Soon to be renowned!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Pomological Prophilaxis

Bag It or Maggot.

It's never an easy talk. Sitting down with young apple trees to discuss the hazards of reproductive maturity is going to be awkward no matter how clinical or casual your tone. Actually demonstrating the steps one must take in order to protect your fruit from the ravages of nature has all the appeal of a nude root canal. The matter is afforded some urgency, however, when your very own trees, which you planted, pruned, and protected since they were young whips, lose their entire crop of fruit to the dreaded apple maggot.

That was last year. But never again, said this orchard papa.

Now it's a strict “Bag It or Maggot” policy for the apples of Fencebroke. I'm sorry if it looks silly; I'm sorry if the other trees make fun of you. Don't listen to that jerk Nectarine—it's just angry because there's no simple cure for its leaf curl. And the Plum, well, sure it bloomed all pretty, but it was definitely premature—there weren't even any pollinators around! All its fruit fell off! So hey, guys, apples, come on, you don't have it so bad. Yes, it takes a long time to bag every single fruit—like, a really long time, in fact, this is kind of ridiculous—but surely it will be worth it to see your own healthy, shiny, ripe fruit picked by someone who isn't recoiling in disgust at the worm-riddled mess you used to be.

Right? Please, tell me it's worth it. 

Monday, May 9, 2016


Are you ashamed of your fignorance? Are you sick being called “figheaded” by persecutors real or imagined? Oh, the fignominy! Well, fignoramus, do you fig-ure (okay, that one doesn't count) it's time to do something about it? Good, because if you're ready to fignite your curiosity I've got some unfigginbelievable facts for you about the fruit that John Lennon once famously and figticiously called “figgin weird, man”.

Fig "fruits" are actually embryonic unicorns. 

This particular fig, now coming to fruition in Fencebroke West, is “Olympian”, a recent introduction from Olympia, Washington; though it may as well come from Olympus Mons for all the similarity it bears to anything of-this-world—Olympus Mons? It's a volcano. On Mars … it's only the—you know what, forget it, I'm not talking extra-terrestrial vulcanology in a garden blog. Even I've got boundaries.

Anyway, here are a few of my favorite … things to tell people about figs. We'll call them figtoids*.

1.) Over two dozen peer-reviewed studies have independently concluded that figs are the weirdest fruit in the world, surpassing the next weirdest—and lesser known—Portuguese howling cheeseberries by statistically significant margins.

2.) Figs were used to fatten geese for early experiments in proto-foie-gras.

3.) In a hush-hush and poorly-advised attempt to reclaim the fruit credibility their company name so clearly implies, Apple's iFig project was vexed from the start by slated fig engineers' inability to figure out what the heck they were looking at, much less what they were supposed to be doing with it.

4.) Fig leaves have long been the preferred medium by which religious shame is posthumously introduced to nekked old art.

5.) Figs may be green, purple, brown, or orange. Orange figs are better known by their more common name: oranges.

6.) Figs are pollinated by specialized wasps. These climb inside the “fruit”—which is actually just a bizarre, truncated, indented stem where the flowers are formed—then roll around, lay eggs, and die, incidentally pollinating all the while. Modern self-pollinating cultivars bypass this awesome and grotesque example of co-evolution run amok.

7.) When mashed into a paste and spread over the torso, figs make an effective torso-covering fig paste.

8.) Figs have been cultivated by humans since the Neolithic and may represent the earliest form of agriculture.

9.) Figs have been cultivated by Fencebroke Promontory Gardens since I looked out the window a couple weeks ago and saw figs growing on that weird-looking tree.

10.) Hearkening to Figtoid #4, it has been demonstrated that the mature size of a fig tree can be correlated to the moral purity of the gardener at time of planting. So-called “dwarf” figs are, therefore, a damning indictment on the horticulture industry as a whole.

Well, that about wraps up this edition of Figtoids. Feel free to recklessly disseminate the (mis)information presented herein with confidence, bluster, and aplomb. Now get out of here before I think of another terrible fig pun.

*Figtoids should in no way be taken as fact. Any resemblance to the word “factoid” is purely coincidental and hilarious. Figtoids may or may not be true, although a surprising number of them are. I forget which ones are which.