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Christine Sweeney Luther Burbank Luther Burbank was born the thirteenth of 15 children in Lancaster Massachusetts on March 7 1849 He was a sensitive shy boy with a curiosity about the outdoors His cousin Professor Levi Burbank took him on long walks in the woods to study plant life and discuss his interests in biology He completed his formal education at Lancaster Academy where he studied biology chemistry and physics but he didnt decide upon a career He wanted to study medicine but there was so many children in his family and so little money he was forced to go to work He got a job in a near-by factory as a wood turner and pattern maker for fifty cents a day He didnt like this work because it was indoors so he decided to become a truck gardener It was at this time that Luther first read Charles Darwins Animals and Plants Under Domestication He decided then and there to make plant breeding his lifes work Although he had no real scientific education he did have an intense curiosity about plants and a love of nature He began simple experiments and through trial and error improved growing methods These he tested in further experiments as he tried to develop new and sturdier vegetables One of his first experiments was with sweet corn In order to get corn on the market earlier he forced the kernels to grow inside the warm house two weeks before the ground was ready Then when it was warm enough outside he planted the seeds which had already sprouted This way he already gained two weeks on the other gardeners and the sweet corn was ready to sell two weeks earlier This method of growth created many advantages for gardeners since they could reap the benefit of their crops at an earlier date One day
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