"F.," Cincinnati, O., writes: " I am glad that you give a hit now and then at poor seeds. It is quite common to hear that old seeds are as good as new, and this is the excuse given for selling them. I had a good chance to test them this year. I wanted to sow quite a quantity of Osage orange. The season was a little late, and on inquiry at a well-known seed store, whose advertisement I saw in the Monthly, I received for answer that the quantity asked for could not be supplied of last year's crop, but that a little was left on hand of the season before, and of the season before that; but the firm believed that seed several years old was as good to grow as seed wholly new. I was pleased with the honesty that did not mix old seeds with new, and ordered. I sowed them all separately, and now for the results: The seed of last year grew nicely; nothing could be more satisfactory. The seed two years old did not get above ground till two weeks after the other, and there are but one-half the quantity of plants from the same quantity of seed.

The seed three years old did not grow at all! My experience is that old seed is not as good as new.

[This is a very interesting note, as we did not know before that when older seed did grow it took longer to sprout. We take this as an evidence of low vital power, though the seed is still alive. - Ed. G. M].

Many seeds are enclosed in a shell or outer covering that becomes harder and harder as the age increases. The germ may retain its original vitality for many years, but in proportion as there is more or less difficulty in breaking the shell, the growth at first will be more or less feeble. The older the seed the nearer the surface it should be planted, as, if planted deep, the effort to break the shell and the additional effort to get through the soil will exhaust the strength of the young plant to such a degree as to unfit it to contend with the elements above the surface. That is the reason why many flower seeds are sown only on the surface. Before sowing Osage orange seed of any age, it is best to start it by mixing with sand wet with warm water, and keep it in a warm place until the germ breaks through the shell.

The manner of saving seeds and the atmospheric conditions that prevail at the time, has much to do with the after growth. The shell of new seeds is sometimes as hard as seeds two or three years old, and the latter may germinate quicker than the former. I have known of a fine crop of Ruta-bagas produced from seed nine years old, Osage orange seed five years old, grow comparatively free, and fresh seed of the same not grow at all. There is no radical rule or guide to determine what will grow. Fresh seeds are more likely to grow than older seeds, but do not always. In the case of cucumber, squash, melon, etc., gardeners prefer to sow older seeds, for the reason that the growth of vine is not so vigorous and the fruit likely to be better than from new seed. Any one who has had much to do with the growing or testing of seeds must come to the conclusion that "there is a Divinity that shapes our ends, rough hew them as we may." Philadelphia.

[The above is from the pen of one who has had a wide range of experience on the subject of which it treats. If any additional force could be given to it, it might be noted that those who are experts in raising rare tree or flower seeds, and have only a few choice ones at hand, usually file or cut through with a sharp knife the shells before sowing. Seeds of Victoria regia are rarely successful unless treated in this way. - Ed. G. M].

I have often observed the difference in time required for new and old seeds to vegetate, and in one instance made quite a fair success with old onion seed by scalding it, or perhaps I should say pouring hot water on it, before planting.