Last year after lunch with the owner of Boulevard Brewing Co. in Kansas City, we went to see a fig tree that was growing on the side of one of his the beer warehouses. The fig tree was enclosed in a greenhouse structure and had succulent, ripe figs growing. My only life experience with figs was eating fig newtons. Wow, what a difference. Once I had the fresh figs, I understood how delicious the fruit really is.
During the winter I received in the mail a copy of Hobby Farms magazine. The magazine had a article about growing figs and described ways of growing fig trees in colder climates. The technique is very similar to what vineyard owners do in very cold climates like Minnesota or parts of Michigan for vinifera grape growing. At the end of the season, you cut the roots on one side and lay the tree down and cover with soil. This is a very easy thing to do. The alternative method is to plant the fig tree in a larger pot and make sure the pot has drainage holes in the bottom. Once the fig tree grows larger during the season, the roots can go through the bottom holes. Then at the end of the season, you dig up the pot and move to the inside of your house.
I bought 4 Figs for $15 a piece from Edible Landscaping. The variety I chose was Hardy Chicago which has fruit that is brown, rich and sweet. Good for potted culture. They say that "in 1999, we picked the first ripe outdoor figs on July 31st. Does extremely well in N.C. and we send this one to enthusiasts up north, because of its early fruiting tendency. Zones 6-8." I will plant one fig at my house and two others at the vineyard. I will keep you updated as the fig grows and hopefully produces fruit.