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How far north will figs grow?

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Knowing how much I like figs, someone sent me a link to Adrian Higgins' article in The Washington Post that speculates about whether successful fig growing in the D.C. area can be chalked up to global warming. It reminded me of the fig trees in New York City. And the fig-growing advice I got after I moved to Boston.

One of the garden pleasures I knew I was going to miss when I came to Boston nine years ago from the South was harvesting two crops of warm, brown figs a year. I couldn't imagine paying 50 cents or $1 per fig, the price at a nearby Whole Foods.

So I began poking around on the Web, wondering about the possibility of growing them in containers. I eventually ended up e-mailing with a fig expert at the North American Fruit Explorers. He encouraged me to try, giving examples of people in even colder climates that were able to raise figs.

He also sent me a list of varieties to try (English Brown Turkey, Hardy Chicago, Alma, and Celeste). And he recommended techniques to keep the plants in good shape . (Such as cover the base of the plants with a couple of feet of straw over winter, something I'd done other places I'd lived.)


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