The Gardener's Magazine 8: 196 (April, 1832)

39. On the Germination of Seeds.

M. Otto states that he uses oxalic acid to make old seeds germinate. The seeds are put into a bottle filled with oxalic acid, and remain there till the germination is observable, which generally takes place in from twenty-four to forty-eight hours, when the seeds are taken out, and sown in the usual manner. Another way is to wet a woollen cloth with oxalic acid, on which the seeds are put, and it is then folded up and kept in a stove; by this method small and hard seeds will germinate equally as well as in the bottle. Also very small seeds are sown in pots, and placed in a hotbed; and oxalic acid, much diluted, is applied twice or thrice a day till they begin to grow. Particular care must be taken to remove the seeds out of the acid as soon as the least vegetation is observable.

M. Otto found that by this means seeds which were from 20 to 40 years old grew, while the same sort sown in the usual manner did not grow at all.