Can you grow garden-fresh Figs in Canada?

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If you remember stories told to you by your parents, inevitably there’s one about something they ate as a child that sounded so amazing, that it stuck in your memory.

My tale of times passed is my mom telling me about climbing fig trees in the mountains in Greece when she was a girl, and eating sweet, fresh figs right off the branches.  As all I had ever tasted in Canada were dried figs, I was a little skeptical.  But she made them sound so good!

Strolling through the garden centre 3 summers ago, I saw some pots labelled Hardy Fig.  They were on clearance at 50% off.  I understand why, as most people passing by did not recognize them, nor were they particularly attractive.  I couldn’t resist, as I scooped up my deal of the day, and proceeded home to find a spot on the patio for our newest garden acquisition.  Growing it in our zone 5 climate would be a challenge that we hoped we could overcome.

This little fig tree outgrew its pot by the end of the summer.  We relocated it to a bigger pot and put it in the garage over the winter, remembering to water it a few times over the cold season.  The second summer it actually set fruit.  Cute, little figs were growing right in our yard.  Although we had expected that to happen, it still seemed amazing watching them grow.   What was less than amazing was that the wasps who had been enjoying our raspberries, then moved on to our little figs, biting and eating.  I despise wasps!  

Coming into year three, we had high hopes for eating fresh figs this year.  I tried not to get too emotionally attached to the outcome, just enjoying the plant for its beautiful foliage, and the prospect of a bonus sweet treat.  There they were, lots of them.  Big, beautiful figs.  I convinced myself to not look more than once a week.  Water the pot, but don’t look each time or you’ll get hooked on the outcome again.
Finally there they were, purple, ripe and almost begging to be harvested, and not a waspy thief in sight.  We picked a few and almost ran into the house to wash them and have our first taste.  What more can be said, than mom was so right.  Soft, sweet and scrumptious.  I’m glad our tree is small so we don’t have to climb to get at them, but if I had to, it would be worth climbing a tree for such a delight.

Figs

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