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Almost a Fig Tree
I ordered a fig tree, that arrived in the mail today. A little pot, with a stick in it.
Over in the corner of the livingroom, a pot waited. A heavy cement pot, painted in hideous green, the color of green that I dislike the most. But resources are limited, and it was cheap at the second hand store, so I got it. It seemed designated for a fig tree from the moment it arrived in the livingroom. Resources being so limited though, it was another month before the fig tree arrived.
I tromped down to the basement to get the dirt for it. After looking around a little, I managed to find the bag of topsoil (our side by side tests have shown good topsoil is a better growing medium than potting mix, every time), and the bag of shavings (also shown to be essential in a dry climate, for mulch on top of the pot, to keep the water from evaporating so fast). Since we have no outdoor resources for producing our own at the moment, bagged versions have to be good enough.
I hauled out the two bags, one in each hand, and greeted the quail on my way past - explaining as I always do, how much I need eggs and that I\'d appreciate it if they\'d mature a little faster and produce them a little sooner (we got our first egg today, so my encouragement must be working!). Up the stairs, to see to the needs of the little almost fig tree.
The pot was filled with topsoil, and a nice hole shaped in the middle. I unwrapped the base of the tree - rooted into the soil in the little pot - and lifted the stick out to place it in the topsoil, and tuck it in nice and cozy. My husband helpfully scooped up shavings by the handful to layer over the top of the topsoil.
Some diluted peppermint oil sprayed across the top of the shavings (to deter the persistent and annoying fruit flies that seem to plague every effort here) and the job is done. The pot now tucked away in a corner until it shows some life, at which time I\'ll have to find a way to place it where it can get more light. I\'ll work it out another day. I always do, because I have to.
And I\'ll wait for that stick to become a fig tree, because that is how farming works. You start with something that is not what you want. You tend it, and feed it, and put time and resources into it. You invest in it. And one day, if all goes right, you have the thing you desired - the fruit, the vegetables, the meat, the eggs, the milk. If you never invest, you never receive.
So instead of an empty pot in the corner of the living room, we now have a pot, with a stick. A little stick of a promise, waiting to become a fig tree.
ONE MONTH LATER: It took two weeks before a tiny bud at the top of the stick began to turn green and swell. At first I was not sure whether it was really growing, or I was just WISHING it was, but pretty soon the top of the bud got a little bigger and started to look spiky, and two leaves slowly unfurled. It now has two tiny baby fig leaves that wouldn\'t have done Adam any good, and appears to be getting more growth between them. As it grows, it has popped up above the table that sits between it and the window, and is getting some light, if not quite enough, but it seems to be growing well, and not suffering from the lack of light.
The promise, it seems, was valid! And the investment may just pay off after all.
Now we get to wait for fruit. This fig variety bears on first and second year wood, so with any luck at all, we will have figs this summer, if I can move it into a larger pot so the roots have room to develop more. I think I\'ll put a blueberry in the nasty green pot when the fig vacates.
5 MONTHS LATER: The tree grew four leaves. Two large, and two smaller ones at the top of the little tree, still barely more than a stick. Then it seemed to stop growing - another month, or two, passed. I watered it now and again, and then one day I noticed that the new bud at the top was swelling, and it was different. Smooth, and rounded. More buds were forming at the leaf junctions, and the tree was starting to grow more. But that bud at the top was not a leaf, it was a baby fig! It is swelling slowly day by day, with enough weight to lean the little twig over to one side. They often drop before they ripen completely, but at least it is trying. Hopefully it will produce something amazing.