Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Sidewalk Fig Espalier October 20, 2008

The inventiveness of Seattle gardeners never ceases to amaze me. Out of space in your garden but craving fresh, home-grown figs? Colonize the parking strip and plant them on an espalier, as this gardener has done.

Street figs on espalier

Ficus carica, the common fig, is native to the Mediterranean and grows in Zones 6-9. Its fruit matures to green, brown, or black depending on the variety. Raccoons love them, so I’m not sure how to protect the ripened fruit from them and other marauders. Maybe cheesecloth?

The espalier is an old technique for growing trees and other plants in narrow spaces and can be either free-standing or against a wall. Here is a link to information about how to make an espalier structure and also a list of which trees and other plants might benefit from using this method. This shot shows the fairly simple hardware used to anchor the wire to the support posts.

Fig trellis hardware

Simple C-shaped heavy-gauge wire hooks help train the branches to the desired shape.

Street fig trellis hooks

Oh man, now I want a fig tree… maybe I could shoe-horn one in on an espalier somewhere, on the south-facing wall of our house?? That fruit looks just too good to me.

Street figs


3 Responses to “Sidewalk Fig Espalier”

  1. I tried to grow a fig tree a few years ago, but it didn’t do very well and died. I do like that espaliered look, though. Maybe I’ll ry again next summer…

  2. Curmudgeon Says:

    Wing Nut brought home a baby fig tree a few weeks ago. It’s the first fruit we’ve brought to the garden. For now it will live in a pot on the patio against the west facing wall of the house. The little figs it has won’t reach maturity this year but hopefully next year.

  3. Julie Says:

    I was surfing the Internet, researching how to turn my new fig tree into an espalier, and I found your page. This is so cool! Do you know how these trees are doing today? I searched your blog and read a short mention that you did get your own fig tree–congratulations! Did you turn it into an espalier?

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