. Reich pushes the restrict, harvesting 190 quarts a calendar year, for illustration, from highbush crops grown inside of “our hen-proof blueberry temple,” an outside structure clothed on the sides in just one-inch mesh and coated with netting at ripening time up top, as well.

Amongst tree fruits, figs are distinctive. Most typically developed temperate-zone possibilities, like apples and pears, deliver their fruit on older wooden, the past year’s and before. Some fig versions can do that as properly, providing what is known as a breba crop early, on previous year’s stems. But those ideal suited to expanding in colder climates, which include acquainted kinds like Brown Turkey and Chicago Hardy, generate their most important crop — at times their only crop — on new shoots.

Keeping the fig tree scaled down to container-developed proportions by pruning does not get rid of the risk of harvest. To the opposite, results with figs in colder zones, Mr. Reich pressured, demands some blend of two techniques: good pruning and satisfactory defense.