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The fig tree is a small to medium sized, deciduous fruit tree. The fig is botanically identified as Ficus carica. It is also known as common fig or edible fig. The flowers of the fig tree are all female and need no pollination. The skin of the fig is thin and tender. The seeds vary in size depending on the type of fig tree. The fig is believed to have originated in Western Asia. Figs were introduced to the New World in Mexico in 1560 and they moved north to California in the 1600’s. Fig trees can thrive in a variety of soils as long as there is sufficient depth and good drainage. Optimum soil pH is between 6.0 and 6.5, acidic soils are not suitable for fig production.
Figs are best used when consumed fresh off of the tree. Dried figs contain a lot of sugar, about 50%, and a lot of vitamins, such as vitamin A and C. They are also a good source for calcium, iron, copper, and dietary fiber. Because figs are difficult to store, the majority of figs are dried and the drying process creates a sweet and nutritious dried fruit that can be enjoyed throughout the year. Figs are the main ingredient of a very popular cookie, the Fig Newton and the fig bar.
Fig trees like full sun and adequate room to grow. Plant them 15 to 20 feet apart. Fig trees do not demand a lot of fertilizer. Use about one pound of 8-8-8 for each year of the trees age. Twelve pounds would be the maximum, no matter how old the trees gets. Fig trees do not require much pruning. Prune them in late winter before the growth begins.