Garden and Forest. 3(126): 355 (July 23, 1890)
Unripe Seeds
E. Lewis Sturtevant
South Framingham, Mass.

AT this season of the year it may be desirable to call attention to some past work done at the New York Agricultural Experiment Station, which seems to have been strangely overlooked, important as it may be in furnishing clues and suggestions toward a method of attaining earliness and other changes in our cultivated vegetables. Last summer Professor Arthur, of Purdue University, gave me an oral account of the great success attained in earliness from the use of Tomato seed from the strain originated at Geneva from unripe seed, a strain for which we had many applications from practical growers; and perhaps Professor Goff may be induced to give to the public the results of his continuous work in this field.

In 1883 it was found that Flint Corn, Sweet Corn and Dent Corn, harvested before glazing, germinated freely, and that Peas planted while at the edible stage vegetated freely. (Report of 1883, 39.)

In 1884 ripe and unripe seeds of the Early Dutch Turnip were planted. Fifteen roots from the green seeds weighed on the average four and a half ounces each; thirty-four roots from the ripe seed averaged six ounces each. (Report of 1884, 199.)

Very green seeds of Cook's Favorite Tomato yielded ripe fruit in 126 days from planting; ripe seed yielded ripe fruit in 146 days from planting. The first ten ripe fruits were gathered in 137 days from the green-seed plants; in 152 days from the ripest-seed plants. For additional particulars the reference may be consulted. (Report of 1884, 224.)

Trials were made with three varieties of Peas. The first pods were ripe in the Blue Peter in sixty-eight days from both the ripe and unripe seed; in the case of the Eugenia in seventy-seven days from ripe seed, in seventy-two days from green seed; in the case of William the First in sixty-five days from the ripe seed, in eighty-four days from green seed. The number of pods per 100 plants varied from 629 to 467 between the plants of Blue Peter from ripe and those from green seed; from 706 to 677 for the Eugenia; from 300 to 1,600 for William the First. (Report of 1884, 232.)

In 1885 green seed gave heads of Danish Drumhead Cabbage ninety-seven ounces in weight; ripe seed seventy-five ounces. (Report of 1885, 154.) In Lettuce no difference was observed between green and ripe seed.

In the Tomato, a gain for the first ten fruits of a week was noted in favor of immature seed, in one case, and with another variety unripe seed produced fruit considerably earlier.

These references should be enough to turn attention to the experiments. The best results were with the Tomato. Here a gain of fifteen or twenty days in earliness was obtained, and this gain, as Professor Arthur tells me, has been maintained to date. A weakness in the plants has been a serious drawback, and while green seed seemed unfitted for immediate use by the grower, yet it is by no means certain but that this feebleness may be trained out by the experimenter. The trials were too few to attain certainty, but the great value to marketmen of an early strain of seed ought to encourage further tests. Why should not our experiment stations enter upon this interesting and promising inqui