This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V21", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Mr. Geo. P. Needham of Washington, D. C, has given an essay, in winch he wonders why fig culture is not more general at the North. They only need a little winter protection. He says:
"In the Spring, at time of corn planting, throw up one or more ridges eight feet high in the centre. Stake oft" on the top of this, distances ten feet apart. At these stakes dig holes at right angles to the ridges, say two feet long and ten inches wide. Throw the top soil in a pile, and throw the sub-soil away. Replace the soil in holes in the form of a mound one inch below the level in the centre and six inches below at the ends. Then separate the roots into two parts. Set the trees at the centre point, with the roots extending right and left down the mound. Fill up with any good soil and tread down thoroughly. In the Autumn, before danger from severe frost, prepare the trees for winter quarters, by cutting the roots growing lengthwise of the ridges with a sharp spade, not disturbing the original roots that were planted. Lay down the trees, lengthwise of the ridge, pegging down the branches that may need to be, then cover with earth, in this latitude two inches deep. In that of Boston four inches deep. And no matter how old the trees, by this method of planting they are laid to rest very easily. Only with older trees, after the branches are pegged down, it will be best to fill in the interstices with leaves and then cover as before.
I think I hear an objection "too much trouble." We do not hesitate to grow other luscious fruits on that account; and the necessity of winter protection, will be atoned for from considerations before named. It cost about one cent each to protect the trees of my fig orchard this fall. A man and a boy laying down and covering over a hundred per day. In the Spring, at the time before noted remove the earth from the trees and raise them to their positions. Thus it will be seen that the care of the trees is not great and the whole operation is quite simple. The unripe figs that were buried with the wood will form the first crop of the next year".
We sympathize with Mr. Needham. The dread of a little trouble in laying down should be no more bar to fig culture when we have only to dig and house them. Europeans whom we so much envy for their fine figs often have to protect them. We give the annexed figure from De Breul, showing how carefully the branches are bent down, arranged and covered.