New Improvements of Planting and Gardening, 595-597 (1726)

Fermented Citrus Seeds
Richard Bradley

This being premis'd, I shall proceed to give an Account of an extraordinary Phaenomenon in the Chadock Orange, which I observ'd this Year at Mr. Fairchild's, which may serve to prove what I have said above concerning the Difference between the Juices which make a Plant shoot vigorously, and those which are proper to render a Plant fruitful. About the beginning of April Mr. Fairchild receiv'd several Fruits of the Chadock Orange from Barbadoes, some in a State of Ripeness fit for eating, and others that were rotting, which, however, were not useless to him, because of the Seeds which were still fit for planting. These Seeds, as well as the others in the sound Fruit he sets in Pots in April, and the July following several of them began to shew Blossoms on their Tops, which explain'd themselves in August: This Novelty put me upon a particular Enquiry, whether these flowering Plants were raised from the Seeds of the eatable Fruits, or the rotten Fruits; which fortunately Mr. Fairchild remember'd and in a particular Manner observ'd to me, that they were taken from a Fruit which was so rotten, that its Contents were almost turn'd to Water: In the mean while it was observable, that the Plants whereon these Blossoms appear'd, were not near so vigorous as those Plants which were rais'd from the Seeds of the less rotten Fruit: This occasion'd me to make the following Remarks, viz. That, according to my former Observations, when the Juices of a Plant are well digested, its vigorous Growth is restrain'd, as appears by the blowing Plants that were rais'd from the Seeds of the very rotten Fruit, and were already in a State of Germination before they were planted, as it is common to observe Seeds already sprouted when we open rotten Lemons; I say, when Seeds happen to be thus set in Motion while they are in the Fruit, and receive their first Impression from full ripe or digested Juices in the rotten Fruit, than it must be of Necessity that the Plants rising from such Seeds must immediately come to bearing; while, on the other Hand, such Seeds as are taken from a ripe, or even a rotten Fruit, and that have not sprouted in the Fruit, but receive their first Nourishment from the Juices of the Earth, such Plants will shoot vigorously by the Nourishment of the raw Juices, and the more vigorously they are made to shoot, so much longer Time they will require for the digesting of their Juices, or coming to a Fruit-bearing State; but then it seems reasonable to conjecture, that when the vigorous Growth of a Plant begins with its first Germination, it will be more likely to endure and be lasting, than such a Plant as, at the first setting out, is fed only with fully digested Juices, and comes to bear Fruit before its natural period. But it seems it is not only at Mr. Fairchild's, that this extraordinary accident has happen'd, for I am credibly inform'd, that the same Thing was observ'd in Dr. Monroe's Garden at Greenwich some Years ago.


CybeRose note: Later editions of this work state that Whitmill, rather than Fairchild, raised the seeds. — Benjamin Whitmill, "a curious Gardener of Hoxton."

Thomas Fairchild also lived at Hoxton. He is remembered for 'Fairchild's Mule', a hybrid of the Sweet William (Dianthus superbus) and the Carnation (D. caryophyllus). This was the first man-made hybrid raised in England. Fairchild died in 1667, but it was a good long time before hybridization became a regular practice among gardeneres.

Lunan (1814): Shaddock and Grapefruit in Jamaica