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AMERICAN SEED GROWING
Cheap Seeds the Most Expensive «UY ELLIOTT MITCHELL . Broadly speaking, the growing of farm a'nd garden seeds may he considered the most important of agricultural indus tries, for unless the quality of the-need is maintained, the succeeding crop is greatly diminished in volume and deter iorated in quality, so that if applied to the country as a whole, the loss would be enormous. “ I'he great magnitude of the American seed business is little appreciated,” said a prominent seed dealer in describing the car-loads of field and garden seeds which he handles each spring. ‘‘The producing capacity of the seeds quickly deteriorates, in most instances, and the most successful farmers buy large quan tities of seeds. The farmer is a some what cautious individual, and although he buys, on an average, double the amount ^of seeds hc'did ten years ago, be has hot, in every inst.mcc, Tcached ,thc point where he recognizes that the greatest economy lies in getting the best and patronizing #nly those houses whose , imputation forbids them to sell poor and adulterated seeds.” Seeds Apt to Retrograde. .i• \Phe deterioration in many seeds is • frery marked, and large sccdmcn go to great lengths to produce th? best pos aible seed and te have various establish ments in different parts of the country where the conditions-*^re the b< t for production. It is not 'possible that the best results can be attained in produc ing a great number of speds on any one farm cr in any one locality, however favored. The soil and climate which may be the best adapted for producing cne kind of seed may result only in a very inferior seed from some other kind. lies idle and he curses his luck which has thus shown itself against him, whereas the fault was his own, and he was simply penny wise and pound foolish. This can be said of many different kinds «f seed. Or suppose he buys expensive early cabbage or radish seed, it is an easy matter for the unscrupulous dealer to mix this seed half and half with very cheap late cabbage or radidi seeds, pre viously killed (so that they will not eomc untrue to name), and unless the buyer is particularly observant k may nevrr »nccur to him that Iiq has been buncoed. Tricks of Some Dealers. Another method of defrauding the seed buyer, practiced by cheap seedsmen who never expect to do business a sec ond time with the customer, is to sell him outright flic cheap seeds of some plnnt such as a muskmelon, for instance, under a label of some new or high priced variety. He puts in a hard sea son’s work trying to raise good mhsk melons, and at the end he finds he has a heterogeneous collection of inferior sorts. Still another practice which the reputable seedsmen will not counten ance is to sell seeds which may be true to name and which will also germinate, hut which are weak and poor. An ex ample of this was noticed by the writer hi the Colorado muskmelon fields. The Rocky herd cantaloupes bad for some years attained a country-wide fame through their sweetness and fine flavor. They were shipped all over the United States. Then came a great demand for A Field tf Seed Lettuce. & Far snip Growing For Seed. California Scenes. CoarXMj A. J. Plet-rt, Department of Agriculture. of plant. So that seeds, as they are handled hy the big seedsmen, arc gath ered in by them from all parts of the country from Maine to C.^fornia. In the latter state some of the vastest seed fields of the world arc found, where the eye ranges over unbroken rows, miles in extent, at least as far as the eye can reach. If all this industry should cease for a year and the farmer and gardener became dependent for the succeeding crop on the seeds which he would him self save during the year, the shrinkage in production throughout the country would amount to tens of millions ©f dollars. In the Olden Times. Of course, in the early days each farmer saved his own seed; possibly he exchanged seeds with one or two neigh bors or friends. At that time there was little competition in farming, the produc tion of the farm was used mainly for the support of the family, and the farm supplied practically all the necessities and even the iuxurie of life. The earliest seed-farm in the United States is believed to have been started by David Landreth, the originator of the present big seed house. This was before the Revolutionary war. on a small farm, now included in the city of Philadelphia. It is estimated that over 250,000 acres, including land in probably every state in the Union, are now devoted solely to growing seed Crops, and some of the largest growers plant annually as high as 2,000 acres. Get Good Clover Seed. Tlw advantage of Hemring good ger minating wed la manifest Take for instance clover seed which is sown on wheat-stubble in the spring. It is al ways possible to secure it at 50 cents 01 $f.oo per bushel below the market price quoted bv the reputable seedsmen, What is the result of using such seed? tl It must he considered a for« elusion that such seed is 1 even less than the redtiei which it 1* offered The lai prepared for pasture or hay. fertilizer used on the wheJ remaining in the soil for th clover and timothy, and th Clover seed is sown to her pendcncc of the farmer i crop. Jfp buys cheap seed or fio per cent, of it is an adulteratio of seed which has been killed or is ol< dead or weak clover seed. The r< mainder is good, fresh seed. If he buj this seed, likely putting off purcha until the eleventh hour, and uses without testing its germinating qua ities. he may be lucky if he gets half tand. In other words, half his lan ic con* worth rice al is l>eer of thr Tp still of th< iss am I de r his ha' •TO. 40, flf Rocky Ford seed. At the end of the cantaloupe season various individuals could he seen going over the Rocky Pord cantaloupe patches and disem boweling immature and frosted canta loupes for their seed. This seed, it is true, was genuine Rocky Ford canta loupe seed, and it would probably ger minate 95 or 98 per cent., but it is ob vious,. its sale as first-class seed was an imposition. Nevertheless thousands of packages were annually foisted upon seed buyers. So if you are going to buy seed, and buying seed to a greater or less extent is advisable, not to say necessary, it becomes a foregone conclusion that it pays to buy good seed and therefore to know from whom you arc buying. The Government Seed Bnsincs*. The Agricultural Department is busier than usual sending out millions of pack ages of free seeds fur Congressmen. It • should be understood that this free seed distribution, while carried out hy the tafy ^f Agriculture, is no scheme of his, but is a Congressional affair, pure and simple. In every session there is one or more bills introduced abolishing what has been termed by more than one | abolishes a system whereby the Con | gressmen who wants to keep in touch with his constituents has an opportunity to mail out a little package of garden | seeds to his entire list of voters, he cheerfully votes against the measure and !instead votes for an appropriation of over a quarter of a million of dollars , a year for free garden and flower seeds. Ir somebody would introduce n bill, even with this big appropriation, but kjk*c1 fying that the Secretary of Agriculture should expend the money in procuring and distributing only such seeds and EjC.-r* * l _• - purchase in open market samples of seeds of grazing and forage plants, test the same and publish the names of per sons selling adulterated seeds. So extensive is the seed business in the United States that many seedmen go to .an enormous expense in publishing each year catalogues giving the many varietics offered for sale by them. Home Tests of Seeds* The Department of Agriculture in or der to aid farmers to determine for themselves without much trouble the germinating qualities of seeds purchased by them, has issued a number of bulle tins upon the subject. A very simple apparatus for sprouting seeds is describ ed in the bulletin. It consists of a shal low tin basin or one of granite ware, i he bottom of the basin is covered with water and a small flat bottom of porous day is placed inside. The seeds after having been soaked arc laid between two layers of moist blotting paper or flannel cloth. A pane of glass covers the dish, which is to be kept in a tempera ture of about 70 degrees. The atmosphere !of an ordinary living room is suitable if care is taken to set the apparatus near a I stove at night. The basin may be left SEED LETTUCE AND ONIONS I* ULAD i-'iciiii.a as may ne 01 real value to the farmer in a Congressional district, new and improved varieties, even though only one package could be sent out where now a score or two are sent, the expenditure, would be defensible. This would be building up our agriculture, and there would be cases where the entire agricultural output would be changed, greatly to the advantage of the farm. The Secretary is, itv fact, employing this idea, as far as he is left any discretion in the matter of seed distribution. He is allowed by Congress a small appropriation of this free seed money, and where his explorers in the old countries of the world have brought in new plants and seeds which it is be lieved will be an improvement on those already grown by American farmers, he sends these out in sufficient amount to’ admit of a rational test by a farmer. Time to Abolish the System. As it is now carried out, the free seed distribution should be stopped, and the work of supplying the ordinary farm and garden seeds, the results of which are known to everybody, should be left to the regular sccdmen. The seed business of the United States is one of great magnitude. While there arc, of course, unscrupulous and fake seed houses who do not hesitate to adulterate the seeds they supply, the re putable linns take great care in seeing that their seeds are not only fresh, with good germinating powers, but true to name. The old-fashioned way was for each grower to save his own seed, hut in many of our principal crops it is found that tlie seeds grown in certain lo calities produce heavier yields, and while if the planting is done a little out of the original habitat of the plant the first crop may not appreciably deteriorate the seoond year, the crop from that seed will show a marked falling off in yield. It is for this reason that some of the wisest farmers and planters send regu larly considerable distances for seed. The Heed catalogues always carry n number of pages of novelties and new varieties which are described in an ex tremely attractive form. It is well enough to try these novelties, but rt is good advice to consider them as such I and have the main crop to fall hack ujmn from the standard or well-tried varieties which have stood the test of years. An examination of many of the seeds of common vegetable and forage re veals the fact that an immense amount of poor seed is sold to American farm ers and gardeners. Farmers as a rule arc responsible for this condition, since, is has been said, many of them buy the cheapest seed in the market and trust entirely to kick for it to produce the en tire crop. Sueh seed is dear at any price, and is withal one of the principal source of the hosts of hod weeds which sire to be seen upon many farms. For the last few years there has been a constantly mcrtustng outcry against AM OCFAN OF SWEET PEAS, flower Seed Grodno 1* an Extensive Industry. Congressman the free seed farce, and speeches Have been made annually de riding: the practice, showing that it is unnecessary and unprofitable and a waste of public money; >et when It comes to voting for a measure which the seeds sold by unscrupulous denlen and with it a demand fsr legislation Congress and a few states have passer laws regulating the trade In seeds. Th« Secretary of Agriculture under an Ac of Congress has authority to, and does partly open lrom time to time to admit the exchange o£ Tiir and gases, using a good-sized dish with small saucers and renewing the water occasionally. Sev eral kinds of seed may he tested at once at a trifling cost. The Department cau tions the far.. » against extremes of temperature-and excessive moisture dur ing the experiments. In some of the larger and more reliable seed houses of this country there is a well-equipped and appointed incubator room in which tests are made by the soednicn in order to ascertain whether or not the seeds will really grow. This Is done with every lot of seed that comes in the warehouse and before distribu tion through the country. Results of warn A HUNDRED ACRE: RADISH FIELD these growths arc recorded in a book and kept for ready reference in the event of complaints. The busiest times in the American seed warehouse is from November to March, and often April, when enormous quantities of seeds and bulbs pass through the buildings first in large sacks and later in smaller pack ages by mail and express on their way to the progressive American agricul turist. P. cserving Strict Silence. In Korea the women, on their wed ding day, w’lll not open their mouths to pe.-ik. no mutter what the tempta tion or provocation. Sometimes this silence is continued through the first week of married life. Although no such custom exists in the Western world, extraordinary cases ars not wanting. In the early forties a New York lady undertook, for a wager of $150, to remain mute during the month of her married life. Her new-made hsbaud, who, natur ally, was not in the secret, was so much Incensed at his hride’s behavior, chat he left her before her task was com pleted, only to return later w-hen ap prised of the real reason for ttrts un natural wflence. On one anniversary of their weddln* day a Brussels couple quarrelled no bitterly that the wife. In a passlew, vowed that her husband should never again hear the sound of her voice. She would there and then have left the house, but her now penitent husband implored her not to desert, him. To that extent only did his entreaties pre vail, for she kept the letter of her oath and never In her spousa’s presence did she unloose her tongue. An A'lsferlnn woman, whose husband was in hiding from the authorities. In advertently betrayed his whereabouts to a neighbor, who was secretly fcn the pay of the police. As a result, he was taken, and received a term of Imprison ment. So much did his wife take to heart this misfortune, which had been brought about by her gossip, that she resolved for the remainder of her life to remain mute. She would not make an exception even In her husband’s favor, for, although she received him on his release with the utmost affec tion, she maintained an obdurate silence till her death, three years later. i Cordial Foreign Relations. . Mrs. O’Riley—And arc yez on spakln’ terms wld Mrs. Zylonskl. * Mrs. Murphy—Av course T am. She J called me a thafe an’ I told her she » was another. 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This volume is based on actual experience (the author is an authority and director of the Hartford School of Horticulture). CONTENTS : Introduction; Howto Make a Garden; Twenty-One Lessons in Garden Work—May to September; bibliography; Lessons in Greenhouse Work* Planting Seed, Potting, etc.; Root Grafting; Lessons in Budding. Size, 5x7; pages, 107; binding, cloth; illustrations, 26. By special arrangement with Doubleday, Page & Co., Iam able for the present to make the following SPECIAL OFFER. The new Garden Magazine, 6 months, and How to Make Schorl Gardens, $1.00 edition, postpaid, both for $1.00. ........ The GARDEN MAGAZINE is finely illustrated, and is the finest magazine cf its kind published in America. To take advantage of this special offer, orders should be sent at *nce to H. D. Hemenway, Hartford, Connecticut. This offer may be withdrawn at any time. ONLY ONE LIFE TO LIVE That’s the Reason Why EVERYBODY should get the most out of life that they can. 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And the magazine costs 10c. for One Whole Year—That’s All And it’s worth ten dollars for its good suggestions about life and health and homemaking. Send your dime or five two-ccnt stamps to MAXWELLS HOMEMAKER MAGAZINE, 1409 Fisher Building, CHICAGO.