It has been my lot to deal with the storage of fruit in many circumstances, from the simple loft over a potting shed, with plain, wide, wooden shelves, to the insulated town "cold store," in which machinery reduces the temperature to near the freezing point. In all circumstances a few simple points stand out above all others.
(1) Fruit must not be subjected to hard frost; a degree or two may not hurt it, but on the other hand will certainly not improve it. A temperature of 35° to 40° is the best.
(2) Fruit that is expected to keep must be absolutely sound when stored.
(3) It should be gathered for storage at a point just in advance of what is known as "dead ripe." (4) It must be spread to "sweat" before being finally stored away. (5) The temperature must be even, and here doubie walls for the fruit room come in. (6) The layers should be thin, in order to facilitate examination for the purpose of removing any decaying fruit. (7) There must not be excessive damp. (8) There must be no objects near which are of a strong-smelling nature, or the fruit will become musty, and even offensive. This may sound a very formidable list of conditions, but there is really nothing very terrible about it, and it is nearly as easy to secure them as the reverse. Where a special fruit store is not in the question on account of the small quantity of fruit to be stored, the mistake is often made of putting it in a general store, which may contain such assertive articles as Onions, or may abut on a manure yard. The fruit often becomes tainted thus. A general store is rarely a good one, and it is usually better to head the fruit up in barrels. As proving, however, the very simple conditions under which sound fruit will keep, I may say that I have had Apples of many varieties on the wooden floor of a clean attic at the top of a dwelling house facing north-east from September to May, with nothing over them but simple sheets of newspaper in very bad weather. Anyone who is building a small fruit store may have the soil excavated to a depth of 2 feet, unless the land is very heavy and cold. In any case, he should provide double walls of matchboarding, and should thatch the roof to a depth of 1 foot. This will ensure an even temperature at a pleasant halfway stage between dryness and dampness.
A, lean-to against north wall of kitchen garden: a, north wall; b, 4 1/2 inch air cavity insulating the fruit room from the variable warmth and damp of the garden wall; c, 9-inch wall built in cement; d, 14 inch, wall, hollow above the ground level; e, valves for the aerating cavity; f, roof, double ceiled; g, air cavity in roof; h, ventilator; i, 3 inch hot-water pipes in the chamber, with an iron grating level with the pathway; j, path; k, shelves. (Scale, 1/8 inch = 1 foot.)
B, section of span-roof: l, 14 inch walls, hollow above the ground level, air entering 2-inch pipes, ascending cavity, and leaving by the roof ventilator as indicated by the arrows; m, roof double ceiled, with air cavity, projecting eaves, and gutters; n, ventilator closed; o, ventilator open; p, inside mutilator closed; q, inside shutter open; r, concrete; s, 4 inch hot-water pipe in the chamber with grating level with the floor; t, paths; u, closet for earthenware jars to contain fruits for long keeping; v, drawer for choice fruits; w, table top; x, shelves. (Scale, 1/8 inch = 1 foot.)
C, a cheaper room: y, roof and side thatched, on framework of wood; z, pathway with shelves at sides. (Scale, 1/9 inch = 1 foot.)