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Easy + Delicious

One of the easiest fruits to grow: THE FIG TREE

Figs are one of the easiest fruit trees you can grow and NOW is the time to enjoy this scrumptious fruit. They grow happily in both the ground and in containers, making them perfect for all types of gardeners. Figs grow on low, open trees with no thorns and soft leaves, and they are very easy to pick. You'll know a fig is ready to be picked when it feels soft and it separates easily from the tree when you lift it upwards from its drooping position. Unripe figs are harder, more firmly attached, and do not droop. These delicious fruits are at their peak right now in Hampton Roads and will be remain until frost in mid-October.

Enjoying the flavor of a freshly picked fig in the shade of the tree's canopy is a true Southern tradition. Thomas Jefferson claimed in his retirement to want only to sit beneath a fig tree with his books and watch the days pass by. Luckily, he did a lot more than this. Jefferson not only spread the popularity of the fig from Europe, but also expanded the area where the tree is grown. So, grab a shady seat and enjoy this southern treat!

Our Favorite Figs:
There are hundreds of fig varieties to choose from. Here's a list of our faves...

Brown Turkey - boasts brownish, copper-colored skin, often with hints of purple, and mostly pink/red flesh with some white. They work well in salads or in desserts where a sweetener will be used.

Celeste - approximately the size of an egg, Celeste fruits are purplish-brown when ripe, with a sweet, moist, deep-purple flesh inside. Absolutely delicious!

Mission - named for the Mission Fathers who planted these figs along the California coast. This fig is deep-purple which darkens to a rich, black color when dried. Often called black mission figs, they are extremely sweet and are perfect for serving plain , with yogurt, or with a tangy fresh cheese (such as mascarpone, fromage blanc, or farmers cheese) for dessert.

Strawberry Verde - large, black skinned fig with a scrumptious deep, strawberry-red flesh. It is excellent eaten fresh off the tree or dried. This variety is a dwarf tree well-suited for smaller gardens or containers.

Our Berry Top Picks

BACKYARD BERRIES

To be a backyard berry farmer is so easy and so rewarding. We are crazy for berries and growing them couldn’t be easier. As long as they have well drained soil and sunshine, you'll have plenty of berries for your shortcakes this summer. We polled our berry experts and here’s their top picks for Hampton Roads gardens.

Raspberries
Brazelberry Raspberry Shortcake. This new dwarf, thorn-less red raspberry has an endearing, rounded compact growth habit and is perfectly suited to large patio containers. It will nicely fill out no matter what the shape and requires no staking! Self fertile, yielding full-sized, nutritious and super sweet berries in mid-summer.

Blueberries
Sunshine. A semi-dwarf evergreen blueberry it features showy hot pink flowers that fade to white in spring. Yielding medium, rich sweet flavored berries this blueberry is self – pollinizing.

Rabbiteye. These easy to grow, delicious fruits are especially tolerant of the heat and drought of the South. You will need to plant more than one variety for cross-pollination.

Bountiful Blue Blueberry. With large, sweet, juicy berries this award winning selection has the bluest foliage of any blueberry. It is self fertilizer, but a pollenizer such as 'Sunshine Blue' will yield a more prolific harvest. With a rounded growth habit it is perfect for massing in the landscape or featuring in large containers.

Strawberries
We recommend Chandler and Berry Galore Rose.

Chandler. These berries are brilliant red, very large, and produce early-season to mid-season fruit. With an exceptional flavor profile, they grow well in Hampton Roads and a great backyard berry.

Berry Galore Rose. This ever-bearing plant produces deep red, sweet berries. This unique plant bears fruit but also offers ornamental rose colored blooms with dark green glossy foliage. Performs well in containers, hanging baskets, or in the ground.

Blackberries
Triple Crown. This trailing blackberry ripens for about one month from July thru August. Fruits ripen to a juicy sweet flavor with large, flavorful fruit. This semi-erect vine is thorn less and will bear huge fruit yields year after year.

Don't miss this weekend the Pungo Strawberry Fest. This berry-rific event celebrates the perfect harvest time for strawberries in Hampton Roads.

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Edible Garden Essentials

Transform your ho-hum garden into an abundant edible masterpiece. Here's a few of our favorites that will keep your edibles going and growing!

Smart Mud Gloves - These garden gloves provide durability through abrasion resistance as well as an excellent degree of tactility. With the Smart Mud gloves you are free to answer your phone, change your music, or take that perfect pic of your splendid garden with your gloves on. assorted colors, $7.99

Espoma Garden Tone - For naturally delicious edibles, use this all natural plant food formulated specifically for vegetable gardens. It is safe, long lasting, and provides nutrients necessary for vigorous and productive plants. 8 pound bag, $14.99

Tomato Cages - Mix these colorful structures in your edible garden. Our round, heavy-duty wire plant cages give your fruits & veggies the support they need while giving you the color and style you need. 42-inch cages in assorted colors, $9.99

Marigolds - These sunny annuals not only look great in beds and containers, but they also chase off unwanted pests and bugs. We recommend mixing them in edible gardens to deter pests from enjoying your yummy harvest. $2.29 (packs) & up

Gronomics Raised Bed Kits - Constructed of 100% western red cedar, these raised bed kits are easy to assemble. They can be set in multiple designs and formats to fit your space. With raised beds, you eliminate tilling, soil amending and minimize wedding. 48x48x13 inch Gronomics Raised Bed Kit, reg. $159, on sale for $99.88. (sold at year-round locations)

McDonald Organic Compost - By mixing our compost with your native soil, you will provide your plants much-needed moisture, aeration and give their roots the optimum environment in which to grow. 1 cubic foot bag, $6.99

GARDENING TIP: Mix edibles and cutting flowers together in your garden to create the ultimate kitchen garden. You'll have beautiful bouquets and delicious foods for the table!

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