April wrote, "I live in northern NJ. Would a fig tree grow here?"
Figs are one of the last fruits and vegetables that are only available seasonally. Northerners keep a sharp eye out for the first figs to arrive in stores, usually early fall. As wonderful as the west coast figs are, there's no substitute for a just picked fig. Unfortunately figs are only hardy to about USDA Zone 7 and most of northern Jersey is, at best, a Zone 6.
That hasn't stopped gardeners from coming up with ways to fool Mother Nature. The most extreme method of growing fig in cold climates is to dig a tree length trench next to the tree, loosen the roots and lower the tree into the trench. Then you bury the tree and mulch it well, until the temps warm in the spring and you can tilt it back up. No thank you.
A better option is to grow your fig in a pot. You'll need a large pot; something along the size of a half barrel. Then you have 2 options: When a frost threatens, you can move the potted fig into a garage or basement where it can spend the winter being cool and dormant, but not freezing. If you choose this option, leave the tree out doors, as long as possible, so it can slowly go into dormancy. Or you can bring the potted tree into a greenhouse or sunroom. Some people even grow their fig trees all year long in vented greenhouses.
Potted fig trees can still get large. For the most part, fig trees don't mind having their roots a little pot bound. But every three years or so, you're going to need to root prune your tree. Cut off about 1/3of the roots and prune the top by about a third, at the same time. Spring is the best time for this.
'Petite Negri' fig seems to be the most often recommended fig tree for containers. It's a black fruit with sweet, red flesh. In warm climates, you can get 2 crops per year. (USDA Zones 7 - 11, outdoors).
Have you grown figs? Help April out and let us know what types of fig you grow and how you do it.
Photo: majima82 / stock.schng.