This section is from the book "Commercial Gardening Vol1", by John Weathers (the Editor). Also available from Amazon: Commercial Gardening, A Practical & Scientific Treatise For Market Gardeners.
This branch of commercial gardening has assumed immense proportions of late years. In various parts of the kingdom firms have established trial grounds where their seeds are not only saved, but where new varieties likely to have a ready sale are also tested and proved before being placed upon the market. This work necessitates great care and cultural skill; and expensive machinery, driven by steam or the more modern electricity, is used to cleanse the seeds from impurities of every sort. Large warehouses have to be built to accommodate the stocks, not only of home-saved seed, but also of that imported from sunnier climes than our own. To give some idea as to the trade done in seeds it is only necessary to state that one firm alone sells each year about 50,000 bus. of culinary Peas; 51,000 bus. of root-crop seeds; 6500 bus. of Beans; 41 tons of seeds of the various Cabbage crops; 1300 bus. of Radish seeds; 25 tons of Beet seed; 1400 bus. of Spinach seed; 10 tons of Onion seed; 17 tons of Carrot seed; 220 bus. of Parsley seed; 10 tons of Parsnip seed; 15 tons of Sweet Pea seed; 14 tons of Nasturtium (Tropseolum) seed; and 3 tons of Mignonette seed. Seeds of annuals, biennials, and perennials of all kinds are sold in large quantities year after year, and are retailed in packets costing from 1d. upwards.