This section is from the book "The Gardener V1", by William Thomson. Also available from Amazon: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener.
Encourage trees that are swelling off a crop with waterings of liquid manure, and keep a circulation of air about them as the fruit ripens. Figs should not be gathered till they have cracked their skin, and the juice begins to drop out of them, unless, of course, they are required to pack and send away, when it is necessary to gather them a little earlier. Give those from which the crops are all gathered an occasional syringing, so as to keep the foliage healthy until it has properly performed its functions, and drops off naturally. Plants in pots from which all fruit are gathered, may be placed in any warm place outdoors, where they will get full sun, and be sheltered from high winds, which would tarnish their leaves.
Generally speaking, all Figs are gathered by the middle of this month, and the trees may be kept drier at the roots and the house cool, but see that extreme dryness of soil is not allowed. All wood not required to furnish the trees for next season had better be removed at once. Early plants in pots should now be protected from heavy rains.
Prune and tie as soon as all the leaves have fallen. If, however, a proper system of summer pinching and thinning has been adopted, there will now be very little surplus wood to prune away. If they are growing in limited borders, remove the surface soil and replace it with fresh turfy loam and rotten manure in equal proportions. Keep the house cool all through the month. Those in pots can be stored away in any cool pit or shed for the present.
Where early Figs are required, a place should be got in readiness, where those in pots can be started after the middle of the month. Bottom-heat is of great advantage thus early: it obviates the necessity of much artificial heat for a while at first if a bed of Oak leaves can be made up, in which the pots can be plunged in a bottom-heat of about 80°, with a night temperature of 50° to begin with. They not only break more freely and strongly into growth, but young fruit formed in autumn are not so likely to drop off as when forcing is commenced without bottom-heat. Syringe the plants on fine days, and just give fire-heat enough till they break to keep the temperature at 50°; and when water at the roots is required, let it be given at a temperature of 80°. If the plants have been grown several years in the-same pot, top-dress them with something rich, and water with guano or sheep-dung water.
When the early crop is produced from trees in pots, now is a good time to start them. Plunge them in a bed of leaves with a bottom-heat of 80°. The air temperature will be high enough at 50° to begin with, increasing it to 55° by the time they burst their buds. Top-dress them with something rich. Syringe them twice daily when the weather is bright, and keep them steadily moist at the root. If they are in need of a shift they should be shifted at once, but the best time to shift is in autumn. In potting, use a rather strong loam, with a fifth part of horse-droppings, and a little bone-meal. Figs planted out, and intended to succeed those in pots, should be pruned if not already done, and the surface of the border removed as far as roots will allow, and a rich soil put in the place of the old. This only applies to trees in a free-bearing state; young trees are apt to grow too strong if stimulated.
Steadily keep up the bottom-heat to trees being forced in pots as directed last month. The temperature of the air may range to 55° in cold weather, with a few degrees more when mild. Air freely on fine days, shutting up early with sun-heat. Keep them steadily moist at the root; and. if the trees have not been shifted this season, and have their pots very full of roots, waterings of guano or ordinary manure-water may now be commenced. The succession-house of trees growing in borders may now be started, beginning with from 50° to 55° at night.
Increase the heat in houses started last month to 60° at night; and if, as is often the case, the second crop is of more importance than the first, do not let the first crop be too heavy, more especially on trees in pots. Water must be regularly supplied to those in pots, as they expand their foliage and swell their fruit. Keep the air moist by sprinkling the paths, and syringe the trees freely on the afternoons of fine days. Pinch the fruits out of the young-shoots at the fourth or fifth joint. Do not allow more young growths and foliage than is just sufficient to furnish the trees without crowding them. Old trees that have well tilled inside borders with their roots, require to be liberally supplied with manure-water.
Old-established trees in full bearing, with their roots in limited inside borders, should be mulched with rotten manure, and copiously watered with manure-water; syringe freely at shutting-up time. Stop the young growths at the fifth joint. This is best done by merely bruising the tender points between the finger and thumb. The trees bleed less than when cut entirely through. See that no more shoots be tied in than can get room to expand their foliage fully to the sun. Early crops in pots will require careful attention in the matter of watering. They should never be allowed to become over dry; indeed, if the pots are full of roots, and the trees bearing freely, it is not easy to overwater these after this season until the fruit begin to ripen, after which just "enough to keep everything going properly should be given. Keep the night temperature from 60° to 650 according to the weather, with 10° to 15° more with sun for a time in the afternoon.