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It’s fig season

My grandmother loved figs and summer. I always think of her in the summer when figs are in season. She made fig preserves, and she put figs in the freezer. It was a family tradition to pull a few figs from the ice box to serve with a bit of cream every Christmas Eve morning. My grandmother, Aileen, always said, “they were a little taste of summer in the dead of winter.”

Figs grown in Mississippi are different from those grown in California. The so-called common fig grown in Mississippi does not require pollination. The fig is really a flower stem that is sort of turned inside out, so the many little flowers are on the inside. The fleshy outside is stem tissue.

Figs grow well on a wide range of soil types as long as the soil is well-drained and reasonably fertile. Mulching is critical as figs have a very shallow root system. Mulch will conserve moisture and control weeds.

“Celeste” is probably the most popular common fig variety grown in Mississippi. The plant is vigorous, large, productive and the most cold hardy of the common fig varieties.

Another variety of fig in Mississippi is the “Southern Brown Turkey.” Brown Turkey may be the more desired variety in areas where fig plants frequently freeze to the ground. This variety can produce a fair crop on young growth.

If you already have a fig tree in your landscape — keep it well watered during the dry spells. Figs react to drought by dropping fruit. If you are considering adding a fig to your collection, check with your local nurseries for these excellent selections.

And remember, put a few figs in the freezer for a little taste of summer in the dead of winter.

Rebecca Bates is director of the Lincoln County Cooperative Extension Service. To contact her, call 601-835-3460.