Growing apples from seeds

I’ve started other trees from seed. The most successful was this peach/nectarine that I planted about a year ago. No fruit, but it’s growing like gang busters.

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My family eats a lot of apples, so I have plenty of seeds to work with. Figured why not give try growing an apple tree from seed? Let me pause at this point. If you’re impatient, this isn’t for you. Growing apples from seedling to tree will take years. My kids will probably be in highschool before I see any fruit, if I ever do. There are other potential issues. Some say the fruit won’t be true to the parent or might not taste good, but this has been proven wrong.

Why I’m doing this..There’s something about growing your own tree that intrigues me. Each one of those seeds is imprinted with a genetic code and everything it needs to grow. I just need to provide the soil, water and sun. Most of them probably won’t make it, but seeds don’t cost anything so there’s really nothing to lose.

The process is simple. When you finish with an apple, collect the seeds and store them. We’ve been eating a lot of Pink Lady /Cripps Pink (Pink Lady is a variety of Cripps Pink) which happen to be one of my favorite apples. I put the seeds in a ziplock bag and store in the refrigerator until I’m ready to plant. The refrigerator helps to stratify the seeds. Essentially it replicates the natural dormancy process the seed goes through over winter. You’ll find that some seeds you collect might have already started to germinate, like the ones below. This can happen when an apple is kept in cold storage for an extended period of time.

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Planted some of the seeds I collected about a month, month and a half back and it was already pretty hot. Not sure that this is a problem for growing the seeds. However, when I’m ready to plant the actual tree I’ll want to wait for much cooler weather. Between the two pots I used 10 or 12 seeds. Nothing fancy, just regular potting soil and kept them moist and out of the direct sun. This is what I have now.

Pink Lady Apple Seedling
Pink Lady Apple Seedling

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The Pink Lady/Cripps Pink should do well here. The tree originated in Australia so it’s used to the heat. Not sure about the humidity, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

Stay tuned for more updates. Happy gardening!

Thank you squirrels, no apples this year

Those wonderful tree rats, AKA squirrels made sure that we wouldn’t get a chance to taste any apples from the backyard orchard this year.

In a previous post I showed the apples that were growing on my largest tree, a Dorsett Golden and how I thinned them to help the tree put on more growth this year.

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In the end I left 4 apples. Unfortunately, over the course of the next 4 to 5 weeks the apples disappeared until I was down to just one. Then about a week ago the last apple was taken. This is all that was left. I was more than a little bummed. But I’m a human an apex predator, top of the food chain. There’s no way I’m going to be outdone by a rodent. This is the part where I will pause and tell you my wife and kids think I’m absolutely “nuts”, no pun intended, and have a squirrel obsession. Maybe, but I will say that I’m in good company. There are many other fruit growers out there with the same frustrations and “malicious” intent towards squirrels.

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Queue up the creepy voice…**WARNING READ THE REMAINDER OF THIS POST AT YOUR OWN RISK, NOT FOR SQUIRREL LOVERS OR THE FAINT OF HEART**

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What can you do about the squirrel scourge?? The honest answer is not much, there are too damn many of them. If you see 3 or 4 there are probably more like 20. In most major cities they’re considered a nuisance. Some will trap and relocate. That’s a joke because they simply become someone else’s problem. An air rifle works fine. However, depending on where you live that may or may not be an option. Then there is lethal trapping. The tube trap is a popular style and the one that I recently started using (pictured below, no squirrels were harmed..cough cough). A company called WCS sells them, which is where I bought mine. I’ve had a lot of success with this trap and it seems to have slowed them down a bit. Maybe I’ll get lucky and they’ll decide to relocate to a more squirrel friendly location. Time will tell.

Happy squirrel free gardening!!!

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