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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Look at that body, I nerd out!

 I am somewhat of a tree nerd. I love the outdoors with all of my heart. Yesterday I caught my girl outside collecting twigs and sap and creating a magical little creature house and it made my heart nearly burst. I remember doing that stuff and losing myself for hours outside. To the point that my Dad would have to physically come out and get me for dinner because I didn't hear him calling my name a zillion times. Imaginative play out in the soil and fresh air is just the absolute best. I am so glad she shares this same love.

 There is a project I have been dying to do with her for a while and it's a lengthy thing so cross your fingers for success. Here we are midway so I will have to give you background and then our hopeful predictions. First, this topic came about when we had just about the most incredible Honey Crisp apples from the pumpkin patch this last fall. The girl told me how awesome it would be to just have that kind of apple tree in our yard instead of the crap apple ( yes I meant that and not crab apple) tree that hangs over our fence from the neighbors yard and drops gross, holey, little nubs of sourness into our yard. Those end up in compost and the apples we were drooling over would in fact be amazing to grow for free considering they are like $3.99 a lb at the store.

  After some research to refresh my fruit seed knowledge, I collected some seeds from our winning picks and began to dry them . I did know from my Gram that if you just collect seeds from an apple and put them in soil, your apple seeds likely won't germinate for a couple reasons. The seeds need a dry out period followed by a cool period. If you skip these steps you wont even get sprouts most of the time. These need to dry out for 3-4 weeks. I literally tossed mine into a kitchen drawer on a paper towel in a hurry, meaning to do something better about it later. Forgot about them entirely for two months and yay! Totally dry. Lucky me. After a month or so the seeds lose that dark shiny luster and get a lighter dryer more boring look. This is a good indication the seeds have dried well. I think that part is like end of Summer/Fall when things wither and dry.
 Once the seeds are dry put them in a container or zip lock bag. Place the container or bag in your refrigerator for about 3 months. That's the Winter part. After about 11 weeks you can start letting fresh air in often. Then, just like Spring, you can plant your prepared seeds into soil. You should start to see leaves popping out of the soil in a few weeks if everything went right.

  Now that we have run our seeds through the fake range of seasons to well, season them, we have begun to types of sprout tests for the sake of upcoming the science fair. I will keep posting updates as these get growing. I am hoping it will be easy considering we are using seeds from a locally grown variety ** and then we can plant a tree in the yard when it's more than a tasty seedling. Deer love little fruit trees to snack on. 

1) The hydro baggie method

2) The standard soil method

**The wild variety will be hearty and adapted to the local climate. This method not only produces more apples, without grafting, certain varieties wouldn't be able to grow in certain climates. Grafting allows commercial farmers to produce more varieties in limited opportunity type climates.


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