We’ve been having fun with all things Johnny Appleseed lately! The other day, I taught my son the “Johnny Appleseed” grace that my aunt sang when I was young:
Oh, the Lord is good to me,
And so I thank the Lord,
For giving me the things I need,
The sun and the rain and the appleseed,
the Lord is good to me.
After reading about Johnny Appleseed, we decided to sprout some apple seeds of our own. Interestingly, it was more difficult than I would have thought. First of all, it took us several bags of apples to find some that actually had full sized seeds in the core. Then, I did some research on how to germinate apple seeds. And they take several weeks. In cold. Overwintering in the ground is best. So, if you are really serious about germinating and growing apple seedlings, you should check out these links:
- Growing New Fruit Plant Trees From Seed
- Growing Apple Trees From Seed
- What is the best way to germinate apple seeds?
If you just want to see something sprout for the fun of it, you can follow along and do what we did.
Once we found some apples with seeds inside, we “harvested” those seeds for growing. Bur first, we did an apple stamping activity. I thought about getting out our paints and stamping the apples with paint, but we ultimately went with something simpler as my toddler was hungry and wanted to eat while he played.
We took an apple, cut it up, and made some simple shapes. My son preferred the square “stamp.” What did we use for ink? The apple’s natural juice! On a piece of plain white paper, the wet marks of the apple showed up well enough to entertain a toddler. No mess, easy clean up. That’s my kind of activity.
And then about a week later, here’s another view of our plastic bag. Notice the green inside? Those are the sunflower seeds, which sprout much more quickly. The apple seed that sprouted is at the bottom right of the bag, it has a little tiny shoot coming out — that’s it.
Overall, we had fun with this experiment. While these apple seeds won’t turn into trees (the bag started molding inside, so I tossed its contents into the compost), my main goal was to learn about nature. To help my son be excited about nature and the plants that he sees around him.
If you are actually trying to get a fruit-bearing apple tree, starting from seed is not the best bet — your fruit will not necessarily be all that great. To create an apple tree with a particular kind of apple, branches are usually grafted from a parent tree. That’s how the fruit is consistent. In nature, in real life, the results are not consistent, the trees cross-pollinate and the fruit changes with each generation. Three Reasons Why You Should Not Save Seeds From Fruit).
So, if you want a fruit-bearing tree, you’d be better off buying a young apple tree. But if you just want to learn about nature, about life? Then by all means, grow some apple seedlings!
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