This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
In reply to several inquiries in regard to fruit rooms, we will say that a dry, cool, clean cellar answers a good purpose. At this moment (May 10th) we have twelve or fifteen varieties of winter apples and half a dozen of winter pears in fine condition, in a dry, cool cellar, under a portion of the house seldom heated during winter. The floor is laid with plank, and shelves of whitewood are fitted up around the walls. The pears have mostly been kept on these shelves; some in boxes between layers of rye straw. The apples have been kept in barrels.
A fruit room should not be occupied otherwise, as the frequent opening and shutting of doors produces sensible changes in the temperature unfavorable to the fruit. Cleanliness is a great point; the removal frequently of all decaying fruits, and of everything that can possibly taint the atmosphere.
For a number of yean past a portion of my time and attention has been directed to the pleasing task of collecting and rearing of many of the choicest kinds of fruits and fruit trees, selected from the various catalogues and nurseries within a reasonable reach of this place; and however excellent or desrable the rich products of such a plantation or fruit garden may be to those whose hands have planted and daily watched them, with the pleasing prospect of an approaching harvest, until we are enabled to partake of the choicest fruits of the vine, still we find some of these, from the common mode of gathering and preserving them, of short and limited duration, and more especially in regard to the pear, the peach, and the grape. Hence, I have come to the conclusion to furnish myself with a fruit room for that particular purpose, and wish to make some inquiries in relation to the same. I wish, if convenient, you would answer the following queries in a coming number, or give us an article thereon.
I shall first give a description of my plan. My cellar is of a dry and gravelly substance. The surface of the ground at the west end is even with the bottom of the cellar. I propose having the fruit room partly in the north-west corner of the cellar, taking in four or five feet further west, and having a half roof sloping upwards to the west end of the house. This projecting part is guarded on the north by a wood-house extending several feet further west and shaded on the south and west with a thick foliage of Maple and Locust The entrance door is from a hall in the cellar.
Will such a location be a suitable one, economy and expediency taken into account! And if so, what would be the best materials for the inside wall, lath and plastering or matched boards! Also, what would be most suitable for filling in the same, dry saw-dust or tan-bark ? Will boards or cement be best for the floor of the room 9
Any further information would be interesting and desirable. In regard to the ventilators, how many would be necessary! How constructed and regulated! - and such other information as may be deemed necessary. Daniel E. Gerard. - Haviland Hollow, N. Y.
We should think the position a very good one. For filling up the hollow wall we should prefer coarse saw dust or shavings from the planing mill, and dry, well seasoned boards to lath and plaster - one and a half or two-inch plank will be better than inch boards. Cement will make the better floor, as it will keep out vermin.