372 IDEAL HOME LIFE
Choose ten average seeds of one variety. Provide a box eighteen inches long, twelve inches wide, and at least two inches deep, and fill it with good garden soil. Make shallow lines in the soil one inch apart, of a depth about two to four times the diameter of the seed to be planted; place the ten seeds that you have chosen in the first of these shallow marks, or furrows. Mark the box at the end of the row on the wood, so that you will know the variety of seed that is planted in that row. Choose ten more seeds of another variety and plant them in the second row. Continue in this way until all the varieties of seed bought have ten samples planted in the box. Cover the seed and the rows with soil and press the soil firmly with the palms of your hands. Sprinkle about a pint of water over the soil and place the box near the stove or in a sunny window where it will have a fair amount of heat. Water the soil during the next two weeks. Mark on paper the date of planting the seed, and each day record the number of plants that show above the soil. If at the end of two weeks nine of the ten seeds in row one have shown above ground and are still healthy and green, the percentage of growth will be ninety; if eight, eighty; if six, sixty. If the test shows less than sixty per cent., more seed will have to be used in the actual planting of the garden in order to. obtain the number of plants desired.
The above is the most valuable test of seeds, as it shows not only those seeds that will sprout well, but also those that under fair conditions will grow in the garden. Seeds that show a high percentage in this test will be profitable to plant.
If father or mother will give you your choice of a place for your garden, choose a piece of land that has. been under cultivation for two or three years. If this land slopes slightly toward the south and is a loamy, not clayey, soil, it will answer your purpose. If the land is near the hen-yard it will be well to fence the garden or to plan to keep the hens in their yard.