This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V21", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
From T. S. Gold, Secretary. This volume is full of interesting matter. Professor Brewer discusses " the varieties of cultivated plants." He shows the differences between varieties and species, and how the former may be produced to the improvement of our fruits and vegetables. Prof. D. C. Eaton has a similiar paper on " hybrids and hybridism." The distinguished botanist speaks as if it has been actually proved that the cucumber and melon hybridize when growing near each other, and the whole discussion in which numerous speakers evidently well informed, engaged, was conspicuous for assumptions without anyone evidently having experimented on these simple things. They expressed unbounded faith in wonderful results, with but the slightest possible modicum of works to prove them. Fortunately the very practical address of Mr. J. J. H. Gregory in "vegetable" seed raising comes to our relief, and he tells from his own experience that the crossing of the Cucurbitaceae is not after this wild fashiou; not only will cucumbers not mix easily with melons, but even closely allied varieties do not trouble themselves much with the affairs of their neighbors.
Mr. G., says that "crooked-necked squashes, Yoko-homa excepted, will not cross with any other variety, and water melons will not cross with musk melons." Mr. Gregory showed that while some closely related varieties as corn and so forth, mix easily when side by side, this was not true of distinct species. Professor Brewer also gave an able address on "the causes which affect the vitality of seeds." He shows that very few seeds will retain vitality over fifty years, and the stories of wonderful vitality he concludes, as the readers of the Gardeners' Monthly have already been told, are fabulous. The main point he brought out is that though some seeds may keep many years, in all cases there is a deterioration of the vital principle according to age. Besides these addresses of horticultural interest, there is much valuable agricultural information.