Last summer, my coworker (KristinPotPie, read her blog here) gave me a bunch of figs from her tree. They were wonderful! I ate some raw and took a bowl home to make jam. Well, the jam didn’t turn out – probably because I didn’t use a recipe. But D and I decided we wanted our own bounty of figs every summer!
This year is the year we finally got fruit trees in our garden. We planted an Italian prune over the winter, and yesterday I planted the fig. It’s a Desert King, which we heard does the best here in Seattle. The fruit are green with pink flesh. I know we aren’t likely to get fruit for a few years, but the best time to plant a tree is always right now. How I wish we’d done it 5 years ago when we moved in!
After we decided where to plant it, I had to remove the “lawn” and make a bed. “Lawn” is in quotes because it’s just weeds, we’ve been trying to eliminate it for years and the only thing that keeps coming back are the weediest grasses, dandelions, and morning glory. At any rate, I dug the bed a few days ago, and yesterday was ready to plant.
The tree was in a pot about 8” across and was completely root-bound. What I thought would take 15-minute turned into an hour-long project. It’s not wise to plant a tree with circling roots – as the tree grows the roots will stay put and get thicker, eventually strangling one another and the trunk. So I teased out the roots, washing off the soil as I went. Once they were all loose I had to cut a few roots that were too thick to straighten out. This is totally fine, as long as you make clean cuts and don’t go too extreme.
I had to dig the hole wide to get all the roots to lay flat, but only about 3” deep! If you water in the soil as you go, it will settle amongst the roots naturally. You don’t want to step on them to compact the soil, at most use your fingers or hands, but I think water works best. I then added a top dressing of compost, for nutrients, and will be adding mulch as soon as I get some. Compost on top of soil has a tendency to dry out and become hydrophobic, so putting mulch over it helps it retain moisture.
So now I have a fig tree. I think I gave it a good start, and will soon be rewarded for my efforts. Fingers crossed!