Wisconsin State Horticultural Society / The Wisconsin horticulturist
Vol. III, No. 9 (November 1898)
Walsh, George E.
American seed farms, pp. 18-20 PDF (796.2 KB)
20 THE WISCONSIN HORTICULTURIST. on their farms the next season. Everything for the seeds- men depends upon the quality of the seeds, their vitality and purity being of special importance. The strong com- petition makes every seedsman do his utmost to raise the standard of his seeds, and, as a result, we have a great im- provement in American grown seeds. European stock, if sold at all in competition with American seeds, must be sold at a considerably lower rate. The demand for better seeds and plants makes the meth- ods of cultivation on these seed farms a study that would be a benefit to every farmer and gardener. Formerly seed growers simply planted their seeds, and as they came up the poorer specimens were weeded out, and only the finest ones were allowed to mature. But today the pedigree of every plant on a seed farm is known way back, and the whole breed- ing is carried on as scientifically as the breeding of regis- tered cattle or horses. There are famous stocks to begin with, and the dealers guarantee that all the seeds they place on the market are descendants of not more than the fifth or sixth generation from them. After that the seeds are considered run out. Excellent plants for stocks are constantly searched for. If one is discovered in the fields or trial beds it is transferred to a greenhouse, where it is treated as tenderly as a new-born baby. It is surrounded by everything that will tend to make it grow and improve. It is then in- creased by cuttings, which are planted another year where they will not be effected by other plants. Several pounds of seeds will be obtained from these plants, and the follow- ing year they are sown and cultivated, and a large quantity of the seeds are placed upon the market. To get the seeds from a good plant, consequently, takes several seasons, and then they run only for several years before they are re- placed by others. The different strains are bred with great care, and the great number of names given to them by the seedsmen seems a little confusing to the ordinary purchasers. -The Independent.
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