Thanks for approval of seed-soaking experiments in Gardeners’ Chronicle ["Does sea-water kill seeds?", 26 May 1855; Collected papers 1: 255–8]. They seem not to have convinced Hooker of consequences for geographical distribution.
Down Farnborough Kent
My dear Sir
I am extremely much obliged to you for your note with your account of your experiments in the salting line.— Your approbation in the Gardener’s Chron. has been a great satisfaction to me, & has stimulated me to go on trying.f1
I hope you will state in Gardeners’ Chron. (or to me) whether the seeds which were left for 5 days were quite wet or became partially dry: in the former case it might, I shd think be counted as part of the immersion.f2
I had begun to try whether by drying the seeds for a week after immersion, whether they wd then germinate; but this day I have had a most provoking accident in a set of seeds, which had soaked for 8 & 10 weeks (& those which had been dryed) having been allowed to get dry in the glasses, owing to one day’s omission of looking at them, & I fear they are assuredly all killed. I may just mention that some of my seeds have germinated after 56 days immersion. By the way, I may mention, that when the seeds are come to nearly their full period of endurance: their germination becomes much delayed sometimes.
Hooker seems much interested in these experiments; but they seem to have had very little influence, or no influence, in making him think that plants thus get distributed, which I am rather surprised at; & I shd like sometime very much to hear your opinion on this head.
With very sincere thanks, pray believe me Your’s very sincerely | C. Darwin
Your Peas have come up capitallyf3