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Chicago Hardy Fig
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Sweet, juicy figs. They’re so soft and perishable, you almost never see them at the grocery store. You pretty much have to grow your own tree to be able to have your fill of these decadent morsels. But don’t Fig Trees only grow in warm climates? Not anymore. With the Chicago Hardy Fig Tree, even if you live in the North, you can know the pleasure of having delectable sun-ripened figs right outside your door. Let them mature to perfection, and they’ll develop a mouth-watering honey-sweetness. With fiber and a nice assortment of vitamins and minerals in every bite, this is all-natural snacking you can feel good about, too!
- Hardiness Zone: 5
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Native to the Middle East, western Asia, and southern Europe, Fig Trees have a long history in western civilization. According to archaeological remains found in the Middle East, figs were most likely our first agricultural crop, farmed even before wheat and barley. There is some controversy over the true origins of the Chicago Hardy Fig, but the most popular story attributes its introduction to a grower named Fred Born. Around 1984, Born was asked to do a magazine article on overwintering Fig Trees, and a reporter tipped him off to a large Fig Tree growing on Chicago’s South Side. Born visited the tree, got permission from the owner to take a couple of cuttings, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Your Chicago Hardy Fig Tree will turn you into a fig fanatic. There are so many delicious ways to enjoy figs! You can add them to bars and smoothies, make elegant tarts with them, punch up salads with them, even throw them on a pizza. Figs make classy hors d’oeuvres when stuffed with blue cheese, honey, and walnuts, and fig jam is a wonderful way to relive fig season when there are no more fresh fruits to satisfy your craving.
How to Grow
Grow your Chicago Hardy Fig Tree in full sun. A site in front of a south-facing wall will provide additional warmth in northern climates, giving you more fruit. Well-drained soil is a must, and your tree will be relatively drought tolerant once it is established. Until it has developed a strong root system, though, irrigate it with the Bower & Branch Elements™ Watering System. In very cold climates, you may choose to wrap your tree in the winter with fiberglass insulation or build a chicken wire cage around it, filling it with mulch or dry leaves. Figs also grow happily in pots and can spend the winter in an unheated garage. They do require a cold period in dormancy, so don’t put it in a heated room or greenhouse.
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