In the book Grow Figs Where You Think You Can't, I havea simple message for readers: In places where figs don't usually grow... you can grow them. To drive home the point that it's not rocket science, I take readers on a tour of my fig-growing past.
Here's what I say in the book:
Confessions of a Fig Pig
For me, being a fig pig started as a teenager (when my sense of right and wrong wasn’t fully developed, and I pinched a cutting from a local public greenhouse). It’s over 25 years later, and I still have a descendant from that tree!
In the intervening years I’ve interrogated scads of fig-growing neighbours.
But after that initial teenage infatuation, my first fig tree was utterly abused for 15 years. It was rarely repotted, infrequently fed…and was a gnarled, sad-looking specimen that never fruited. But what was I to do? I was moving around with school and work and never had much more than windowsills to offer it as a home.
When Shelley and I bought our first house, I felt I could finally seriously grow figs. It was a small, 1950s bungalow. We really liked that house—and we really liked that it had a small washroom in the basement.
Any of you who have lived in an older home will know that older homes come with surprises. We didn’t notice until the first fall after we moved in that the basement washroom had no heating. None. It wasn’t a place you would want to hang around in the cold weather. On top of that, the window was no bigger than a toaster.
AS I SAT/STOOD IN THAT DARK, FRIGID LITTLE ROOM ONE MORNING, I realized that it didn’t have to be a washroom over the winter. I can still hear Shelley’s surprised voice: “What on earth are you talking about?” It was clear to me that it would be a fig storage room. And so we returned to leading our lives with a single, shared washroom. (So be warned: If you become fig-obsessed and if you’re in a relationship, be sure that you have an understanding partner.)
“We bought this book for my father-in-law for Christmas... he loves it so much he now wants us to order a copy for his friend.”
Irene, Collingwood, Ontario
"The book is terrific! Smart, informative and funny. It attenuates my 'fig anxiety' with all your practical advice."
Sarah G. Toronto, Ontario