Real World Gardener Edible Figs in Plant of the Week

March 5th, 2016

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at www.2rrr.org.au  and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network. www.realworldgardener.comREALWORLD GARDENER NOW ON FACEBOOK

The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on http://www.cpod.org.au/ , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition.

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Ficus carica Edible Figs

 

Know to Egyptians as the “tree of life,” this fruit tree is small enough to fit most gardens.

Better still these trees ( figs) don’t need  pollination for you to get the fruit.

Let’s find out more. I'm talking with the plant panel;Karen Smith editor of Hort Journal and Jeremy Critchley, the owner of the Green Gallery Nursery, www.thegreengallery.com.au


Figs can be grown in most parts of Australia, as they love a hot, fairly dry climate.

Edible figs grow to around 3m tall and 5m wide but can be larger.

They need a sunny spot because full sun is vital not to mention well-drained soil.

fig%2Bfruit.jpg

Figs can be planted virtually year-round but, as they are deciduous, so why not wait until in winter, so you can grow your own at that time from a hardwood cutting.

They can also be grown in large containers. Figs are long-lived

Fig trees don't need to be pollinated to develop sweet seedless fruits.

Each species of fig tree has its own specific fig wasps.

Botanical Bite.

Fig fruits are lined with unisexual flowers inside the fruit.

So how do the flowers get pollinated?

We think of figs as fruit but the fig is actually what's scientifically called an infructescence or scion of the tree, known as a false fruit or multiple fruit.



Fig-brown-turkey.jpg
Fig Brown Turyey



At one end of the fig fruit is a small hole or orifice (ostiole) which is easy to see.

In the middle of the fruit is a narrow passage, which allows the specialized fig wasp Blastophaga psenes to enter the fruit and pollinate the flower.

Quite often the wasp loses one or both of its wings on its journey inside the fruit.

Figs fruit should be picked when they are slightly soft to the touch and smelling sweet.  Although according to some fig connoisseurs, pollination produces a more delicious fig with a superior nutty flavor due to the seeds.

Figs will NOT continue to ripen once they have been removed from the tree, so pick them when you need them and handle them with care as they can bruise easily

 

 

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