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Seed Selection And Plant Breeding

( Originally Published 1915 )



Educational Importance of Seed Selection.—Perhaps nowhere else can the children be interested more easily than in the selecting of superior garden vegetables. In France, we are told, they have the finest vegetables in the world, and this is so because they practise the most careful seed selection. And strange to say, in France the children are taught to select and prepare the seeds for the garden. With us it is very different. The American gardener sells the superior vegetables, especially the earlier ones, and then he sells to the seed houses the seed from those that were not fit for market. A strange " survival of the fittest" we practise ! This subject of better fruit and better garden vegetables for the farmer's own table has a far-reaching sociological meaning. We shall never make farm life what it should be until we enable the mothers on the farms to have a better time than do mothers in towns and cities. This means that the women on the farms must live in houses with modern conveniences and have plenty of first-class things to cook. More fruit and better garden vegetables (Fig. 5) would stop the longing of many a woman to go to town to live. Enable the mother on the farm to become conscious that she is free from her town sister's nagging worry as to where the next meal is coming from; make her conscious that she lives in a good house; that she has more vegetables, fruit, flowers, sunshine and birds; make her conscious that the growing of vegetables has a far-reaching educational significance and you will increase her desire to " stay on the old farm a while longer." A woman in the country who has these advantages and who is conscious of them will not " be in a hurry to go."

Teachers should remember that both the, psychologists and the sociologists place great emphasis on the importance of the development of forethought. Nothing found in the present school course equals seed selection for the development of forethought. The power of forethought has been said to be the faculty that most clearly differentiates man from the lower animals and civilized man from the lower races.

Seed Selection for Fall or Spring.—Seed selection makes an equally good subject for those who begin the work in September and for those who begin to teach agriculture in the spring, though the hot-bed, the hot-house (Fig. 6), and the school garden are the logically and seasonably correct subjects for' the work in the spring. If seed selection is begun in the spring there may be discussions of where the best seeds are to be obtained and of the work of our seedsmen who up to this time have been our principal plant breeders. Having secured the best seed to be obtained, and having planted it on good ground and by the most approved methods, the teacher may next lead the children to watch the school or home garden. As soon as the first vegetables appear the best should be marked and saved to bear seed. The marking is done by setting a stake on either side of the best appearing radish, lettuce, or whatever the plant may be. This vegetable may be watched through the season, though if it be lettuce, radish, or some other vegetable which matures its seed the first season, all that is necessary to do is to cultivate it with the others, and let it stand to mature seed. But if it be cabbage, beet, carrot, parsnip, turnip or some other plant which does not go to seed the first season, then it must be pulled in the fall, packed in damp sand and kept over winter in a cool place. The next season the root (if cabbage stump or stalk) is to be replanted and let go to seed. The cabbage head may be used and only the stem and roots wintered over.

While doing this work many questions will arise. How to plant, how to cultivate, how best to select and preserve seed, how to fertilize, what is the best kind of soil, and others will be asked. These are good; they come from the instinct of curiosity. They are of most educational value if answers can be put off until the proper time and each answered as answers are needed.

Propagation by Roots and Cutting.—During the fall months there is much to do on the farms, with plants that are propagated from roots and cuttings. Cuttings of grape vines with four buds on each may be placed in the moist ground with the butt or large ends up. It is best to have them slant about forty-five degrees to the earth surface. They should be covered with moist soil and left until spring, when they are to be dug up and stuck in the ground, large end downward, and far enough to have the soil cover the two lower buds. This gives two buds for roots, and two for leaves. Young trees may be taken up in the fall and heeled in for the winter or for early spring planting. Others may be taken up and heeled in moist sand in a box to be stored in some convenient place where it may be gotten at in February or March. It is during the slack times of these months that the grafting (Fig. 7) is done. But before I tell how to graft, I need to tell how to start an apple tree. We must gather the seeds from the apple and plant them in a window box, a hot-bed or hot-house before they become thoroughly dry. We may put them in moist sand and set the box out where the seeds will keep cold until spring and where they will freeze so that the little plant may the easier get out of the hard shell. However, many of the apple seeds will sprout at once if placed in good soil kept well dampened in the window box. One teacher used a chalk box for starting her apple seeds. The apple seed has come from cross-pollination and hence we are not sure just what parents the little tree has, that is, we do not know what kind of apples it will bear. Now to insure its bearing the kind of apples that we want, we graft a limb of some known variety into the stump of the little tree. For this work in grafting it is necessary to know something of the cambium layer. This is the part of the dicotyledonous plant producing growth. We call it parenchyma (paent) tissue. It is from the cambium layer that the fibrovascular bundles develop. These fibrovascular bundles are the sap pipes for the plant. They carry the sap up and down to nourish the different parts or to be mixed with carbon and more thoroughly digested in the leaves. This cambium layer is the white layer just under the bark. It is the part that when watery enough enables us to slip the bark off to make a willow whistle.

When grafting, we must be sure that on one side at least, the cambium of the stock and the scion (branch) just exactly meet.

Then we put on grafting wax to keep out bacteria and the spores of fungous diseases. We cover the wax with cloth or corn-husks to keep it in place until our graft is " set." For fuller directions, see Farmers' Bulletins 113, 157, or 408.

If we grow a peach tree, we plant the seed as we did the apple, but instead of grafting, we bud the peach. This is easier for all that we have to do is to cut off a leaf bud and slip it under the bark of the tree. Of course we must make cambium meet cambium as in the case of the apple graft. We must bind up the wound in some way so as to keep our bacteria and the spores of diseases. After our bud is set and begins to grow, we cut off the little tree above the bud unless we wish it to bear more than one kind of peaches. Then when the proper time comes we must move our little trees from their nurseries to the places where we wish them to stand when grown. This process of moving we call transplanting. Most farmers buy their nursery stock and hence transplanting is for most farmers more important than budding or grafting. It is becoming more and more common to find one of the redirected schools doing the plant-breeding work. These schools are able to have little nurseries in connection with their school gardens and are able to furnish all of the trees that the farmers of the district need to replace trees in their orchards. There are

TEN RULES FOR TRANSPLANTING

1. Make the holes large enough to receive the roots easily.

2. Make the holes deep enough so that the soil will come just above the swelling made by the grafting.

3. Unless you are transplanting forest trees, put a shovel full of well-rotted manure in the bottom of the hole.

4. Take up the little trees with the least possible harm to their roots.

5. Trim off with a sharp knife all mangled and broken roots.

6. Cut off enough of the branches to balance the injured root system.

7. Dip the roots in water before planting. The roots should be kept damp; this may be done by coating them with wet clay soil.

8. If the soil is dry, add water with the soil until the hole is about half full.

9. Pack the dirt solidly around the roots of the little tree. The soil does not need packing at the top.

10. If transplanting in sod or lawn, do not heap the dirt around the tree but instead leave a basin to catch water and avoid danger when mowing.

Pruning is another important subject but I must leave it to be learned from Farmers' Bulletin 181, Sears's " Productive Orcharding," Chapter X, or other books on horticulture. Fig. 9 is a good example of a low-headed, well-pruned tree.

Seed Envelopes and Cards.—During September and October, whether the seed work was begun in the spring or in the fall, the children should be induced to gather the seeds, thoroughly dry them, and then put them away in paper sacks, where mice and insects cannot get at them. Later the children of some of the grades may prepare envelopes for the seeds. The envelopes may be obtained from seed houses, or ordinary correspondence envelopes may be used. On these envelopes the children are to write the name of the plant from which the seed came, variety if known, whether early or late, time of planting, best kind of soil, and as much of how to plant and cultivate as space will permit. These envelopes may be pinned or stapled on to large pieces of stiff pasteboard and used for part of the school exhibits.

Booklets Correlate with Reading, Writing and Spelling.— The pupils should start booklets on plants, plant breeding, seed selection or some special phase of the study. They may be most of the school year making the booklets, but whenever they get a page good enough to keep, they should have a place in which to keep it. The booklets may contain the, history of the plant, its value for food, how to breed it, how to cook and prepare it, and how to keep it. A list of the different varieties grown in that section of the country, with the relative advantages and disadvantages of each, makes splendid booklet material. The booklet work may be done as part of the English, writing, reading or spelling lessons. It should not be done as part of the work in agriculture to the exclusion of the work that deals with things out-of-doors. Covers may be made for the booklets (Fig. 10) as part of the work in drawing. The farm journals, the catalogues of the seed houses, and the nurseries furnish illustrations, pictures, letters for lettering, and valuable suggestions for subject matter. Sometimes it is necessary to use some of the government bulletins for pictures or illustrations; these do not need to be destroyed but copies of the illustrations may be made. This booklet work should make the child feel that there is much he should read. The booklet work should make him desire to write better, to spell more accurately, to acquire a larger and more accurate vocabulary and a better sentence structure. These are necessary to enable him to prepare a booklet of which he may be proud as he sees it in the school exhibit on commencement day, at the fall festival and fairs. A full discussion of booklets and how to make them is given in Chapter XV. The splendid correlation table given for corn, in Chapter XV, outlines the work for each month in the year, both indoor and outdoor.

Where there is an old gardener who is an interesting talker it is often advisable for the teacher to get him to come to the school-house, or, better, take the pupils to his place, and have him give the children a talk on growing some particular vegetable, how to prepare the seed-bed, plant and cultivate, selection and care of seed, or any one of a hundred interesting things for children to learn. His talk, or talks, make valuable material for English lessons and then for a page or two of the pupil's booklet.

Some government bulletin or some good book may be brought from the library and one of the brighter or more interested pupils allowed to read what it has to say on the particular plant under discussion, and then this pupil may report to the class or the school, and here again we have material for composition lessons and perhaps another page or so for the booklets. The child may talk of these discussions at home, and from that some parent may want to see the bulletin or booklet and thus home and school are drawn closer together and a little child is leading them.

Correlate the Work with Geography and Botany.—When the history of the plant is being looked up, for a page in the book-let, the teacher should not miss the opportunity to have the pupil apply some of his work in geography. If he has learned to use maps, he will easily be able to point out on the map the place where the plant originated and, if he is deficient in this ability to use maps, here is his opportunity to become somewhat more proficient. If the teacher has studied botany or is willing to look the subject up, she may do some valuable work in classification of roots, underground stems, tubers, and so on. Children should learn to call things by their right names. Then, too, the flowers, the parts of the flowers and their right names may be taught to children of the lower grades. The teacher should use the names and teach the children to call the outer row of green leaves, or scales, bract or calyx, as the case may be. The colored row should be called corolla if it is the corolla. The stamens and pistil and their parts—anther, filament, style and stigma—should all be called by their right names. The characteristics and names of six or ten of the leading families should be learned by pupils before they reach the high school. They should learn to name and recognize the representative members of these families. Farmers frequently listen to lectures from which they derive much more benefit if they have some knowledge of how plants are classified. Rotation of crops should re-quire a change of plant families. Corn, wheat and oats are members of the grass family (Graminece) and, while a succession of these three crops may enable the farmer to handle his labor and soil to better advantage, yet there is no benefit from a succession of the different members of the grass family to be compared with the benefit which a farmer gets if he follows members of the grass family by members of the pea, or Leguminosce family. The rose, the Unibelliferoe (carrot), the Cruciferoe, and the Compositoe, the nightshade or Solanaceoe families are families with which a farmer has much to do.

Species and Creationism.—Then, too, life will mean more and when the boy becomes a man he may the better cooperate with the forces of nature if his school has put him into possession of the accumulated knowledge of the ages as to how his plants and animals came to be what they are. The first botanists had little idea of evolution and hence tried to classify plants on the theory that species of both plants and animals were created separately and were distinct from the beginning. Linnaeus voices the belief of his age and of former ages, when he gives us his now famous sentence, " We reckon so many species as there were distinct forms created in the beginning." In 1691, Camerarius discovered the fact that plants have sex, and in 1719; Thomas Fairchild, an English gardener, produced the first recorded hybrid. During these years and the following years, men worked out elaborate systems of classifications for the plants, on the theory of special creations. They reasoned that since plants were created distinct, therefore we may classify them into species the pollen of which will not fertilize or at least will not enable the plant to mature seed which will grow. Hence species theoretically stands for plants which we cannot hybridize. But as was to be expected, the early botanists made many mistakes, and hence the term " species " helps us little in determining what will and what will not hybridize.

In the beginning of the nineteenth century, Lamark advanced the theory that living things have descended from a common ancestor. He assumed that the influence of the environment was able to change the characteristics of plants and animals. His evidence was not sufficient to enable Lamark to convince the people of his day and hence the theory of special creations or Creationism, was very generally held until 1859, when Charles Darwin published his " Origin of Species."

Evolution and the Origin of Species„ Darwin's evidence for proving evolution was so abundant and his handling of it was so masterful that it has remained unshaken. His being the last " in the line " enabled him to receive more popular credit than he deserved, so far as the discovery of the theory of a common descent is concerned. Darwin proved that the origin of species in the past was the same as the origin of new varieties in the present. Of course men objected on the ground that we do not observe actual, specific changes of species. To meet this objection, Darwin advanced the theory that the changes are so slight that we fail at any given time to notice them. But they are accumulative, and hence in ages they become very notice-able. But to this physicists and astronomers objected on the ground that the time for the creation of our varied plant and animal life would be too long. Lord Kelvin and others by figuring on the radiation of heat from the earth, on the deposits of calcareous rocks, on the amount of salt in the sea, etc., were led to object that the time for the evolution of all species from a common ancestor by the slight changes assumed by Darwin was entirely too short. But though there were objections to Darwin's explanations, still his theory of a common descent had come to stay. To-day the leading scientists believe that. Then, too, Darwin did much to establish and explain variation. He found some variations for which he could not account and he called such " sports." He gave us the phrase " natural selection," to which Spencer added " survival of the fittest," both very useful intellectual tools for the husbandman. And Darwin made it necessary for us to reclassify our plants if not to discover a better explanation for the way one species comes from another.

Darwin also gave us a new scientific age in which we demand " sufficient evidence." This means that we ask the scientist to give us a cause big enough to produce the result which he claims for it. Darwin did much to bring that happy day when people in the country may live in the " certainty of science." Country people are more dependent upon nature than are town people and hence country people should know more of life and death, of lightning and wind, and of how things come about. Much of the unhappiness in the country comes from superstition. For superstition we must substitute the " certainty of science " or the demand for sufficient evidence. Then, too, the farmer is ever working with variations, natural selection and artificial selection, and he is trying to secure the survival of the fittest. But, thankful as the farmer should be to Darwin for the ideas and the phrases and evidence for common descent, survival of the fittest, natural selection, and the age that demands sufficient evidence, he has a right to demand of his school—especially of his high school—that it put him into possession of a better explanation for much of the phenomena which he observes around him.

Variation and the Constancy of Species.—The leading scientists of today, especially the plant breeders, are at a loss to find illustrations of variations in the direction of evolution. They find that plants are changed by dropping something, such as part of their color, or the width, length, or texture of an organ. But this is apt to be reversion instead of progression. The plant breeders who have been dealing with thousands upon thousands of plants have very generally come to believe that species may, like individuals, have their birth, lifetime and death, that the struggle is between species and hence plants become extinct by species and not by individuals. This belief is strengthened by the discoveries of the old beloved teacher of mathematics, Gregory Mendel.

Mendelism.—Mendel was monk and abbot of the monastery at Briinn. Ile bred and crossed peas and carefully tabulated results, and from his work in his little garden we have some of the most helpful facts made known in modem times. Mendel found order in nature. He found certainty where others could see nothing but uncertainty and disorder. He found mathematical order in heredity. After eight years' work he published his observations in the Proceedings of the Natural History Society of Briinn. But his account of his experiments attracted very little attention until rediscovered in 1890 by Hugo DeVries and others.

Mendel gave us the laws of heredity. By use of Mendel's laws, we learn that we get from a plant just what we put into it. Some of the scientists are led to believe that there is no variation at all but just possibilities of different combinations of factors.

To describe Mendelism, terms similar to those used by the chemist were necessary and hence the terms unit-characteristics and factors were coined. By unit-characters we mean certain parts of plants or animals which are inherited as units ; for ex-ample, color, form, size, horns, hairs, open or closed fibrovascular bundles, bark, shape of leaf, etc.

One of the corn club boys made very good use of his knowledge of unit-characters. He knew that others had had difficulty in trying to get high protein corn to yield heavily. But he noticed that some ears have kernels which when in test give three to five rootlets of equal size while others give one large one and few if any smaller ones. From this he reasoned that by using his high protein corn and selecting for heavy rooters, he might get better yields. He won a trip to Washington over his competitors.

But the scientists soon discovered the fact that unit-characters are too complex. They resemble the compounds or molecules of the chemist. Breeders need a word that denominates the phenomena reduced to its simplest terms, and for that they adopted the name factors. Color, for example, may be yellow, red, blue, green or a combination. Hence in plant breeding we may be dealing with the yellow or the red only, and instead of calling it a unit-character we call it a factor.

Heredity.—What order did Mendel find? Others had noticed that the young resemble the parents and hence there is heredity. They had noticed that no two plants, parts of the plant or animal are alike and hence there is variation. Others had noticed that this is most certainly true where there are two parents, and not one as in plants which multiply by division such as the bacteria and some of the algae.

But Mendel discovered that the ratio of the young that resemble either parent is as three to one. He noticed that where some things come together, as black and white, the black is apt to hide the white, and hence he called the black dominant and the white recessive.

If we cross two hybrid black and white seeds or animals, what do we get ? If we try the experiment often enough, we are sure to average a three to one ratio, that is, we get:

1 black, plus 2 mixed, plus 1 white.

If we use one characteristic such as color with two factors, such as white and black, we have four possibilities. If we use two characteristics such as color and size with two factors each, such as black and white with large and small, we have the dihybrid (3 + 1)2 or sixteen possibilities. If we use three characteristics with two factors each we have the trihybrid (3 + 1)3 or sixty-four possibilities, and if we use ten characteristics we have (3 + 1)1° or 1,048,576 possibilities. These are sufficient to show that by using nothing but different combinations of the factors of the characteristics of the parents we are able to get a wonderfully varied plant and animal life. But we get them with the certainty of mathematics. " Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap."

These discoveries, made by men who were trying to work out and explain the Mendelian experiments, help to confirm the belief that species are fixed, have their birth, life and death as naturally as individuals. Plant breeders were unable to get results by following the theory of the slow variations of Darwin.

Nilsson says of his work at Svalof in Sweden : " Rigorous selection pursued for five years had produced only a relative uniformity; we could not show a single new and constant variety-character. And most of all, it was evident that our selected varieties, left to themselves for a year or two, unquestionably fell back to the condition of a mixture of the original varieties.

" Evidently we were unable to produce what the Swedish farmers wanted—better varieties, which would be constant. It was obvious that we must find a new method."

DeVries and the Mutation Theory.—Not only among the plant breeders was it necessary to get a new method, but among the scientists it was necessary to have a better explanation of what plants do in heredity. This led Hugo DeVries of Holland to announce his now famous Mutation Theory. By this we are taught that while it is true that most plants produce young that obey the Mendelian ratios, yet at irregular intervals and for reasons as yet unexplained some plants give off variations which do not obey the Mendelian laws—variations or sports, as Darwin called them, which are not to be explained by a combination of the factors of the parents. Now if these sports be prepotentthat is, if they have the power to hand on to their young and their young's young their peculiar variation—we have what DeVries calls a mutant. This means a sudden creation of a new species. This does not contradict Darwin's common descent of species, but it offers a better explanation of how new species arise.

Mutation and Plant Breeding.—The mutation theory gave a new impetus and a new method for plant breeding. With this theory a man is to deal with individual plants. He is to watch for new species or mutations and then, as in nature, there is to be a struggle among species to win his favor. It was the use of this new theory and the new method growing out of it that enabled Nilsson to become Europe's leading breeder of agricultural plants. Says Nilsson : " It is a fact well authenticated at Svalof that mutations appear from time to time in our cultivated plants. Furthermore, we have found that spontaneous fecundation is much commoner than we had supposed."

Some Examples of Mutants.—Many illustrations could be given of what are believed to be mutants. The Concord grape came from a seedling of one of the wild grapes of New England, and from the Concord have come the Worden, Moor's Early, Pocklington, Rockland and others. Nectarines and apricots appear to have mutated from peaches and plums respectively. Other mutants are : The Hubbard squash, the Morgan horse (Fig. 29), DeVries' primroses, Swedish wheats (Extra Square-head and Sol), oats (Klock II and Seger), barley (Chevalier II, Princess and Gull), peas (Concordia), and many American grains and fruits. But the reader needs to be cautioned that there is a group of scientists who do not believe in mutations and they claim that these are hybrids. We lack analysis of their parents and histories of their ancestors so that we cannot prove for a certainty that these are mutations. However, the theory of mutations sets us to watch for the exceptional individuals. This theory also has led the breeders to use single plants and their progeny for their breeding experiments, and from this use of individuals we have some very valuable grains and fruits.

It is my belief that mutants are appearing in the farmers' fields and yards much oftener than we are aware of. Mutants in plants and domestic animals are of value only as we are able to recognize them and perpetuate them. Left to themselves, mutants soon mix with others and are lost to us forever. We need a generation of young people put into possession of the scientists' contribution to civilization so that we may carry on the work where our parents leave off.

" It is no stretch of the imagination," says Dean Davenport, " nor is it a chimerical dream to say that the students of our better schools, aided by their teachers, can, if they will, do more to further improve many of our cultivated plants than can the farmers themselves. They have the time and can acquire the skill—things which are difficult to secure to the man who is busy in active commercial life."

Possibilities of Plant Breeding.—It should be the aim of agriculture in the public schools to develop and inspire a practical plant breeder for every community. Wonderful things have been accomplished in plant breeding and more wonderful things seem just ahead of us. Napoleon had his men breed the sugar beet, and in a very few years they bred it from a watery garden vegetable with 3 per cent of sugar in it to the commercial beet containing 16 per cent of sugar. It is reported that the Experiment Station of South Dakota has a beet with 29 per cent of sugar. Porto Rico exports $25,000,000 worth of sugar from cane averaging 11 per cent of sucrose. The United States Experiment Station in Porto Rico, by crossing the native cane with a British West India cane, succeeded in getting a cane that averages 21 per cent of sucrose. Man has bred the apple from the little, puckery, gnarled crab to the almost numberless shapes, colors and luscious fruits found in our orchards. Ile has bred the seed from the grape and the orange, and created a new fruit, called the grape-fruit. Luther Burbank, whose biography every country boy should read, has proven that we may breed the thorns from the blackberry, the rose and the cactus. Mendel, the Austrian monk, proved that we can find in plant breeding mathematical order of which most cultured people never dreamed. Professor Hayes, of Minnesota, raised the protein content of barley, and Professor Hopkins, of the University of Illinois, raised and lowered the chemical contents of corn almost at will. Professor Thomas Hunt, in that most valuable book for the farmer boy to read, " The Cereals in America," quotes Burbank as follows : " The vast possibilities of plant breeding can hardly be estimated. It would not be difficult for one man to breed a new rye, wheat, barley, oats or rice which would produce one grain more to each head, or a corn which would produce an extra kernel to each ear, another potato on each plant, or an apple, plum, orange or nut to each tree. What would be the result? In five staples only in the United States alone the inexhaustible forces of nature would produce annually without effort and without cost :

5,200,000 extra bushels of corn.
15,000,000 extra bushels of wheat.
20,000,000 extra bushels of oats.
1,500,000 extra bushels of barley.
21,000,000 extra bushels of potatoes.

" But such vast possibilities are not alone for one year, or for one time or race, but are beneficent legacies for every man, woman, or child who shall ever inhabit the earth. And who can estimate the elevating and refining influence and moral value of flowers, with all of their graceful forms and bewitching shades and combinations for color and exquisitely varied perfumes? These silent influences are unconsciously felt even by those who do not appreciate them consciously."

Man may by care and cultivation make plants mature better seeds and fruits temporarily, but, by breeding, new plants may be created which will produce better always, in all places, and for all time to come.

Heredity is a force that works without expense. The farmer who lacks the skill or time and talent for plant breeding can afford to pay good prices for well-bred seeds. We need as a national ideal, instead of an old age of idleness as a retired farmer in town, an old age of helpfulness in breeding for his fellow-man" richer grains, better fruits, and fairer flowers."

Plants lend themselves more readily to breeding experiments than do animals; for greater numbers of individuals may be produced at small cost, we may propagate or multiply the superior ones more readily, and in many instances, when we once get a superior kind, we can increase the number by stem propagation with little, if any, tendency to variation. One who is a master of the Mendelian laws may propagate from seeds with little danger of undesirable variation.

Plant Breeding Psychological.—Then, too, the plant breeding is the psychologically correct place to begin agricultural study for it enables us to commence with something that the child can comprehend, and thus we may obey the law of apperception. Plant breeding enables the child to do something and to acquire something worth while, and thus it appeals to deep and lasting instincts of activity, acquisitiveness, imitation, and manipulation. It also enables us to bring into function the child's desire to get something more useful or more beautiful, and it appeals powerfully to curiosity and self-expression. Best of all, plant breeding enables us to give country people, both old and young, something to live for. Country boys and girls frequently lack ideals and purpose ; plant breeding offers both. But we must not overlook the purely scientific side of plant breeding. The secrets of the universe are being drawn from nature to-day by the men who are in the plant-breeding work. Mendelism, the origin of sex, the possibilities of mutation, the cause of variation, and God's order for growing things are all to be found in the possibilities of plant breeding.

Name Improved Varieties.—Local pride may beinculcated by having pupils name superior varieties should any occur. We need more farmers who, like Washington, put their names or the name of the farm or variety on the sack or box. " Made in Germany " is a label that is adding money to the pockets of the German people. Why may not " Grown in Pennsylvania, Iowa, Wisconsin or Minnesota " be made to add to the value of the products of the people of states using such labels ? This should be especially true of the products of farmers whose children have attended one of the redirected schools. Town people will readily give more for superior vegetables or fruit if they have a way of knowing that the product is really superior.

Set Standards High.—" God takes three months to make a pumpkin but Re takes one hundred years to make an oak." So it is in life—good things come slowly. It is a great thing for a teacher to set the standard as high as she is able to get her people to respond to. The Ohio farmers set their standard for their registered corn to the requirement that an ear be of known parentage and rank not less than fourth for yield, protein or whatever characteristic is claimed for it, and rank so in competition with not less than twenty-five other ears in row tests. The boys in the Evergreen Corn Club in Iowa took their scrub corn to a state show. This was before they learned what good corn is. Their corn looked so scrubby in comparison with the better corn at Ames, that for the first show the boys did not open their boxes. But one of them bought good corn for seed. They went home and they studied corn and they planted and cultivated their best. In three years they had to hire a railroad car to carry home the prizes which they won, and for the next few years they won practically every time. If a boy or man could be induced to take five years to produce a new corn, oats, potato or what not, and if he were wise enough to judge what is wanted, and then if he had the executive ability to get results, he could ask a high price and yet get buyers for all that he could produce. Some people make the bad blunder of advertising their product before they have multiplied it often enough. One man began too early to advertise an improved alfalfa with the result that he could not fill a tenth of his orders. Some man who under-stood what business really is was able in a year or so to fill the orders that should have gone to the plant breeder.

Begin Plant Breeding with the Best.—It costs too much of human time and labor, and it costs too much of human life from the disheartening feelings at seed time, to allow land to be planted with inferior seed. The first step in improving our crops—whether vegetables, fruit, grains (as corn, rye, oats, wheat), grasses or potatoes and, for convenience, we may include cotton and tobacco—is to find what varieties are best for the district or section where the school is located. This does not mean that the teacher must necessarily confine her pupils to any one or two varieties. The work may easily become too burden-some if there are too many varieties on the school plots, but if the pupils take up the work as home-project undertakings, then each may, after careful study as to which is best, select the one he and his parents decide is best. It will be time and energy wasted to start with inferior varieties ; none but the best should be selected. Our Boys' and Girls' Club motto is, " To make the better best and the best better."

The State Experiment Stations carry on many experiments to determine the relative value (Fig. 13) of the different varieties of grains and vegetables. Hence, if the teacher wishes to know which are the best varieties for her locality, she may write to the experiment station for the information, or she may talk with some of the leading farmers of her district. At this point she should remind the pupils of DeCondolle's law that plants should not be moved more than one degree north or south at any given time unless we wish to change their character. Webber has found that if climbing or twining beans or viny peas are trans-planted from a southern to a northern climate, or from a lower to a higher altitude, they tend to produce dwarf types which show little tendency to twine. Corn from Kansas, if planted in Iowa, seems to grow larger stalks and smaller ears. Farmers of Pennsylvania take advantage of these well-known phenomena and buy their seed for silo corn from the south, near Richmond, Va.

County Farms as Experiment Stations.—In many places the county farm is used to determine the relative yielding tendencies of different crops. In Iowa, for example, Professor Holden had his helpers go over the county and get little paper sacks of seed corn from different farmers' planter boxes. This corn from each farmer was planted in a row on the county farm. The same was done with oats and wheat. When the crops were ready, the farmers came to the farm for a fall picnic, and there were able to see the relative yielding power of their seeds compared with that of others. One man found that his corn yielded thirty bushels to the acre, planted. side by side with that of a neighbor, whose crop yielded at the rate of seventy bushels to the acre. This work alone has enabled teachers to enrich their districts a number of times over the cost of running the schools. Page County, Iowa, where Miss Jessie Field introduced this work, sells over a million dollars of seed corn each year. Wright County, Iowa, where Mr. O. H. Benson while county superintendent introduced similar work and where the Evergreen Corn Club boys live, also receives many thousands of dollars for pure bred seed corn and other grains. There will be few with forethought enough to appreciate the value of the work at first, but, as Shakespeare says, " There be one or two whose good opinion outweighs the hundred." Then, too, teachers of intellect and foresight must get their approval for what they undertake largely from within their own consciousness.



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