Last October, our neighbors Brent and Nestor gave us their martyred fig tree, Jesús. I didn't get Jesús into the ground last year because I wanted to wait until we'd gotten the place painted before planting trees right next to the house.
Now that the rainy season is here, it is time to plant trees. So what if we only got halfway through painting this year? We'll built tree-protecting something-or-others when the rains stop and painting resumes. At the rate we're going, this will be some time in 2016. It's been said that the best time to plant a fruit tree is twenty years ago, and the second best time to do so is right now.
So, this weekend, I set to work digging up the miserably heavy clay-silt soil on the side of our house. This soil is so dense that it literally cannot be dug in the dry season. When it's wet, it turns into the gloppiest sloppiest clay ever to stick to shoe or shovel. I dug four holes, and totally wore myself out. You should have seen my shoes. A solid inch of mud, glued to the bottom of my feet.
But yeah, I dug four holes. Without really setting out to do so, I've been collecting stray fig trees, ever since Robb and I bought our little house.
This spindly little tree came from some random dude on craigslist. I bought it shortly after we moved into the house, during a period of addiction to the farm and garden section of craiglist. I didn't have my head screwed on right back then, and was running amok, buying somewhat indiscriminately. I have no idea what variety this plant is. But hey, it was cheap.
Looks kind of sad, doesn't it?
This next fig was given to me by a very nice lady in Occidental, who sold me one of my spinning wheels. I'll also admit to a period of craigslist spinning wheel excess. What can I say? I'm a sucker for handmade wooden tools, and spinning wheels really don't take up all that much room. Robb doesn't complain, which may have something to do with the fact that I mostly kept my mouth shut during his vintage bicycle buying spree back in Baltimore. We were living in a historic house that was only twelve feet wide, and our living room was hilariously full of bikes.
There are certainly much worse things to spend money on than fruit trees and wheels. I make no apologies.
This last fig is our only named variety. It is Desert King, a green fruit with pink flesh, said to do well in the Bay Area. I bought this once I'd done a bit of research and had stopped grabbing up fruit trees at random. I got it through the local chapter of the California Rare Fruit Growers.
My plan is to keep these trees reasonably small, more like fig bushes. The space they're in is pretty narrow. I'm considering interspersing them with a couple of varieties of blackberry, for which we'll have to build some sort of trellis.
I augmented our stupidly heavy soil with quite a bit of mulchy compost. I hope the figs thrive, and that I didn't do all this work for no reason. I really wore myself out, and am going to be sore tomorrow, but I'll be dreaming of figs.
Like this beauty, which we harvested from the still-potted
Jesús this past September. Growing fruit is one of those activities where there's no immediate payoff, but lots of mouth watering anticipation. Is it totally stupid of me to be excited about finally planting fruit I may not taste for years?