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The Span of Figs

Though fig trees and bushes with big tropical looking leaves are native to a very warm Mediterranean climate and long growing season, here in much cooler West Virginia, with a shorter growing season (USDA zone 6b), it’s possible to ripen a lot of very sweet and flavorful figs from June to November. 

A light first crop of breba figs can ripen late June through July, followed by the main crop come August. Production peaks in August and September, then tapers with less daylight and cooler days come October.

Fig trees may be grown in 5 gallon pots or buckets, and stored in garage or basement through winter at temperatures above freezing to gain the early months of production. Figs grown in ground in zone 6 experience winter top-kill (if unprotected) and late bud set and begin ripening only at the very end of August or early September.

If early frost strikes in October, potted fig trees can be shuffled in and out of a garage or shed to extend the season. When finally stored inside for the winter a few figs many continue to ripen on the trees well into November.

A fig tree may also be given an early start indoors by setting it at a sunny window to bring on bud break about a month before normal. This can allow a few breba crop figs to ripen at the very start of June.

By using these techniques, flavorful figs have ripened here as early as the start of June and long after first frost, a five and a half month span, or longer. More readily achieved is two months of substantial crops, August through September, plus two months of light crops, July and October.

Early June, Marseilles:

Early July, Violette de Bordeaux (Nero 600m):

Early August, LSU Improved Celeste:

Early September, Long Yellow:

Mid October, Mt Etna & Lattarula & Emerald Strawberry:

Early November, Mt Etna & Brooklyn White:

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