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The incredible, edible fig. You could grow them.

Written by Doug Oster on .

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There's a storied history of gardeners growing figs in cold climates.

For some it's a link to the old country, for others, just another gardening challenge.

I've been growing figs for a few years now and each year around this time I get to pick a few more as my tree gets bigger.

They don't taste like the figs in Italy, but they are close. I was blessed to be able to enjoy some right off tree while looking over the Mediterranean, but that's another story.

I bring my tree into an unheated greenhouse for the winter and it's happy there. If I left it in there, the figs would ripen sooner, but when the trees leaf out, the greenhouse isn't sunny enough to keep the tree growing stock and strong.

Some gardeners will loosen the roots of a tree, bend it down to the ground and bury it until spring. Others will use protection around the tree to keep it from freezing.

Now there are hardier varieties of figs available so you don't have to worry about doing any of that. Probably the most popular is the Chicago Hardy Fig. They are available locally at good nurseries or online here and through other sites.

The Brown Turkey Fig is another hardy variety. Although both are hardy, if it gets to around 10 degrees, the plant will die back to the ground and then re-sprout from the roots. They could both use a nice layer of mulch and would benefit from being planted in a protected spot.

Figs are easy to grow and can connect gardeners with their past.

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