|The fig at the bottom of this picture was induced to start ripening.|
Growing fig trees successfully in Zone 6A New England is never a sure thing. Most fig tree varieties will not survive our winters unprotected. When planted outside, there's also a good chance that the fig tree will die back to the ground (if they don't die outright), which is mainly why I've chosen to grow mine in large pots. By November, I'll move the dormant trees indoors to an unheated crawl space underneath our house, which stays just above freezing all winter long.
Another challenge to growing fig trees in our part of the world is our short and often cool (i.e. non-Mediterranean) summers. Even when our trees produce fruit, there's no guarantee that they will ripen in time before the fall weather sets in. And when they don't, it can be incredibly disappointing. So far, I've had no problems with my Italian Honey figs ripening on time (about early to mid-September). Unfortunately, Black Triana and Paradiso in years past have proven to be late producers (bearing ripe fruit as late as November). Even if we had a bright space indoors to prolong their growing season, chances are the quality of fruit produced would be mediocre at best. (I learned this a couple of years ago.) Which leaves us with only one option - we must encourage our trees to ripen their fruit before Autumn sets in.
I waited a few days and was a bit discouraged when I didn't notice any change. Then on the fifth day, I came home from work to discover that the treated fig had swelled to twice its previous size seemingly overnight and started to darken in color - sure signs that it was beginning to ripen (bottom fig pictured above). Today, I went ahead and treated three more figs. With some luck, we will be able to harvest all of them before the first frost. I am further encouraged by the fact that we are expecting daytime temperatures to reach 80 degrees F again this weekend.