Modus Operandi - 1970
Esther Berry, Seed Chairman, Aberdeen, Wash.
At this writing, in mid-November, only a small portion of our seed is now beginning to arrive so it is not yet possible to give an indication of the treasures that will be forthcoming. However, I have every assurance that those who have made this seed program possible by their generosity, in the past, will again supply us with new and interesting things.
It is still too early to determine what crises may lie ahead but we are hopeful that the 1970 program will proceed about as before, with only minor changes. Each year we are torn between the desire for 'healthy growth' and the uneasy feeling that we are already 'in over our heads'.
In addition to Mrs. Victor Manenica, Mrs. M. M. Pattison and Mrs. Clarence Burlingame who have served on the seed exchange for several years, we will have the assistance of Mr. William Buchanan who started with us last year. Mrs. James Haines, who has been with us from the beginning of the program has escaped by going to Mexico for the winter.
Our target date for sending the seed list to the printer is Feb. 1. To be included in this list, seed must be in our hands not later than Jan. 24. Much earlier is much better. More than anyone, we recognize the desirability of getting the seed out as early as possible and we shall bend every effort to accomplish that end. However, some of our major sources for seed lie in areas where the seed ripens late, for this reason no earlier date seems feasible. Indeed, in some years, it may be worthwhile to delay somewhat longer so that we may offer some especially choice items.
As the volume of the seed program gradually increases, it is necessary that we search for means of improving our operation. To that end we would like to suggest a few ways in which our seed applicants can make our task easier and our service better. We wish to place special emphasis upon the stipulation that requests should include both the name and number of the items requested. Secondly, please list alternate choices, if at all possible; we will always send the first choice if we have it. The task of making refunds in silver takes time that would be better spent in other ways; for this reason we have decided to make no refunds of less than one dollar but we will substitute an equivalent amount of seed instead. An alternate list is also useful in the distribution of bonus packets. Lastly, make very certain that your name and address are on your request list and that the whole is clearly legible. Between us, we have many talents but the study of hieroglyphics is not one of them.
Several inquiries from prospective contributors indicate that it may be useful to repeat a few guidelines for the benefit of those who may wish to contribute seed. Perhaps these notes will answer some of the questions most frequently asked.
- We wish to acquire seed of hand pollinated hybrid crosses but we do not list open pollinated hybrids.
- Our greatest need is for hand pollinated seed from good forms of the species.
- There is also a brisk demand for open pollinated seed from good forms of the species.
- There is strong interest in seed collected in the wild.
- Contributors of species seed should exercise every reasonable precaution to be certain that the seed parent is true to name and the seed correctly labeled. The flower color of the seed parent should also be included and any other information which is unique to that plant.
- We can use seed in any amount, large or small, even a single packet if it has special merit. Amounts of less than 10 packets will not be included in the published list but they are very useful in making substitutions. Left over seed is refrigerated and if there is a sufficient amount, it is listed a second year or used for bonus packets.
- Send the seed as soon as it becomes available. Packaging takes time, if the seed arrives late, it delays distribution.
- Seed may be cleaned before sending or sent in the capsule, whichever is more convenient. If the capsule is ripe enough to release the seed readily, it will probably be more convenient to send the cleaned seed. Otherwise it is best to send the seed in the capsule. In no case should the capsule be crushed to obtain the seed, this produces chaff which cannot be removed.
- Send the cleaned seed in bulk packets. It is not useful to prepare seed in single packets before sending because uniform packaging is necessary.
Most important of all, if you have anything that is good, hand pollinate it and share it with us. We cannot function unless you do.