The Working Farmer 3(4): 77 (June 1, 1851)

Soaking Seeds Before Planting

The custom—which now pretty generally prevails—of soaking seed before planting, I regard as highly advantageous, and would recommend to those who do not do so, to try the experiment. It hastens the germination of the seed; or rather that germination takes place much sooner after the seed is committed to the earth, because the process of imbibing moisture sufficient to begin the action of germination has already been performed.—LEONARD. [Rural New Yorker.

If "Leonard" will add carbonate of ammonia to the water in which he soaks his seed, he will find that in addition to supplying the necessary moisture to accelerate germination, he has also given a supply of nitrogen, which will supply the germ until its arrangement of leaves will enable it to get further quantities from the atmosphere, by the assistance of dews, rains, &c. Seeds in early germination take carbonic acid from the soil alone, having no leaves to receive it from the atmosphere; and the presence of ammonia accelerates the absorption of carbonic acid. Mr. Jas. Campbell, of Weston, has steeped his corn and other seeds in a solution of carbonate of ammonia before planting, for many seasons, and has become convinced that he not only hastens the germination and more early perfect development, but that seed so treated will give a larger and better crop than if planted without first being soaked— all other circumstances and conditions being equal.—[ED.