Cheap Fun With a Long Wait

One of my favorite apples is a variety called Pink Lady. This type of apple is also called Cripps Pink…same apple, different name.

Last week I noticed that the seeds in one of the Pink Lady apples looked like it was sprouting, so I planted the seeds. Five of the six seeds have sprouted.

I did some reading about apple trees and I *think* I found a few interesting (to me) things about them.

  • Apple seeds must be chilled for quite a while before they will sprout, so the apples I was eating likely spent a long time in cold storage before they were set out on a store shelf.
  • Apples need to have some time where the outside temperatures are cold. I live in USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 6, which I hope has winters cold enough for the apples to thrive.
  • It will take several years before the seedlings have turned into trees that are capable of producing apples.
  • Most apple trees will not pollinate blossoms on the same tree, nor will a tree pollinate blossoms on other trees of the same variety. So, to get apples (several years from now) I need some other variety of apple trees growing nearby.
  • Since the seeds that have sprouted came from two different apple varieties, the apples I will (hopefully) eventually get will not be Pink Lady apples, but I won’t know for several years.
  • I like the Pink Lady apples, but my wife hates them, so I will likely plant some trees from the nursery that really are Pink Lady apples and a variety that my wife likes. She likes the sweet and almost mushy apples, so I need to find some sweet and mushy apples that will blossom about the same time as the Pink Ladys and my “who knows what” apples.

I have left a message with the local USDA Cooperative Extension Service office to get some specific advice on apple varieties. The person I talked with on the telephone has referred my question to their “apple expert”.

While the person I talked with was not an apple expert, they were very familiar with grapes and cherries and we talked about them.

They were also *very* interested in my tiny pomegranate tree and they asked me to keep them informed about it’s progress. Most pomegranate varieties do not do well in cold climates, but this one may be different. The seed that sprouted is the “grandchild” of a tree that was growing in the mountains of northern Iraq. It is quite cold there in the winter and we are hoping it will do well in this climate.

Pomegranate

Before we signed the transfer of ownership paperwork for our old house, I collected 25-30 pomegranate seeds and about a dozen cuttings from the “tree” (more like a bush) in the front yard.

None of the cuttings rooted. One seed sprouted.

Right now the sprout is about 3 inches tall and I have transplanted it into a larger pot. I thought I may have hurt the sprout because the soil fell away from the root as I was moving it, but after 4 days, it still seems to be doing well. For the past few days, I’ve been putting it out on the outdoor table to get used to the sun and breezes.

I discovered pomegranates when I was on my high school cross country running team. A team that we competed with had the running course go through a grove (orchard, field, stand????) of pomegranate trees. The opposing team’s coach owned the grove and we were told we could pick some of the fruit when we finished. For me, it was “love at first taste”.

The sprout’s “grandparent seeds” were brought here by a friend, a naturalized US citizen, from the mountains of northern Iraq. He said that where he grew up, the summer high temperatures were in the mid 90F/30C range with little rain and winter low temperatures in the 15F/-10C range with some snow….which is just like the climate where we now live. So, I’m hoping the pomegranate will thrive here.