This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
I have had many inquiries concerning the treatment of pear seed, several complaining that notwithstanding the good quality of our seed, it did not come up the first year, necessitating two years' care and labor, leaving all the while the seed exposed to the depredations of insects, and at the same time making it very difficult to keep the ground clear of weeds. I will venture to give a few hints on the subjects Pear seed sown in the fall will not fail to grow in spring if of good quality; but there are many objections to sowing it at that time, the chief one being the difficulty of getting fresh seed soon enough, therefore the best method is the following: Get the seed at any time in April, wash it well in three or four waters, rubbing it between the hands in order to wash out the mucilage that sticks to the seed and makes a waterproof envelope to it; then mix up your seed with fine gravel or sand, put in boxes, and place them in a cellar until the time of sowing, which must be done as early as possible in order to obtain fine and large stocks; the sand in the boxes should be soaked through with water once, which is enough. We bore some holes in the bottom to let out excess of water.
If you get your seed late, and only at sowing time, wash it as above, then sow it - it will come up, even if sown so late as the 15th of May.
Pig. 55. - First Floor.
Fig. 56. - Second Floor.
To this good advice for preparing pear seed I will only add, I have once or twice practiced swelling my seeds a little more rapidly than they would otherwise, by placing the shallow boxes in a spent hotbed for a short time, just before sowing, and that when I sow I take care to have the ground plowed several times, to warm it; and especially do I have it plowed afresh just when planting the seed.