Group Title: Bulletin New Series ;
Title: Fig growing in Florida
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00097360/00001
 Material Information
Title: Fig growing in Florida
Physical Description: 8 p. : ; 22 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Florida -- Dept. of Agriculture
Publisher: State of Florida, Dept. of Agriculture
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Fla.
Publication Date: 1938
 Subjects
Subject: Fig -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Cookery (Figs)   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Abstract: New series, number 69
General Note: Cover title.
General Note: "July, 1938."
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00097360
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 41483278

Full Text

:.O. ( f
/


.4.4.4.4..-. I-- I I I I I I I I I --'.4.4.4.4..4 1


ew Series


+1
N















+














+0
+
+;




+". .-'


STATE OF FLORIDA
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
NATHAN MAYO, Commissioner
Tallahassee
July, 1938.


No.


TOWiz

ttz


69






























i.
+'.
+** f


*i-i-i!-.i.-. -. -Ii- {ii ~ittli i-,lll


99









FIGS


So far as known the fig is a native of Western Asia, from
Syria to Caucasus and Kurdistan. Like the date and citrus it
is a fruit of tropical and subtropical countries. It was used
extensively before cereal and grains came into general culti-
vation.
Botanically it is a fruit of various species of Ficus Carica,
belonging to the Moraceae family. It is edible fruit, canned,
preserved or dried. Many tons of dried figs are consumed
in the United States annually.
Found wild in the earliest inhabited countries, the fig has
accompanied man in all his wanderings wherever a suitable
climate has permitted it to grow.*
It was common in Greece in the time of Plato, was carried
into Italy, Spain and Gaul. It was introduced into England
prior to 1257 but has only maintained a precarious existence
in the south of England. It is grown in the southern states,
and has been commercialized in Southern California and
Texas more than elsewhere in this country.
When seed for planting are wanted a process known as
caprification is the name given to the operation necessary to
produce fertile seed. It consists of tying branches of the wild
caprifig in the tops of the cultivated trees as the caprifig is
the only fig bearing staminate flower. Because of the peculiar
structure of the fig fruit, the flower living inside the recep-
tacle, the process of pollination cannot be accomplished either
by the wind or by ordinary insects. A peculiar humenopterous
insect, called Blastophaga, is an inhabitant of these wild figs
in their native country and also visits the cultivated varieties.
It is to these that pollination is due. This applies to the
Smyrna and Caprifigs.
Figs are propagated also by allowing the limbs to reach the
ground and take roots which they will do with little effort on
the part of the grower. There are numerous varietion which
attain edible perfection without the aid of pollen of the Cap-
rifig and without developing seed of this class the so-called
Mission fig bears two crops annually, the early figs or "bre-
bas" and the late or summer figs. This subclass includes most
*We read of it in Ancient scriptures, for Isaiah hath said, "Let them take
a lump of figs, and lay it for a plaster upon the boil, and he shall recover."
Isaiah 38:21.
So it was used as a remedy for boils that long ago, B. C. 713
"Eat ye every one of his vine and every one of his fige tree." Isaiah 36:16.
The fig is mentioned fourteen times in the scripture. The last time in Reve-
lations 6:13.
It seems to have served a useful purpose in the Garden of Eden: Genesis
3:7.







FIG GROWING IN FLORIDA 3

of the figs of Southern California. Another group known as
the San Pedro fig which are grown wherever figs are grown
in the southern states and which mature only one crop of
fruit annually. The varieties grown in Florida are the Celeste,
Brown Turkey, Magnolia, Blue Genoa, Green Sachia and
Brunswick.
The fig is easily propagated by budding, grafting, cuttings
or layers. In general, cuttings serve the purpose best. They
are made from the ripened wood of the previous season's
growth. As the fig is not a hardy plant, its cultivation has
its limitations.
The fig territory in the United States extends from Vir-
ginia around the southern border states to the Pacific Ocean,
the greatest fig industry being in California. The dry climate
renders it possible for the dried fig industry to reach millions
of pounds annually. The United States imports twenty odd
million pounds of Smyrna figs annually. Outside of Cali-
fornia, Arizona and New Mexico, the fig industry must be
largely confined to canned figs; rains prevent the fig from
being handled by the dry process. They go out as preserves
or other forms of sweet fig products.
The fig is long lived when conditions are favorable, but is
delicate under bad treatment. The trees should have ample
space in orchards. The roots run close to the surface and
much longer than the tree is high. On good land with a
mulched surface and no interference the limbs of a tree will
grow to a spread of twenty feet in diameter. Of course the
average orchard as we see them does not reach this size.
Six or eight years is required for maturity.
Cultivation
The cultivation of the fig varies in different countries, but
certain characteristics maintain in all counties. The wood of
the tree is brittle and sensitive to breaks and cuts. Very little
pruning is advisable. Reckless culling and breaking the limbs
will destroy the trees. Plowing and ripping up the root sys-
tem will kill them. The root knot will kill them-a disease
produced by the nematode-a minute worm which infects
the soft fibrous roots. This pest is most troublesome in light
sandy soils and in cultivated orchards.
The fig will grow on a variety of soils but thrives best on
backyard and garden conditions. Trees planted near a chick-
en house where the roots run under the shaded rich soil and
are allowed to grow up unpruned will show a wonderful
growth. The amount of fruit obtained from a tree thus ideal-
ly situated will stimulate one to calculate enormous profits







4 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

from an orchard of such trees, but when the orchard is at-
tempted disillusionment is sure to follow. The tree requires
an abundance of plant food and is a surface feeder. This
renders it necessary to have a mulch to shade the soil and
keep moisture near the surface. It requires moisture but
will not grow on wet, soggy, seepy land. Sour soils should
have lime. Commercial fertilizer can be used to advantage
but natural mould and mulch should be supplied in addition.
The fig will not stand deep plowing and close cultivation.
Neither will it do well if pruned high so as to present a sym-
metrical appearance and allow space under the limbs high
enough to walk under. The expense of providing a mulch for
large acreage has deterred orchardists from developing the
industry on a large scale in Florida.
In propagating by cuttings they should be made in the
winter and should be taken from wood grown the previous
season, preferably from the lower limbs as top cutting dam-
ages the trees more than the lower limbs. If cut at the right
season a milky white sap oozes out of the cut surface. If the
soil where the cuttings are to be planted is moist a short
cutting, 6 to 10 inches, will suffice, but if the soil is dry
they must be long enough to reach the moist dirt-even if
two or more feet. Cuts should be made at the joint. This
is important as the fig has a solid stem at the joint but has
a pith in the stem between the joints which quickly decays,
and the wood will always die back to the first joint. If decay
once starts it will likely extend beyond the joint and destroy
the cutting. Insert the cutting in moist but well-drained dirt
to near the top of the cutting. It is always best to plant the
cutting where it is to grow as transplanting will delay the
growth approximately a year. However, cuttings may be
buried until spring, as with grape cuttings.
In keeping down weeds and other wild growth it is best to
do so as much as possible with application of mulch but weeds
may be cut frequently with grass scythe if the use of the
mower is impractical because of the low hanging limbs. In
the fig district of Texas light disking during the early Spring
and Summer to keep down the weeds is practiced.
All cuts should be made at a joint, whether for propagation
or for pruning, and as a rule the branch should be completely
removed rather than cut back. When limbs are cut short it
causes numerous shoots to sprout and makes too thick a foli-
age. Pruning can best be made by pinching back buds where
limbs are not wanted.
Among the drawbacks to fig growing in Florida is the
frequency of rain during the ripening season of the fruit.







FIG GROWING IN FLORIDA


This causes the figs to sour on the tree. Another trouble
comes of the depredation of birds. The ripe fruit offers a
great feast for various kinds of birds. The Bluejay is a rav-
enous eater but he is by no means alone in relishing the
sweet fig.
The fig is a fruit that cannot be picked green and allowed
to ripen. It must be allowed to ripen on the tree and then it
is too soft and near the point of decay to bear shipping. This
renders it impossible to grow figs for shipping in the fresh
state. The green fig contains an acid milky juice which not
only has a disagreeable flavor but is unhealthful.
Gathering the fruit is a difficult and clumsy process. The
tree is of a brittle wood and the bark easily skinned; there-
fore, the gatherer should never climb around in the tree.
The figs that cannot be reached from the ground must be
reached by some form of ladder. A clever device can be
made by taking an ordinary baking can, or other tin cup, by
filing the edge of the cup to cutting edge and fastening it to
a pole of any desired length. The cup should be fastened
rigidly so as to allow it to be used as a cutter. The cup can
easily be made to cut the fruit from the twig and catch
it as it drops.
There is a growing market for fig preserves and a much
wider market could be created by proper advertising. In can-
ning the figs should be gathered when still firm enough to
hold their shape. The amount of sugar that should be added
depends on the variety that is being used., A pound of sugar
to four pounds of fruit would perhaps suit most tastes.
Flavors can be added if preferred. Ginger root or orange
peel too give a variety of flavoring. Sweet pickles can be
made by adding spices and vinegar. It is a tedious task, but
the fruit is sometimes peeled before canning-some prefer
it-but for appearance, to cook them just as they came from
the tree, stem and all, produces the best result. Dehydration
would seem to be an ideal way of keeping figs, but all at-
tempts at developing dehydration in this humid climate on
a commercial scale have proved disappointing. The main
reason being that the dehydrated product deteriorates so
rapidly when once opened to the air.
It is possible to develop a market for a small fig orchard by
building up a clientele of customers for the fresh fig, picked
and carried to the homes of the customer. Ripe figs can be
shipped short distances only without refrigeration and re-
frigerated figs must be used at once when taken from the
cold storage.
The following recipes, taken from a book published by the







DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


department, "Florida Fruits and Vegetables for the Family
Menus," give some directions for the use of this fruit.

RECIPES
Figs
Fresh figs are best when first picked.

Breakfast Food
Serve ripe, peeled or unpeeled figs, with or without cream.
No sugar is needed.

Preserving Figs
Select firm, sound, mature but not fully ripe figs.

Fig Preserves
1 pound figs 1 pound sugar 4 cups water

Sort over and weigh. Wash dust from figs by placing in
wire baskets, or colander, and dipping in and out of boiling
water. Add sugar in proportion of 1 pound to 1 pound of figs.
Four cups of water. Cook, without stirring, to 224 degrees.
Allow to stand, covered, over night to "plump." Pack figs in
sterilized jars. Fill to overflowing with sirup heated to
boiling point. Partially seal and simmer 15 minutes for pints.
Lemon sliced through the peel may be added just before
processing. Spices or ginger may be added but the realiflavor
of the fig is pleasing.

Sweet Spiced Figs
5 pints figs 1 stick cinnamon
1 cup vinegar 1 teaspoon spice
1 pint sugar 1 teaspoon mace
1 pint water

Wash and dip figs as for preserving. Place in boiling
water for a few minutes and add sugar, vinegar and spices.
Cook to 222" or 224, or until the figs are clear. Let stand
over night. Pack and process 30 minutes at simmering tem-
perature or 15 minutes at boiling point.








FIG GROWING IN FLORIDA


Fig Conserve
To 1 quart of broken figs and the juice and pulp of 2
lemons add 2 cups sugar and cook until right consistency for
conserve. Add 2/3 cup pecan meats. Remove from heat.
Pack and process 15 minutes at simmering.
Note.-Grated lemon rind adds to the flavor.

Fig Spread
This is made from the broken figs or over-ripe stock. Clip
off stems, run through a coarse food grinder. Measure.
Place in heavy aluminum kettle and cook until thickened.
Add 1/ measure of sugar to one measure of fig pulp and cook
to 221F. Pack in hot jars, seal and process by boiling 5
minutes.

TABLE OF PRODUCTION BY COUNTIES, 1937.


COUNTY


Bearing
Tre s


1,423
23
123


Alachua ---
Baker _----
Bay __-
Bradford
Brevard
Broward
Calhoun
Charlotte
Collier
Columbia
Dade ....
DeSoto ---
Dixie _-
Duval --
Escambia
Franklin
Gadsden
Gilchrist
Glades -_
Gulf .-
Hamilton
Hendry __
Hernando
Highlands


FIGS

Crates Value


2,284
17
94


65 134

1,709 3,548
30 34


378
51

1
3,798
20
85.1
152

14
72
428
8
27
6


638


2
5,165
30
1,636
243

14
74
396

78
1


$ 3,140.00
32.00
188.00

215.00

4,618.00
72.00

968.00


4.00
5,875.00
45.00
1,651.00
245.00

15.00
135.00
495.00
50.00
78.00
2.00








DEPARTMENT 0 AGRICULTURE


TABLE OF PRODUCTION BY COUNTIES, 1937-Continued


COUNTY


Hillsborough -_-- __-----
Holmes -- --. ----
Indian River _-
Jackson __----
Jefferson ---- -
Lafayette -----
Lake --------
Lee ____
Leon ------ .--._
Levy -_--- __-
Liberty -
Madison -_ -----
Manatee ---- _----
Marion ------ -
Martin ----- -----
Nassau --------... ..--------..
Okaloosa ------------------
Pasco -- ----
Polk --.---
Putnam --_--_-....--__
St. Johns -_--_._
St. Lucie -----
Sumter --_-------__---
Suwannee ---_ --
Taylor --------- _----
Union -__- ----
Volusia -- ---
Walton _- --- ___
Washington ----


TOTAL, ..


Bearing
Trees
1,826
413

403
78
25
196

176
32
9
16

162


57
350
3,706
48
43
9
50
213
1
17
78
439
15
4

17,472


FIGS

Crates Value


4,516
508

596
132
37
306

254
20
34
18

65

28
388
4,580
32
26
20
115
270
5
14
70
354
46
4

26,820


7,552.00
671.00

596.00
201.00
74.00
298.00

254.00
36.00
34.00
20.00

66.00

$ 41.00
473.00
4,080.00
64.00
52.00
28.00
125.00
505.00
7.00
33.00
114.00
594.00
57.00
8.00

$33,709.00


4 Florida State News, Tallahassee


lg


-----------




University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs