Dry commercial seeds of the apple and pear are soaked at the North about twelve hours, just prior to a night of low temperature, during the latter part of winter. The water is then drained off, the seeds mixed with sand and placed outside in shallow boxes to freeze solidly. While frozen the boxes are placed on the north side of a building and covered with straw to hold the frost as long as possible. Early in spring they are planted without separating from the sand.
At the South the dry seed is soaked for a longer period, with frequent changes of water to prevent fermentation, and they are kept moist until they are planted. But the writer's observation has favored the belief that this plan does not give as perfect a stand as the one of soaking and freezing practised at the North.
The dry small-fruit seed is soaked about the time of planting until most of the seeds change color with frequent changes of water. Some garden-seeds, such as onion and parsnip, are usually soaked before planting to hasten germination, giving less trouble in weeding. But all small seeds - and indeed all seeds - when soaked must be planted in moist earth. When the surface is dry, if the seeds come in contact with dry earth they will dry up and usually fail to germinate.
Hard, bony seed, such as honey locust, black locust, Kentucky coffee-tree, and canna, when dry and hard will endure soaking in scalding-hot water without injury if not placed on the stove. When ready to plant they will swell perceptibly and change to a lighter color. The swelled seeds can be sifted out and the dark ones can be re-scalded. Seeds treated in this way must be planted at once in moist earth. In place of scalding, water is often introduced beneath the dry shell of canna and moonflower by filing or boring the hard covering.