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.
Figs in pots started as directed last month will be breaking into growth, and should have the temperature advanced 5°; and, as in the case of early Vines, let the forcing be chiefly done by day with sun. Keep the atmosphere moist by syringing the plants, the surface of the bed, and the paths, taking care that they are never allowed to become dry at the root. Look over them at intervals, and rub off superfluous buds ultimately, just leaving enough to furnish the plants without crowding. Figs grown in restricted inside borders may be started at the end of the month at 50° at night. Give the border a thorough watering if dry, and syringe the trees two or three times daily.
Early trees in pots will now be pushing freely, and every care must be taken to keep them moist at the root, and to supply the air with moisture. Syringe freely every day at shut-ting-up time. Air rather freely on fine days, to keep the shoots strong. Now is a good time to start permanent trees from which two crops are to be taken. Give them a moist atmosphere, and a temperature of 55° at night to commence with.
See that the early crop from trees in pots is carefully attended to with water, which may now be freely applied, as the growth is rapid, and Figs are greedy of moisture. Increase the night temperature to 60°, and shut up with sun-heat early in the afternoon, so that the temperature stand at 75° for a time, at the same time syringing the foliage and otherwise damping the house. Give air rather freely on fine days, to keep the young wood stout and fit to throw a good second crop. Pinch the point out of each shoot at the sixth or seventh joint. Remove all weakly growths that are likely to crowd and are not required to furnish the trees. Attend to later trees in inside borders in the way of disbudding growths that are not required, and keeping them steadily moist at the root. Now is a good time to start permanent trees for a first crop at midsummer and a second in autumn from this year's wood.
Never allow trees producing early crops in pots to get very dry at the root, and supply them with rich top-dressingand liquid-manure. Pinch the shoots intended to produce a second crop at the sixth or seventh joint, and remove all young growths that are weakly, and are likely to crowd the trees. The temperature recommended for Peaches is suitable to the early Fig crop. If not already done, mulch established free-bearing trees in limited inside borders with manure, and keep them moist at the root. The Fig is a moisture - loving plant, and should be freely syringed every fine afternoon, till the fruit begin to ripen.
Early crops will be approaching maturity, and if produced from plants in pots, continue to give them the most generous treatment. With a large spread of foliage and a heavy crop of fruit, the trees will require liberal supplies of manure-water; and if the surface of the pots are occasionally dusted with Standen's manure, it will materially assist them. The minimum night-temperature may range about 65°. Syringe the trees freely every day at shutting - up time until the fruit approach the ripening point, when a drier atmosphere and more air should be given. As soon as the second crop appears at the axils of the leaves they should be thinned to three or four on shoots a foot or 16 inches long. Tie in the young growths on later trees, and pinch the points out of them when they have made seven or eight joints.
Where the crop is ripening, keep the air drier, and ventilate more freely to insure good flavour. As soon as the first crop is gathered from old and fruitful trees, give the border a fresh mulching of good manure, and water freely to encourage the second crop now showing on the young wood. Where there is a fruit at the axil of every leaf, some of them should be thinned off, or they will be deficient in size and the trees will be overtaxed. The earliest plants in pots now swelling-off their second crops should be liberally supplied with liquid manure. An occasional dusting with Standen's Manure will help them. Figs luxuriate in a warm, moist atmosphere, and except when the fruit are ripening, should be freely syringed every afternoon at shutting-up time.
Keep a free circulation of dry warm air among ripening crops. Where the first crop is all gathered, thin out the second if there is more than the trees are likely to swell and ripen properly. Give the trees - if placed in restricted borders - good waterings of guano and dung water, never allowing the soil to become dry. Syringe frequently to keep red-spider at bay.
Keep early trees in pots, from which the second crop is all gathered, free from insects by frequent syring-ings. These may now be placed out of doors in a warm sunny exposure, where their leaves will not get damaged with winds. Should they be the least crowded with wood, remove all the weaker shoots that is necessary to regulate and properly thin them. Trees in borders now swelling their second crop should be well watered with guano and dung water: a fresh top-dressing of fresh manure will also be of much benefit to them. Keep a circulation of dry warm air about those that are ripening, so as to properly develop the flavour. See, however, that while this treatment is carried out, the border does not become too dry. Except where fruit are ripening, continue to syringe the trees every fine day at shutting-up time.