The great fig battle of 2021 has begun

posted in: Grow Mama

I had a head start on the birds this year.

I'm on day three of picking ripe figs and the birds (Tauhou, or Silver Eyes) have only just worked out they are soft enough for their beaks to get into. The battle is on. I saw the first pair in the tree as the sun was setting. They'll return with their crew at dawn.

Last year, fig season began in the first week of big lockdown and I wrote THIS piece, 'For the love of figs', which NZ author Deborah Shepherd posted in her lockdown diaries collection. I swore I'd never use a net again.

I spent the rest of that fig season picking them just as they were starting to go soft and ripening on the windowsill, much to the horror of gardeners frequenting the NZ organic gardening facebook page. It worked for me, the figs were still sweet and I left the birds their share to eviscerate on the tree.

This year, I am going to try a few different techniques. The figs down low are pretty well defended by the little dog and Bodicea the warrior princess cat. The ones way up high I gift to the birds, the mid-section of the tree is the battle site. My friend Claire who manages a nearby permaculture garden had made little bags out of an old net curtain for their grapes, which worked really well. The sunlight can still get through to the fruit but the little beaks cannot. I'm going to get on the sewing machine tomorrow and try that this fig season too.

And the berries? They're Chilean guavas. Delicious little morsels. Sweet and sort of spicy. High in Vitamin C and K. They don't last long once picked and I've never cooked with them, though I've heard you can. I hold out for the strawberry guavas to make jelly. I have to shoo small children off these, birds don't give a rats ass about chilean guavas for some reason. I love them.

As for the figs, wish me luck. The great fig battle of 2021 has begun.


Special thanks to Grandpa for the lunch boards he made us. xx

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