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.
Attention to gathering of Apples, Pears, and Nuts is now an important matter. The fruit-room, or wherever storage is, should be dry, free from any impurity, and vermin should be thoroughly eradicated, and no means of ingress allowed them. The fruit are not to be taken before the usual indications are perceived - the seeds becoming dark, the stalks parting easily from the tree, and the colour well developed. The fruits should be carefully handled and placed on the shelves, in drawers, or other quarters allotted to the keeping of them. We see such a variety of ways and means adopted to the keeping of fruit. Some of the large growers have them laid in heaps on floors, as some do with potatoes. Other instances are, where each fruit is kept separate from its fellow, and a current of air kept passing through the house. Where specimens are expected to be kept entirely sound, they may be kept thinly on the shelf; but this is by no means indispensable. When the fruits have "sweated," the ventilators need be opened very seldom. Frequent examinations of the fruit should be made, to see that none are decaying: where there is one left others will soon follow. There are likely to be many fruits of inferior quality this year, badly ripened, that will not keep.
Some kinds will not be ready for gathering till November. All trees on walls should be aided in the ripening process where they are inclined to be late. A new broom swept lightly over walls would take away many loose leaves which obstruct the action of light and air. All late growths should be well trimmed off, and if the tree goes on producing young wood, lift the roots at one side of the tree. Fibres, when formed, are conducive to fruit-tree ripening, and fruit in abundance may then be expected. Now is the time to prepare for next season's supply. Gross, sappy trees may be expected to fail in setting a crop. The root-lifting, as formerly advised, must be a matter of care, as the cutting at random of healthy feeders is a positive evil: only long, rambling, and naked thongs should be cut off, and all fibres placed out flat in genial soil. The whole may be made firm, and finished neatly over the surface.
Planting may be set about without delay. Large holes, in the case of trees isolated, may be formed; but where plantations are formed thickly, a general trenching may be made, and a layer of brick-rubbish under the trees, about a foot from the surface, and the whole firmly rammed, will do much to save the trees from cankering, and act as an obstruction to tap-roots. Deep planting (unless on exceptionally dry and elevated ground) is to be avoided. First have the necessary soil at hand, and fill the hole with it within 6 inches of the surface; or in the case of low, damp situations, the roots may be level with the surrounding soil. Place a stake firmly into the ground for Standards (dwarf trees may not require props), and place the stem within a few inches of the stake. Wrap a piece of cloth round the stake, to save the bark of the tree; and before the ties are put on, place a piece of cloth or leather between the twine and the bark. Make the stem secure to the stake, which should be as tall as the tree. Other systems of staking are practised, as may be seen among the fruit-orchards around us; but we prefer the former for trees which have no balls of earth at their roots. Leave cutting of newly-planted trees till the end of winter.
Instead of choosing large collections of kinds of fruit, it is better to select those which are fruitful and suitable to the district - and they might be planted in quantity. As an example, we have rows of young trees just bearing their first crop of fruit: they were young maidens two years ago. Among a large collection of Apples, we have nearly three-fourths of them Lord Suffield, Stirling Castle, Cellini, Worcestershire Pearmain, Margil, and a few others. These may be expected every year to have plenty of fruit on them. Plantations of Rasps may have all the old rods cut out, if not already done. The rods for next year's supply should not be crowded. Lift canes for planting in new ground. Gooseberry and Currant cuttings may be taken off, tied in small bundles, according to name, till time allows them to be made. Strawberry runners may be lifted and placed in store-beds, according to name. They make good plantations in spring to give runners for forcing. The beds should be thoroughly cleaned, leaving the plants standing individually, when manure may be placed among them. The roots should be kept entire.