Sunday, August 12, 2007

A fig grows in Kenmore

The fig in my garden grows sideways on the ground. The trunk grows horizontally along the ground and the branches sprout upwards as seen here. They might reach 6 ft by the end of the summer.

Next photo is a close up of a branch, with green figs forming.

Finally, we zero in on the figs themselves. These are about as large as a quarter.

Microdot commented here yesterday that he thinks my fig problem is due to lack of a particular pollinating wasp. I was out in the garden for awhile today and noticed a smaller wasp with yellowish markings -- like a yellow jacket but not as big and bright. It was buzzing around the fig bush, but it chose to land on the leaves, not the actual figs.

But my wasp was way too large to be a fig wasp. I found a blog entry about these creatures with very fine pictures. Check it out here, courtesy of Belgian student Cairnarvon.

I also found a page with growing tips. I am not the only one with figs that won't ripen:

Q: Why won't figs ripen on my fig tree?

A: It may be an environmental phenomenon or a problem with the variety. Often figs freeze to the ground in the winter. The regrowth is lush and vigorous and often the bush is growing too vegetatively to mature the fruit. Figs are also shallow rooted and easily stressed which can hinder ripening. Mulching and regular watering should help. Certain unadapted varieties will never mature the fruit regardless of the management program.

This autumn, I will try laying on the mulch before the weather hits freezing temps and see if that helps. Microdot's tip about growing against a brick wall and/or giving the fig a southern exposure is something that might be a bit difficult on my property. As for luring the proper wasps to my figs -- I'm at a complete loss as to how to accomplish that!

I did an image search and discovered fig trees that looked shrub-like and had leaves exactly like my fig. Other images looked like real trees, and most of them appeared to be growing in Europe. This one is from Australia:

Photo credit: Mike Bogle, May 2006
Photograph of a large fig tree taken at Centennial Park in Sydney, NSW, Australia


terra said...

unrelated - I noticed that you're a composter, so I thought I'd ask you... I'm setting up a vermicomposting bin and I was wondering if you know where I can get some red worms. Anywhere in Akron?

Village Green said...

My compost bin is open on the bottom, so native worms can make their way upward, and they do! You can see a picture of my bin if you search for "compost bin" using blogger's search for this site. It is a winter picture with a huge layer of snow on top of the green Rubber Maid bin.

I don't know about local sources, buy you can get worms via Ebay and have them shipped right to your door. Somebody is selling them for $12.50 a pound!

terra said...

I found some at a bait shop. Thanks! Ours will be inside. I might do a yard waste compost too when we get the hang of this one.

microdot said...

Wow! Thanks for finding the pictures of the little fig wasps!
I learned the fig wasp relationship info from reading Dawkins The Selfish Gene. I was puzzled for years as to what the fig flowers looked like.
My trees are pretty big. One was against the wall of a building I tore down and had been eaten by cows for years and was pretty stunted.
After the cows were banished and it had room to grow, it is now 5 times as large in only 4 years! I don't do anything for it except to put down ashes from the fireplace in the winter.
It rarely gets down to below 20 degrees farenheit here. We need some hard freeze to keep the forest healthy, but I have a pond that rarely freezes thick enough to walk on.
The one time it got really cold here, back in the 90's, you could hear explosions from the forest as water in the oak trees froze and expanded and the bark burst.

I have two composters going and the worms just find their way into them.

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