Organic Figs

by Donna
(Orange City, FL)

I am trying to follow a healthier diet by eating organic fruits and vegetables. The problem is, organic produce is sometimes hard to find and expensive.

I have room for a couple of fruit trees in my yard. What I want to know is, can figs be grown organically in Florida? If so, what type of fig should I plant.


Answer

It is possible to grow fig trees organically in Florida. I know this because that is how I grow my Celeste Fig.

I've had it for several years. I have never sprayed it with any type of fungicide or pesticide and it bears pretty reliably.

My tree is in a pot and is only about 5 feet tall so the crop is not big. I'm assuming you want to plant a fig tree in the ground. This way it will grow a lot bigger and produce a much larger crop.

The main problem for Florida fig growers is the rain. Figs are Mediterranean trees. The fruit develops best in hot, dry weather.

If it rains too much while the crop is ripening, the fruit will tend to split and/or sour. It can also mold or just develop a watered down flavor and not be sweet.

This is why I grow my tree in a pot. I move it into the screen porch to keep it from taking on too much moisture while the figs are ripening. This has the added benefit of protecting the fruit from the local wildlife.

A tree planted in the ground may need to be sprayed with a fungicide during very humid weather. There are organically approved fungicides on the market. This is what fruit labeled as organic may be sprayed with.

Celeste is a good variety for Florida because it has a closed eye. In some figs, the eye (little hole in the bottom) of the fruit opens as it ripens. This is not a problem in all climates but in Florida ants crawl into the fruit and ruin it.

I've tried a few different types of figs here, but the only one I've had success with is Celeste. That doesn't mean that other closed-eyed types wouldn't do well here. I just don't have personal experience with any others.

Good luck with your organic gardening.

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