Sunday, October 09, 2011

Storing and Saving Seeds

    To keep seeds is to prevent germination and at the same time to preserve the life of the seed.
    Seeds should be thoroughly ripe and dry before they are stored. Those of pulpy fruits are removed and cleaned. If the seed-vessels are dry and hard, seeds may be left in them till sowing time, but usually they are removed.
    Hard seeds, as of trees and nuts, may be buried. Most seeds, however, are stored dry in paper bags or boxes in a cool dry room. The receptacles should be tight to keep out weevils; if there are any signs of bug work, a little bisulfide of carbon may be poured in the receptacle, and the vapor of it will destroy animal life. This material is inflammable, and it should be kept away from flames.
If seeds at storing time are moist and the weather is damp, they may be lightly kiln-dried before put away for winter. Rarely are dry seeds injured by freezing. Seedsmen sometimes keep large and more or less fleshy seeds, as musas, in fine dry sawdust, chaff or other material that will insure equable conditions and prevent too great desiccation. -L.H. Bailey, The Nursery Manual, 1920
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Saturday, October 01, 2011

Pumpkins and Squashes-What's the Difference?

Image via Wikipedia    G. W. C. B., Baltimore, Maryland, writes: "In some sections of country pumpkins, or at least such as are recognized as such in other sections are called squashes and then again in other sections this order of recognition is exactly reversed. Will you please define the difference between pumpkins and squashes, so we novices can make the distinction also."
    We submitted your inquiry to Prof. L. H. Bailey of Cornell University, who kindly replies as follows:

It is impossible to give any distinctions between pumpkins and squashes because the vernacular names are used very indiscriminately. Ordinarily, what people in Europe call pumpkins are what we call squashes. Perhaps I can best answer by saying that there are three types of pumpkin-like plants which we grow. One type is characterized by a soft, round stem to the fruit, and to this type belong the true squashes, like the Hubbard, Boston Marrow, Turban, Mammoth Chili, and the like. This species is Cucurbita maxima. Another type is characterized by a very hard and deep-five-cornered stem, and this includes the true field pumpkins which are used so much for stock and for pies. To this type also belong the summer bush squashes like the Crookneck, and scallop varieties. This type is Cucurbita Pepo. This third type is characterized by a rather firm, cylindrical stem which has a large expansion where it joins the fruit and it includes the Cushaw, Canada Crookneck and Japan Crookneck types. This type is Cucurbita moschata. -L. H. Bailey (From "Gardening, Vol. IV, 1896)