Written by: Nikitah Rajput Ray
Reviewed by: Wanja Nyaga and Sucheta Mitra
Welcome to the experiment!
Apple are some of the best fruits around. They have many health benefits, so as part of my five-a-day, I love apples on my way to school and back! One day when I was eating an apple on my easter break and I was watching a video on the importance of any home-sourced produce, I began to think of the easiest way that I could make my own homegrown produce.
I thought about this for a few minutes until I realised the answer was right under my nose! (Literally). So, I set off to find a way to grow my own… Apple Tree
How I began
To start off, I decided to look back on some things I learned in biology that had mostly to do with how to encourage a plant to grow, yet I realised I hadn’t worked with seeds from the beginning, so I had to research more on germinating, to begin with.
I started with getting a reusable plastic cup (ideally one you won’t be using for some time) and rinsing it down, then I got kitchen roll and ripped off about 2 sheets to then fold into the bottom of my cup, it is important to then wet them through and let the excess pour out as to make them thoroughly damp yet not soaking wet, then add the seed along with another piece of folded paper towel on top, germinating plants this way gives you a chance to control the variables more compared to letting it go straight into soil and not being able to check on it intermittently.
Next, once you are done with preparing the germination stage, place the cup anywhere where there is sufficient heat that encourages the seed to grow. And now you wait!
PS- I suggest doing more than 1 at a time to increase the chances of survival and germination.
Transferring to soil
Now once the seed has germinated and leaves have started to grow, it is best to transfer into soil earlier in this stage as they will need nutrients that the soil would be rich in unless you are growing a delicate plant, any general soil with a mix of compost is just fine as it is cheaper.
Now while removing it, try to keep the roots that have grown as intact as possible, as this will help with the root structure in the soil, which is essential to having a healthy base for your plant.
Choosing pot size
When choosing a pot size, do not go too big at first as this could lead to root rot, and having too small of a pot leads to a plant being root bound which will require more work to undo, so to start with, pick a pot that is 1-2 inches larger than the current diameter, playing it safe with the sizing at first will lead to a higher chance of success.
Place the plant in sunlight and keep away from harsh weather, ideally keeping it inside for the time being whilst in its first few pot sizes, water regularly depending on which plant you are taking care of; for example, for my apple plant, I changed the schedule depending on the average weather, when it was mostly sunny and warm I would water with half a cup of water every couple of days as to not let the soil dry out, therefore, letting the plant die, yet it the winter it watered less frequently as the moisture content is higher.
The process of my plant's germination took about 1 month, which is average for an apple seed, yet it varies for different plants. Some of the fastest are cucumbers, lettuce, radishes, spinach, turnips, basil, melons, beans and peas, so if you are not willing to wait out and grow your own apple plant, these are the most common options.
The best way to ensure the best care Is to do your own research on your plant and its symptoms. For example, you can observe its soil and leaves, and if anything irregular occurs, like fungi in the soil or spots on your leaves, can be a warning sign that something should be changed, so observing is one of the best methods, watering is obviously necessary depending on the plant, when going up in pot sizes its best to be observant of the roots and their mass if they are sparse compared to the upper of the plant a smaller pot is needed until it can recover therefore preventing root rot.
I hope you find a new hobby in growing this plant, and patiently watching this plant grow can give you a new appreciation to produce!