This post is inspired by @papa-pepper's post yesterday. As I wrote it on the comment thread on that post, I've grown my own apples. Like the many of you here, I also have dreamed of having my own orchard and ground full of fruiting trees. I wrote "have dreamed" because I'm already living half of that.
Like him, I also prefer eating organic by choice. "Prefer" because I have friends who don't and sometimes, we eat out and it's pretty tough scoring organic food that's really delicious and though many restaurants in The Netherlands go organic there are still those that serve - "not so health conscious meal".
I love eating apples but back in the Philippines there was one incident that made me stop eating apples. It was a huge news that apples sold in the Philippines are dipped in wax to preserve them because as you know we have ants every where. There are probably more ants than Filipinos in the Philippines.
Insects only sink their teeth in anything organic. Wax- dipped apples are always ant free. As we all know wax is not edible. I don't know why they do that in those apples but - that news made me quit eating one back then. Whether apples in my country are still wax- dipped I no longer have any idea as I don't live there anymore. I'm sharing this because that's what made me stop eating apples.
When I came here, I refuse to sink my teeth in - on any apples. That thought was hard to shake off specially that it had been instilled in my brain for years. However, I saw that this place abounds in apples - they grow effortlessly every where. Hub has always bought organic food only and since we bought organic apples I decided to try growing them from seed - because I thought; "At least if they're from seeds am sure they're pure. It took a while to reprogram my brain that apples are really healthy to eat specially that I'm also aware that GMO apples exists.
It's pretty easy really and let's cut it to the chase , here's
HOW YOU CAN GROW APPLES FROM SEEDS:
Pluck the seeds out of an apple fruit. You'll find them in the very middle so never cut your apple into half. Doing so might cut those seed,too. This one's an Elstar apple. Don't forget to remember which apple you are planting as there are different sorts. My favorite is the Royal Gala.
Stratification is very important for apple seeds. What on earth is that? It's to allow any seed experience that winter feel so they'd germinate.
There is a short cut to helping apple seed take their coats off.
Peel their coats off yourself by sinking your nail in the pointed tip of the apple seed and slowly peeling the coat off it.
There is a risk of bruising the apple seed so I just use the well proven method.
THIS IS THE METHOD I'VE USED TO GROW MY FIRST SET OF APPLE TREES.
Take an empty box or any container with a lid.
Fill it with a folded kitchen towel or tissue paper.
Wet the kitchen towel till there's a bit of a puddle in it.
Lay the apple seeds on it and make sure they get wet, too.
Do not drown the apple seeds.
Cover the box or any container and put it in the fridge. The ideal temperature would be 40ºF to 41ºF (4.4ºC to 5ºC).
Leave them in the fridge for 8 weeks.
Go back and check the seeds after 8 weeks. You'd see tails growing on the apple seeds showing that they have successfully germinated. The seeds on the picture are that of a Royal Gala I've placed in the fridge 8 weeks and a few days ago.
Take a pot and fill it with enough soil. I use loam soil because it's the most nutritious of all soil so my plants tell me so as they all happily grow with it.
Place two seeds on each pot. Not every germinated seeds succeeds to grow. Having two seeds in the pot would at least ensure you one. If they both grow, just be careful not to damage their roots while re-potting them. What I do is soak the soil in water to free the roots and make it easier to separate the possibly tangled roots of two apple plants that have grown in one pot.
Give the seeds a good soak and the soil would automatically bury them.
Let them stay in the green house. If you don't have one just any place it won't be affected by a chance of frost.
Water twice a week.
This is one of those Gala apple seeds I've manage to germinate in summer this year that has grown into a baby apple tree. It's still staying in the greenhouse as I don't want to risk it dying in case it snows.
These are the rows of apple trees I've manage to grow in 4 years. They're taller than the fence now although I even pruned them till half the height of the fence in December last year. Yes, December is the best time to prune apple trees as long as the temperature doesn't drop to lower than 10ºC for the whole week to make sure they heal.
These guys are still growing on pots and will soon be moved to my spot in the organic garden I've joined in.
I'm training those guys which are already planted in the ground - to grow their stems horizontally using plant clips. Training their stems to grow horizontally is fooling the apple tree that it's already bearing fruit with the hope that next year it'll flower.
They are slow to flower because they have stayed in pots for years as we had to let go of 16 conifer trees last autumn to make room for these rows of apple trees. I could induce them to flower using stuff but as I prefer organic - I didn't. However, there are chances that apples grown in pots would still bear fruits. It would be slow but with proper care and the right pruning it would It does take years to do so as it's pretty slow for them.
You can use this method in every seed that grows in countries with winter. I've grown kiwi, plums, cherries and apple trees this way. There are apricot seeds, nectarine seeds, blueberry and gooseberry seeds I'm trying to germinate in another box in my fridge now, too.
Now, is the perfect time to put any seed directly in the ground as it is near winter. However, planting any seed directly in the ground risks rotting if the temperature drops lower than the ideal temperature the seed needs to germinate and grow.
I still recommend to do it - indoors in your fridge. Besides, all it needs is marking the 8th week of your calendar to make sure you don't miss it when the magic happens.
Good luck and I hope you grow your first apple tree!
I took each pciture with my Samsung Galaxy A3 2016 edition.
Do you like gardening? It's one of my hobbies so ...