I asked my wife, Ruth, what memories she had of the first signs of spring. She grew up on a farm, as I did. She told me that about this time of the year, in mid-March, her dad would find a large glass jar, and an old woolen sock. Then he located the sack of corn seeds he had saved from the previous fall harvest and counted out 50 kernels.
He’d moisten the sock, and then place the kernels on the sock, rolling the sock as he did this. With the kernels all rolled up in the sock, he put the sock in the jar, screwed tight the lid and put the jar in a warm place.
After three or four days, he’d open the jar, take out the sock and count the seeds that didn’t germinate. He put the sock back together again , stuffed it into the jar, and opened it again at seven days. And he once more counted the seeds that did not germinate. What he learned was how many seeds he should plant, now knowing what percentage of the seeds would not grow.
He was using what was popularly known as a rag-doll germinator. Go to https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ag182 if you are interested in learning more about this old-fashioned, but still popular way of doing a germination test for saved seeds.
With most farmers growing hybrid corn these days, they don’t save seeds, as the seeds saved from hybrid kernels will not replicate the parent crop. But the test continues to work with the heritage, (not hybrid varieties) of most seeds, garden seeds included.
THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Doing a rag-doll germination seed test is a fun thing to do with the kids.
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Writing Workshops for 2016
Telling Your Story Workshop at Wild Rose Library, Saturday June 11, 9-4. Call 920-622-3835 to get your name on the list as enrollment is limited.
Telling Your Story Workshop at The Clearing in Door County. Friday, August 12, 9-4. Call 920-854-4088 to get your name on the list.
March 19: Banquet, Gathering of the Green, Davenport, IA. John Deere Tractors.
March 22: 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Writing Wisconsin Waterways, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Lecture Hall, 227 State Street.
April 2, 1:30 Soldier’s Grove Library.
April 5, 6:30 Heritage Hill State Park, Green Bay. Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.
April 9, Fort Atkinson Library, 1-3:00 p.m. Whispers and Shadows.
April 14, 12:00 p.m. Wild Rose Hospital Auxiliary Luncheon speaker. Stories from the Land.
April 17, 7:00 p.m. Lebanon Historical Society and Dodge County Geological Group, Watertown Senior and Community Center, 514 South First Street, Watertown. Whispers and Shadows.
April 19, 6:00 p.m. Union Grove Library.
May 26, 7:00 p.m. Richfield Historical Society, 4128 Hubertus Road, Richfield, WI Whispers and Shadows.
June 7, Cambria Library.
June 11, 9-4 Writing Workshop, Wild Rose Library. Telling Your Story
June 14.9:00 a.m. Keynote speech. Country Heritage Day, St. John the Baptist Church, Montello. Barns of Wisconsin.
August 9, 6:30 p.m.. Evening. Winnebago County Historical Society. Oshkosh Library. Ag. History
August 12 9-4, Writing Workshop, The Clearing, Door County.
August 20, 10:30-11:30 am. Waupaca Annual Arts on the Square.
Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):
The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:
Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)
Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. and Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.
Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street