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
“ 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
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
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
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
Far snip Growing
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
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?
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
THAT CAN BE CROWN
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Dent- 57 Quincy, 111.
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EVERYTHING for the GARDEN
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By H. D. Ilcmcnway.
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