This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V22", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
B. J. K., San Fransisco, Cal., says: "I send you enclosed a newspaper slip, by which you see that a legal discussion is going on as to the damage to be borne by reason of dodder appearing among a crop of Luzerne, as I find the Alfalfa is called here. It is contended that there was no dodder before; that it must have come with the Alfalfa seed, and that the seller of the seed must pay all damages. What is the law in the Eastern States?" There is no law, but the whims of juries. Once we remember a suit was brought against Mr. H. A. Dreer, for selling cabbage seed that would not head. In the Spring they all ran to seed. But it happened that it was shown that these early cabbage seed had been sown early in September, and kept rather warm during Winter, and that the same seed sown in a hot bed in Spring, and set out, headed well enough. Only for this, the jury would probably have unjustly mulcted Mr. Dreer in damages. But this decision shows that the seedsman is responsible for the kind of seeds he sells. But as to the dodder ques-tionwe cannot say. A man sells a dog, and a customer finds fleas on the animal, - just as the seeds have some parasites among them. We don't know how a jury would decide.
One thing is certain, it is to a seedsman's interest to be particularly careful to have pure seeds, and true to name, or he will soon lose trade; and it is to the customer's interest to buy of those who have a reputation for care and a conscience. This is better than guessing at the risk of a law suit.