We've long dreamed of growing our own fig tree, but living in Chicago, we assumed it would take a move to the West Coast to make our dream come true. Little did we know the fig tree would come to us. The Chicago Hardy fig, also known as "Hardy Chicago" and "Bensonhurst Purple," is a relatively new variety that originated in Sicily.
Fresh figs in the North, grown in our own apartment, by late summer! Is it possible? Read on... Suitable for USDA Hardiness Zone 6 and higher, the Chicago Hardy will die back in the fall and grow again from the soil line in the spring. The Chicago Botanic Garden recommends it for container gardening, making it a great choice for apartment dwellers.
Chicago Hardy's fruit will be sweet and ready to eat by late summer or early fall. We're imagining leisurely August and September evenings spent sipping wine and nibbling cheese and freshly picked figs. To be honest, the thought seems almost too good to be true, at least to a winter-weary Chicagoan who's afraid to pack away the winter coats just yet.
In Chicago, Chicago Hardy trees are available at Gethsemane Garden Center, and online at Logee's.
(Images: Joanna Miller and Logee's)