I have a big ass fig tree in my yard. I don’t know much about fig trees (I don’t even like figs), but people who do know about fig trees have seen mine and have told me it’s the biggest figging one they’ve seen in New York. They want to know my secret. How did my tree get so big and healthy in this climate? How does it produce so many figs? Here’s what I do…
Nothing! I’ve heard that little old Italian men grow fig trees in the northeast and they’re small and fragile (the trees are – and maybe the little old men too) and they lovingly wrap them to protect them from the wind and cold of winter and then hope that they survive and then actually bear fruit in the spring. My tree gets no blanket. No warm milk. No bedtime story. My tree is on its own. My tree is a bad ass. It scoffs at winter. It looks the cold square in the eye and gives it the middle branch. It thrives amidst adversity. In the winter, it looks like this:
Dead. But it’s just playing dead. That’s not just a bundle of twigs. When the spring rolls around and my fig tree wakes from its winter sleep, it becomes beautiful. It becomes this:
If you think the tree looks bigger in the spring picture, you’re right. The winter picture is from 2011 while the spring picture is from this year. This is two years of growth with me doing absolutely nothing to help. I get hundreds of figs every season. Hundreds. I decided that this past season was the last that I will harvest for anyone. I’m adopting a “u pick” policy. You want ’em? Come get ’em. I’m not your bitch, people.
I get tons of weeds around the base of my tree. I pull them out, but they instantly reappear. (Weeds are the cancer of my crappy yard. I rip them out. They come back. I poison them. They come back. I have considered setting them on fire, but I’m pretty sure that’s illegal. And they would come back. It’s like Friday the 13th and all of my weeds are named Jason.) This past weekend, I tried out a method for preventing weeds that I read about somewhere. Basically, it’s just putting down newspaper and then mulch on top. Sounds simple enough. And it was. I cleaned out the leaves and weeds and then started just laying down newspaper, about 10 sheets per stack and overlapping the edges. It wasn’t a windy day, but if it was I would have wet the newspaper to keep it in place.
I used 4 bags of mulch, but I definitely could have used more. A bag of mulch doesn’t go as far as you think it will. Maybe I’ll add to this in the spring, but not now. It’s very cold outside and the cold makes me cry. I’ll be sure to update you in the spring to let you know if my newspaper trick worked.
Thanks for reading this post to the end. As a reward, I’m sharing a fig appetizer recipe with you. Aren’t you glad you stuck it out?
Figs with Goat Cheese, Pecans and Bacon
Makes 12 stuffed fig halves
- 6 figs, halved
- 6 ounces goat cheese
- 1/2 cup toasted, chopped pecans
- 3 slices bacon, cut in half
- Preheat the broiler.
- Stuff fig halves with goat cheese. Press pecans into the cheese. Split a strip of bacon down the middle and wrap each stuffed fig half with half a slice of bacon, securing with toothpicks.
- Arrange on a medium baking sheet. Broil 5 minutes, or until bacon is evenly brown and crisp and goat cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.
I have no idea if this recipe is any good. (I don’t like figs, remember?) It sounds like it might be. Bacon makes everything better. Maybe I will try it. If I do, I will update you with a review and a picture. You don’t want to miss that, right? That’s why you have to subscribe in the box below!