[NAFEX] apple and pear trees from seed

Sarah Kehler Ewing skkewing at yahoo.com
Sat Dec 20 15:00:28 EST 2008


I have started grocery store and locally grown apple and pear seeds for several years in a row as fun projects with my kids and the local kindergarten classes.  We've grown Granny Smith, Royal Gala, Pink Lady/Cripp's Pink, Pacific Rose (some of those had red leaves and red vascular tissue, makes pruning more interesting!), Fuji, Norkent, Ruby Red/September Ruby, Ambrosia, Braeburn and Honeycrisp apples as well as Red Bartlett and Comice Pears.  I plant the seeds taken from apples eaten in Jan/Feb so they are already cold-stratified and ready to grow.  I simply put them in a thick layer on top of dirt in a pint/500mL sized sour cream container with drainage holes in the bottom, cover them with 1" of dirt, water and watch them grow.  Once the seedlings are about 2-4" tall I transplant them individually into 1 quart/litre milk carton with drainage holes in the bottom, set them in a Rubbermaid container and water occasionally until the risk of frost is over.
  I harden them off, dump them out of their container, plant them outside and watch them take off.  I have planted seeds outside in fall and that is much less work, but obviously no fun for the kids/me!  The upside to doing the whole inside process is that the trees put on two years worth of growth: they grow about 12-18" inside and then do the same thing outside (sometimes they sit for a bit first), whereas the fall planted seeds only grow the 12-18" outside.  I've found that Pink Lady/Cripp's Pink and Royal Gala sprout the most reliably and grow like crazy, but up here in zone 3b they tend to die back and likely wouldn't fruit in our short seasons anyway, but it makes a fun project for kids of all ages!  ;o)  

Edm, AB

--- On Sat, 12/20/08, Richard MURPHY <murphman108 at msn.com> wrote:

> From: Richard MURPHY <murphman108 at msn.com>
> Subject: [NAFEX] apple trees from seed
> To: "nafex" <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Date: Saturday, December 20, 2008, 7:28 PM
> Oh no, it's Murph, and he's gonna talk
> again.................
> Last year, I saved a few apple seeds from various apples
> from my orchard, and from Fenton's. I stratified them
> for a few months, then planted them in pots. Some sprouted,
> some didn't. A couple months later, I was cleaning out
> the fridge, and I noticed that ALL the seeds I had left over
> from stratification had SPROUTED FINE !! Apparently, I
> jumped the gun in planting them. This year, I will wait
> until I see at least one or two sprouts before planting a
> each different variety.
>     Hopefully, the fact that these seeds come from two
> small orchards having dozens of varieties, will create a
> more complex collection of results than seed gathered from
> Supermarket apples which are usually grown in large blocks.
> Last year's winners were Cortland and Golden Delicious,
> as far as tree vigor, leaf size, branch habit, etc. The Wolf
> Rivers that grew, turned into little shrubs!
>     I'm also trying a few Surefire cherries from seed,
> just to see what happens. Does anybody have a
> 'favorite' apple variety for starting from seed?
> This is all just for fun; not a commercial venture.
> Peace, Fruit Fans.
> Murph
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