Sunday, February 19, 2012

Over-Wintering A Fig Tree in the Basement

Last October, I purchased a fig tree for $20 at an end-of-season sale at a local garden center. I have never grown figs here in the Northeast; my last foray into figs was when I lived in Florida. But at twenty bucks, I figured the pot alone was worth probably double that, so I took the plunge.

After squeezing it into the backseat of the Ford Escort with my fingers crossed it would survive the trip home without breaking it's tender branches (wouldn't you know my husband had the bigger car that day), I made it home OK and kept it on the deck for another month or so, until the first few frosts hit.

Next move - to get it into the basement to over-winter. Figs are not hardy to stay outdoors all winter here (although my new zone 7a classification may now change this). Anyway, it was a 2-person job to get this baby in the basement. But Bill and I managed to get it down the stairs with the help of a hand-truck. We deposited it in a dark corner where it sat for over a month, until I remembered it was down there (!) and probably after an expletive or two, I went down to water it. As I said before, I make a lot of this gardening stuff up as I go. . . . but it seemed fine. So I left it another month, and watered it again, giving it a good soaking. I figured I was simulating the non-existent snowfall we should have had this year.

So, much to my surprise, this weekend I go down to take a peek (I actually remembered the poor thing was down there this time) and to my surprise/delight, it is starting to sprout little fig leaves from some of it's branches! Here is the photographic evidence:

While I'm cautiously optimistic we will have figs this summer, I now have to figure out when it's safe to move it back outdoors.  I don't want to jeopardize the current progress being made. Any suggestions from my gardening friends???

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