Sunday, November 23, 2008

Story of a baby fig tree: picture commentary

This time around, my post is about a type of learning other than that which is conducted online. Today, I wish to share with you the story or rather the history of a fig tree of a very special type. There is nothing unusual about this fig tree except for the fact that it started producing its first fruit one month and eighteen days after I had planted it. When I planted it, it was nothing more than a small branch of about 40 centimeters of length and a girth of about an adult’s finger. Being the son of a farmer myself, I can only say of myself that I am an amateur gardener at best. I dug a hole of a possibly 50 centimeters in depth; it had already rained five days earlier, so at the time I planted it, I didn’t even have to water it. I planted this branch in the garden of my home in the suburbs of Sfax City, Tunisia. I am not an expert in soil composition either, but the area on which I built my home was agricultural land.
Here is summary information on the fig tree:

1. Date the branch was picked from the original tree: October 2, 2008.
2. Date the branch was planted: around October 5, 2008.
3. Area from which the branch was picked: between Souk El-Kallel and the Maknassy-Sidi Bouzid Road, Governorate of Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia
4. Place in which picture was taken: Sfax, Airport Road, Tunisia.
5. Date I noticed the first fruit: November 23, 2008.
6. Color and size of the fruit: green, about the size of a chick pea
7. Length of stem above the ground: about 6 centimeters
8. There are two small leaves growing below and around the fruit
I have never seen anything like this before. I find it intriguing that plants can reproduce themselves in such a short time, and that it takes but little time for a branch without roots to turn into something like a tree in infancy, or possibly babyhood.
We may find it strange that a tree starts producing raw fruit in the first seven weeks of its life, but this is not a plant. It is a tree. I understand for example that it usually takes an olive tree about three years before you see it bear the first scattered crop of olives. This may be proportional to longevity of a fig tree compared let’s say to an olive tree. Olive trees can live for as long as one thousand years, with the oldest and still healthy olive tree now three thousand years of age(1). I am not sure exactly what the lifespan of a fig tree is, but I believe it is much, much shorter than that of the olive tree. Forty years is my own approximation.
I now look forward to seeing how this fig tree will develop.
(1) Wikipedia. The Olive Tree of Vouves. Retrieved November 23, 2008, from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olive_tree_of_Vouves