Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/94

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
84
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

is not designed that apples in their natural state should keep for long, and all attempts to preserve them in the fresh condition through the winter and far into the succeeding spring are a triumph against Nature only to he won by the person who is conversant with the methods of his microscopic opponents. The use of fungicides in the orchard while the fruit is growing will insure more and fairer specimens, thus filling a larger number of barrels with apples that are less subject to attack after harvest. This, with careful handling to avoid bruises when picked and housed, together with a dry storage room, should all bring a full reward. Fig. 7 shows an apple in the last stages of dissolution, overrun inside and out with a diminutive forest of fungi. It is the seed-time,

PSM V43 D094 Apple mold.jpg
Fig. 7.—Apple Mold.

so to speak, with the host of species each vying with the others for the last particle of the apple, the seeds only being left behind ready to grow into trees when suitable circumstances obtain, provided the vital spark does not expire before the favoring condition arrive. The pulp that has been destroyed is largely man's product developed by him through long years of selection and culture, and for which the orchard is planted and preserved. Nature wants more apple seed; man desires more and better pulp. Nature claims that the pulp of the wild apple is only to secure the wider dissemination of the seed, and to the orchardist, middleman, and consumer she speaks in her emphatic way that "if you would exact of me extra-fine pulp, you must at the same time employ the best devices of your high civilization to preserve it from your omnipresent and active competitors, the insidious germs of decay."