This section is from the book "The Gardener V2", 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.
Where ripe Pines are required in May and June, no time must be lost in getting the required number started into fruit. For this purpose, select those Queens that have completed their growth early in autumn, and that have been rested by being comparatively dry and cool: give them a night temperature of 70°, except when the weather is very cold, when a few degrees less will be sufficient. The bottom heat should range from 85° to 90°, but never exceed the latter degree, or the roots are likely to suffer. If the soil be dry, give sufficient water at 85° to moisten it, and keep it regularly in a medium state of moisture, and gradually increase the air and moisture as the days lengthen and light increases. When the temperature exceeds 75° with sun, give a little air at the highest part of the pinery, and shut up early in the afternoon. Keep all succession stock quiet. The night temperature should range as steadily at 60° as possible. A few degrees less during hard frost or a high wind are safer than a few degrees more than 60°. 75° to 80° is sufficient bottom-heat for those.
Avoid giving more water at the root than just suffices to keep the plants healthy, if the plunging material be leaves and tan without hot-water pipes beneath them. "We have frequently had Pines in the most satisfactory condition without being once watered from the beginning of November to the mi idle or end of January. All young stock in low pits, that can be covered from dusk till dawn, should be covered in preference to firing hard to keep up the temperature; and whenever the temperature exceeds 65° by sun heat, give a small amount of air at a number of openings instead of much at a few.
Every gardener who has to keep up an unbroken succession of ripe Pines knows how desirable it is to atten-tivelv care for all Pines that show fruit from October onwards throughout the winter months. All such stock may now be pushed on at an accelerated pace as the days lengthen and the sun gains in power. The temperature at night should range from 70° to 75°, according to the state of the weather, and by day with sun-heat to 80° before giving air. Shut up early in the afternoon; and where all are out of bloom, moisture should be increased in the same ratio as heat. The bottom-heat for these should be at a maximum, namely 85° to 90°. The state of the soil must be carefully watched, and water given to keep it in a medium state of moisture, avoiding mealy dryness on the one hand and wetness on the other. Do not exceed a temperature of 70° at night in the case of those intended to start in the course of this month, unless it be in very mild weather, when a few degrees more is safe enough without hard firing. And do not be over-liberal with water till the fruit shows itself.
There is a danger, especially in the case of plants that have not well filled their pots nor matured their growth sufficiently in autumn, of their starting into growth instead of fruiting, if they are too freely supplied with water and moisture in the air. Look over them occasionally and examine their centres; and when the fruit can be discerned emerging from amongst the leaves, see that the plants so started have sufficient weak guano-water given to moisten the soil through and through. Supposing the early batch to have shown fruit by the end of the month, increase the heat a few degrees. Let it range to 75° on mild nights. Do not much increase the air moisture till they are out of flower, and give air a few hours a-day as weather will permit. Examine succession plants in small pots, and see that they do not become too dry, and give water enough to prevent their suffering without inducing much growth yet. The night temperature still continue to range at 60°. If it so happens that they are strong and well rooted, or if any portion of them are such, it will be better to shift them into their fruiting-pots by the end of the month than to run the risk of their becoming pot-bound, and consequently more likely to fruit prematurely.
Later plants are best not shifted till March. Take off and pot any suckers that may be on plants of winter-fruiting sorts from which the fruit is cut; pot firmly, and do not water till the roots appear at the sides of the pot. We will treat of soil next month in time for general potting.