This section is from the book "Commercial Gardening Vol3", by John Weathers (the Editor). Also available from Amazon: Commercial Gardening, A Practical & Scientific Treatise For Market Gardeners.
Fig trees require but little pruning, beyond cutting out unnecessary growths. As the young shoots bear the fruit near the extremities, as shown in the drawing, the best of these should be retained, and should on no account be pinched or stopped. Each year the shoots should be spaced out when grown on walls so as to allow the light and air to reach the shoots and leaves, and in the course of time an enormous area will be covered by one plant.
Figs may be grown in pots of various sizes, or may be planted out under glass. If grown in pots a good compost is 3 parts fibrous loam and 1 of well-rotted manure, and old mortar rubble, or a little basic slag. The pots should be well drained, and the soil should be worked in firmly round the roots, the work of potting being done during the resting period. Once growth commences attention must be paid to watering, care being taken to give neither too much nor too little. The temperature of the house may vary from 50° F. by night to 55° or even 60° F. by day, and a few degrees more when growth is in full swing. The plant may be syringed in the mornings and afternoons on all fine days; and the ventilators must be regulated in accordance with outside conditions. Figs in pots may be grown as bushes (fig. 379)or standards (fig. 380). When planted out under glass it is probably more economical to place Figs against a wall, as they will not occupy so much space. In some gardens in Guernsey and other places where Fig trees have been established for many years, glass houses were simply built over them to secure a couple of crops of fruit each year. The branches spread in all directions from the top of the main stem, and cover a space of from 60 to 100 sq. yd. In Mr. E. H. Ogier's nursery at Duvaux, St. Sampson's, Guernsey, there is a Brown Turkey Fig tree, about sixty years of age, which covers about 180 sq. yd. of ground. The shoots are kept up near the light by means of a framework made of battens nailed together at right angles, and leaving spaces about 4 ft. square. Through these the grower can push his body, and attend to tying, pruning, picking the fruits, etc, without damaging the plants. A large tree such as described will yield 300 to 400 doz. Figs twice, and even three times, a year, the first crop being ready about the middle of April. As these usually sell at Is. per dozen, the yield may be regarded as excellent. The variety most favoured is "Brown Turkey", but several others are grown and treated in precisely the same way.
Fig. 379. - Bush Fig in Pot.
Fig. 380. - Standard Fig in Pot.