A 300 to 1 shot...
Seeing it's November I decided it's time to pick the half-formed second crop fruit on the fig tree. It's a classic task for the month, when all the larger ones are picked (they won't survive our winter chills), leaving the smaller pea-sized ones to form next year's crop.
Imagine my surprise when I found a ripened fig nestled beneath the last remaining foliage. It's pretty special because it's unusual to find edible second crop figs here in the UK. We don't usually have a long enough season of warmth, unlike those lucky trees in more southerly climes.
My first crop was quick to ripen this year; 3 to 4 weeks earlier than usual, with me enjoying sun-warmed figs fresh from the garden on our return home on the 4th of July. Back then I'd secretly hoped I might just get a ripened second crop, even though Alan told me it wouldn't happen.
The result is one solitary ripe fig... and 300 unripe ones. Alan's still impressed, because he hasn't heard of it happening in the UK before, and as a top notch nurseryman he should know. I had it for breakfast - it was delicious.
Looking at the resultant basket of figs I wonder if I picked too early as there was quite a lot of sticky sap. It clearly shows the tree hasn't quite shut down for winter, probably owing to this year's unseasonably warm October. It tells me I shouldn't get my pruning gear out just yet - I have some major renovation pruning to do, so the tree needs to be dormant before I get ruthless. I'll just pop Alys Fowler's recent guide on what to do here, saved for later. I have until February to do the deed.
My next task is to sort that basket into figs for composting plus those ripe enough for a spot of experimental cookery. I have recipes for jam... and an unusual pasta sauce to try.