Fig is commonly known as ‘Anjeer’ in North India. As a fresh fruit, it has a luscious taste. Fruits have been prized over centuries for the medicinal and dietary properties. The figs are consumed fresh,dried, preserved, candied, canned or for jam making.
Climate and Soil
The tree being deciduous it can tolerate frost and low temperature without any injury. Very high temperatures in summer may cause scorching of terminal leaves. Heavy rains at the time of fruit ripening cause splitting of ripe fruits. It is grown on a wide variety of soils and grows well on heavy clay, rich loam and light sandy soils with good drainage.
Brown Turkey (2013): The fruit are medium to large size,delicious with deeply colored ribs and a medium sized eye. The fruit skin is purplish brown and lighter at the stem end. The flesh is pinkish brown with an excellent flavor. The tree is prolific bearer and yield 53 kg fruit per tree. Fruits mature from last week of May to end June.
It propagates readily from hardwood cuttings. Make cuttings from one year old shoots during January. The cuttings should be 30 - 45cm long having at least 3-4 buds. The cuttings should be planted on well prepared flat beds in the nursery. Keep one third portion of the cuttings above ground and bury the remaining two-third in the soil.
The rooted cuttings are transplanted in the field at a distance of 6m x 6m during middle of January to first fortnight of February before they start sprouting.
Training and Pruning
The trees are trained according to modified leader system. The training is completed in 3-4 years from planting. It bears fruits individually in the axils of leaves on current season’s growth. A light winter pruning may help to stimulate new wood growth and increase the crop. Mature trees may need a heavy winter pruning approximately after every three years to encourage enough new wood for a good crop. Branches that are diseased, broken or overlapping need to be removed. Bordeaux paste should be used to protect the cut ends.
Manuring and Fertilization
To obtain good yield, adequate nutrition must be ensured in young as well as in mature trees. Nutrient requirements vary according to age of plant and soil type. The annual nitrogen dose can be split into two applications, first half is applied soon after pruning and remaining half is applied two months later when the fruits are developing.
Fig trees are easily stressed in hot dry periods because of their shallow root systems. An even moisture supply is important during fruit development. A sudden increase in water supply during the ripening period will cause fruit to split.
Fruit Maturity and Harvesting
Fruits are picked when they become fully colored but still firm.A ripe fruit start to bend at the neck. Fruit maturity also becomes evident from sudden increase in fruit size. Fruits are harvested by hand with a twisting and pulling motion. Pickers should wear gloves and protective clothing, as the latex oozing from the detached end of the fruit cause skin irritation. Fruit should be carefully packed to avoid latex drops staining the skin of harvested fruit. Since fresh figs are very delicate, extra care is required in handling and fruits should not be arranged in the carton in more than two layers.