Thursday, 4 October 2012

A Pit Fit for a Fig

That's not some daft tongue-twister I just made up for a laugh (I've got better things to do, just about), but a roundabout description of what we've been up to today. We've started buying Kitchen Garden magazine, after quite excitedly finding a copy in Carlisle Tesco. Not really having thought that magazines solely dedicated to growing food existed (not that there's any reason why they shouldn't of course) it brightened up an otherwise dull train ride to find a copy. I should point out here that contrary to popular belief, excitement can be found in Carlisle Tesco, provided you find gardening magazines exciting. Rock and roll...

Anyway, I digress badly. There was an offer for a free fig tree on the cover which we felt in no position to turn down. Kasia fancied a fig tree and I'm an acquiescent kind of chap, so fig tree it was. It turned up at my work looking very dinky and shrub-like, whereupon we immediately did nothing, until today.

You see, the problem with figs is that you can't just bung them in the ground, not if you want any ripe fruit on them anyway. According to no less of an authority than Monty Don, you need to restrict their roots to aid fruiting. So, today we (by which I mean Kasia) dug a massive hole where some courgettes had been, and pulled up some superfluous paving slabs to put in the sides of it to make a sort of raised bed / pit. In went some old bricks for drainage, followed by manure, soil, more manure and another layer of soil. Finally in went the fig which, by the way, is a Brown Turkey fig; the only kind that is likely to produce ripe fruit in this country.

A fig, in a pit, today
This whole rigmarole took ages as we had to move a shit-load of rotting planks of wood in order to get hold of the paving slabs, and when I pulled the slabs up I found treacherous quantities of bindweed root. Anyway, suffice to say this is the most time we've ever spent preparing the ground for a single plant, so it had better grow! It felt a bit daft putting the dinky little plant into this big plot, but I'm sure it'll look less foolish once it has gained some inches.

We spent the rest of the time barrowing manure onto a patch that has previously seen no fertiliser. Despite having been under cover for near enough a year, what remains of our pile of manure still has a very "agricultural" aroma. Had a damn good scrub once we got back in the house, that's for sure.

The remains of our pile of shite
A newly fertilised patch, to be covered, ready for next year
The sun was out and shining nearly all afternoon which was a fantastic change. I love this time of year when the air is cool but the sun still has plenty warmth in it. I celebrated the lovely weather by taking a couple of pics of spiders webs glinting in the sun.

We got home to find Albert guarding our ripening pumpkins and tomatoes in the window, which was certainly reassuring. What a fearsome beast!


  1. That's some pampered fig. But will it return the love? Will it give a fig?

    I lavished similar attention on my "asparagus bed" - which came to nothing and turned me bitter.

    You are well ahead of the game for next year -impressive!

    1. Hi Mal,sorry to hear about your dud asparagus. I've been tempted to give it a go but it seems pretty needy and hard to grow, especially considering the shortness of the season. I can see the attraction though; truly fresh asparagus is as wonderful as it can be hard to find.

  2. One of those webs looks to have been darned! Hope the fig flourishes. We have fruit on ours not sure when to pick them though - may have to experiment!

    1. Spiders are clever guys! If you have a look at the link to gardeners world on the post here you should find answers to any figgy dilemmas. Something about Monty Don's soothing dulcit tones is very reassuring.

    2. Also, there's a great bit on figs on p64 of November's Kitchen Garden mag. You can read online here:

  3. Well that fig has certainly had a good start in life. Just hope it returns the love with plenty of fruit!!

    Everything else is looking good. My manure still stinks....just when I think it has stopped I have to use some more and when the crust is broken you certainly know about it!!


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