The apple or apple tree is a very popular plant in orchards: it does not require a lot of maintenance and, moreover, it is very productive, to the point that a single specimen can produce the amount of fruit necessary for the whole family to savor its delicious flavor. And speaking of enjoying it, surely when you finish eating the apple you throw it in the garbage can or you throw it in the compost heap, right?
Well, I propose something better: what do you think of the idea of having your own apple tree? So, as soon as it starts to bear fruit, you no longer need to shop at the supermarket. After reading this article, you will know how to germinate apple seeds. Cheer up. It will surely be an enriching experience for everyone.
Apple planting season
The apple tree is a tree that blooms in spring, and whose fruits finish ripening in summer/autumn. Therefore, the planting season, let’s say, natural, is autumn, as this way the seeds would germinate throughout the following spring. But, of course, what most people do nowadays is, in fact, buy apples in a shopping center, supermarket, or, if they can, at the city market, and this can happen any day of the year.
What happens? They can start to be sown in summer, and they would sprout in autumn, which if it is soft nothing happens, but if in our area there are frosts, we will have to protect the seedlings in a greenhouse that we can do with four sticks and with transparent plastic.
So, taking into account that they usually germinate after 3-4 months, there are two seasons during which it can be sown:
- Ideal moment: fall.
- Acceptable weather: spring / early summer.
How to extract the seeds from the apple tree?
Once we have decided when we will plant our future fruit tree, it is time to cut the apple to extract its seeds. But be careful not to cut it in half as you could damage the seeds (as has happened to some of the apples seen in the image above). So, with a coffee spoon or a knife – carefully – you can easily remove them. After, if you want, you can eat the apple.
Here you can see the seeds in more detail:
Although they look good, healthy, and fresh, it is important as soon as you remove them to clean them well with water to remove any organic residue they may have; otherwise, the fungi could severely damage them, rendering them non-viable.
As a recommendation, place them in a glass with water for 24 hours so that the embryo inside it does not dehydrate.
Sowing of apple seeds
The planting of the apple tree has two parts: the stratification and the planting itself in pots. Let’s see how to proceed:
Vermiculite is the ideal substrate for stratifying seeds.
When 24 hours have passed, we will half-fill a Tupperware (preferably clear plastic) with a substrate called vermiculite. Vermiculite is a mineral formed by iron or magnesium silicates that retains a lot of moisture, even more than perlite, being ideal for seedlings or, as in this case, for tuppers.
Subsequently, the seeds will be placed, a little separated from each other in case they germinate ahead of time, and the tupperware will be finished filling with more vermiculite. Once done, there will only be watering a little with the help of a vaporizer, preventing the water from reaching the surface; Let me explain: the substrate must be damp, but not soaked. If you see that there is excess water, remove it otherwise, the seeds will literally drown as they will remain in the tupperware for many days.
Now, for prevention, it is highly advisable to add a pinch of environmentally friendly fungicides, such as copper or sulfur. Water a little more so that it makes good contact with the vermiculite. Then, we close the tupperware and put it in the fridge at a temperature of 6 ° C.
This first part is not over yet, but once a week we have to open the Tupperware so that the air is renewed and check how the seeds are doing. So for 3 months.
After 3 months you can proceed with sowing in the seedbed. Therefore, you can use traditional pots, trays for forest seedlings, milk containers, and yogurt glasses … Whatever you choose, you need to make sure it has holes for water drainage.
Ok, we already have the seedbed, but which substrate do we use? One that has good drainage but can also be kept quite moist and, most importantly, that does not compact. In nurseries you will find many prepared substrates; for the case in question, you can use both the preparation for the seedbeds and the ecological urban garden.
Another option is to do the mix yourself. For this, we will need 60% black peat + 30% perlite (or similar) + 10% worm castings (or other powdered organic compounds).
Sowing – Step by step
Having the substrate ready, proceed as follows:
- We put one or two seeds in each, separated from each other.
- We cover them with the substrate.
- We threw in a pinch of eco-friendly fungicide (copper or sulfur).
- We give them a copious watering file, and soak the support well.
- And finally, we place the seedbed in a place where the sun shines directly.
After about a month, a maximum of two, the seeds will begin to germinate. At this early age, they are very fragile, so you need to have them well-checked and cared for to avoid losing them. So the first thing we need to do, if two have sprouted in one seedbed, calls them, that is, separate them and plant them in individual pots.
How to play them?
The easiest way to do this is, when they are 5cm tall, to take the root ball out of the pot and carefully remove the substrate attached to the roots. So when we take a good look at their root systems, we simply have to untangle them while avoiding breaking the roots.
When we have separated them, they are planted in pots about 20 cm in diameter with the substrate (it can be the same type we use for seedbeds), they are watered and placed in a semi-shady area until they grow, which will then be the time to gradually accustom them to direct sun.
How to keep them?
During the first year, we have to be very aware of them. These are the care they need:
- Irrigation: about 3 times a week in summer and every 5-6 days the rest of the year.
- Subscriber: During the spring and summer it was advisable to fertilize with liquid organic fertilizers, such as guano, which in addition to making them grow a little faster, strengthens them.
- Preventive treatments: once a month in hot weather it is recommended to treat with a fungicide.