Monday, May 31, 2010

Update: Lemons

Well, we were right, that lump we saw in the dirt was a lemon seed growing. Even more surprising, another seed also grew. So now we have 3 lemon tree plants.

3 Lemon plants growing

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Growing Loquats From Seed

Loquat is a tree that I have had experience with in the past. Fifteen years ago my parents purchased some loquats from a grocery store in Chinatown. We buried some pits in the backyard to grow our own tree. After 5 years it finally bared fruit. It is now over 20 ft tall and we get to enjoy loquats every summer.

This year I decided to save some of the pits for myself in an attempt to grow my own tree. Instead of putting the put in a pot of soil or burying it in the ground, I am putting the pits between some paper towels. Nine days ago I put 9 pits between a paper towel, and put the paper towel in a plastic Ziploc bag. Keeping the paper towel moist, put the bag in a nice sunny window.

Well today, one of the pits finally started to sprout. It wouldn't surprise me if in the next few days the other ones start as well. When the roots get a little longer the pits will be potted.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Update: Strawberries, Apples, Lemons

They said it would take 7 to 28 days for the strawberries to germinate. Well it's been 9 days and upon inspection, I found 2 seeds that have germinated. They still have their seeds attached so they don't have their leaves yet, but this looks very promising. We'll see in the next 19 days how many of the remaining strawberry seeds germinate.

Fuji Apples
The Fuji apples are doing exceptionally well. The one in the middle already has 7 leaves while the one next to it has 5. Before long the plants are going to be too big for the minature greenhouse and are going to need to be potted.

Fuji Apple Plants

Gala Apples
So far only one seed has a root but it's still early.

The lemon plant now has 2 visible leaves. We also found a bump in one of the other compartments which appears to be a seed so hopefully we will have another lemon plant real soon.

Lemon Plant's First Leaves

Plants To Listen For Soon
Blueberries, Honey Tangerines, Nectarines, Peaches.
In a previous post I mentioned that after we find out with the Gala apples that if apple seeds can grow in room temperature we'll do a comparison with the Granny Smiths. I have now realized that we have about half a dozen Gala apples but only 3 Granny Smith so well be conducting the experiment with the Gala apples. Just like the pineapples I will be comparing days of growth.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Growing Pineapple

Pineapple is going to be one of the few things not being grown from seed.

We have all probably heard of the way to make a pineapple plant. Cut or pull the head with the leaves off. Make sure all the fruit is cut off. Tear some of the bottom leaves off, then put it in a cup of water or in moist soil and wait for roots to grow.

Just like my avocado experiment I am conducting an experiment to see which method is faster. Unlike my avocado experiment I cannot start both heads at the same time. Instead I will be comparing growth on experiment days. (eg. Day 7 of pineapple in water compared to Day 7 of pineapple in soil)

On Saturday I started a pineapple head in water. Today I started a pineapple head in a pot of soil. The one in water has a 2 day head start. I will keep them watered and check on their progress at least once a week.

Growing Grapefruit From Seeds

Today we planted our grapefruit seeds, we are also running an experiment to see which method is ideal.

I have heard to either germinate them in soil, or between wet paper towels. Also I have heard of leaving the skin on and peeling it off.

Peeling off the skin is fairly easy. Look for the small point on top of the seed and bend it. A part of skin will come off as you peel it downward. It should leave small flaps at the top. Use those flaps to peel the rest of the skin off.

Over this past week we have been able to get 14 seeds. Using our greenhouse seed trays, and wet paper towels in a Ziploc bag:

  • 3 were planted in soil with skin
  • 3 were planted in soil without skin
  • 4 were placed between wet paper towels with skin
  • 4 were placed between wet paper towels without skin

It will take 7 to 28 days for the seeds to germinate.

We will be repeating this experiment with the honey tangerine seeds but on a larger scale. We were able to get 20 seeds from just one fruit today and we have one more left.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Growing Gala Apples From Seed

We bought some Gala apples a few days ago and were able to get some seeds. Today we decided to plant them. We are using a similar procedure as we did with the Fuji apples but with some changes.

The seeds are between a folded moist paper towel in a plastic bag, but this time we have decided to see if the seeds will germinate at room temperature. This is mostly due to the fact that the seeds started sprouting much quicker once they were in the soil and exposed to heat. Due to the mold problem that we had with the Fuji apples, the paper towels are moist with our homemade fungicide. The fungicide is 99% water but hopefully this time it will mean no mold.

The next apple on our list is Granny Smith. If the seeds germinate at room temperature for the Gala, we will probably run a comparison with the Granny Smith. Does the cold have any effect on the germination of apple seeds?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Kiwis and Apples

Last week I was quite surprised on how many of the kiwis have sprouted. Well this week, most of the seeds had their first leaves.

Germinated kiwi seeds

They will continue to grow inside the greenhouse seed tray until the roots get too crowded or the plants get too big.

Apples (Fuji)
The apple seed that already sprouted is starting to grow it's third and forth leaves. In another compartment another seed has sprouted and is in the beginning stages of growing more leaves. Apparently it is the compartment where we placed 2 seeds. Upon closer inspection we noticed that the other seed is also growing.

Apple seeds growing

The next apple seeds we will be planting are Gala apples. This time they will not be place fridge. They will be placed between wet paper towels in a plastic bag but at room temperature.

Growing Citrus From Seeds

The citrus Trevor and I will be experimenting with are lemons, limes, oranges, mandarins, tangerines, and grapefruits.

3 weeks ago we went out to eat at a local restaurant. We ordered water and hot tea. My water came with a lemon wedge and so did Trevor's tea. Both lemons had seeds so we carefully picked them out and wrapped them up in a napkin. We got 6 usable seeds total.
A few days later we washed them and planted them in my greenhouse seed tray. Because of the sugar content of fruit, they were given a spray of fungicide every few days. We put them in a sunny window and waited. Today during our watering we noticed that one of the lemon seeds had germinated.

Sprouted Lemon seed

Today we also decided to plant our mandarin and orange seeds.
Most of the mandarins and oranges grown in my area are seedless but we were able to obtain one good mandarin seed, and 5 good orange seeds. We believe the oranges to be Valencia oranges. In the remaining 6 compartments of the greenhouse we planted the orange and mandarin seeds using the same process as the lemons.
They say it takes 1 to 4 weeks for citrus seeds to grow so we'll keep you updated.
In the mean time, we are currently collecting grapefruit and tangerine seeds. We seem to be getting a lot more of these seeds than we had with the lemon so we'll be running a few experiments to see which method grows faster.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Growing Cherries From Seeds

Our supermarkets are now flooded with cherries so we are going to start growing cherries. We will be trying several methods of growing cherries to see which one is the fastest.
Obtaining pits is simple. Just eat a few cherries and save the pits. Make sure you wash the pits very well and not leave any fruit residue. The sugars can cause molding and fungus.
Using our 12 compartment seed trays, using potting soil, 6 compartments have pits, the other 6 compartments contain cherry seeds. We cracked several pits open with hammers to obtain the seed. Unlike previous seeds, they are not inside a greenhouse. Doing some research online, I have found that the greenhouse is too hot for the cherry and may harm it.

Seed tray with cherry pits and seeds. One side is pits, the other side is seeds.

In The Refrigerator
One method I have been reading online is to get a jar or bag and fill it with moist soil and seeds. Keep the soil moist and leave it in the refrigerator for up to 90 days. During those 90 days check to see if any sprouting has occurred.
Trevor and I are using jars. One jar will have 20 pits, the other jar will have 20 seeds. We will see which one grows faster.

Me spraying the cherry tray

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Growing Asparagus From Seed

Asparagus is one of those plants that produce vegetables for 10 to 20 years. They are usually grown from root crowns but I bought some asparagus seeds online and I'm going to give them a shot. I will have to wait an extra 1 to 2 years before I get asparagus but I'm willing to give it a shot.

I placed 6 asparagus seeds between a wet folded paper towel and I put the paper towel in a Ziploc bag. I had to wait up to 3 weeks before the seeds germinated. The first seed germinated within 2 weeks.

In my 12 compartment seed tray I placed the 6 seeds that I germinated between paper towels. As an experiment, I placed 6 seeds in the other 6 compartments. I'm just going to see if the paper towel speeds up the seeds compared to planting them directly in soil.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Growing Strawberries From Seed

Next up on the list is strawberries.

Getting Strawberry Seeds
You can gently pick the seeds off the strawberry or you can slice up several strawberries and throw them into a blender. Add enough water so they are just barely covered and puree the strawberries for about 10 seconds. Wait a few minutes afterwards. The "bad" seeds and the fruit will float to the top while the good seeds will sink to the bottom. Scoop out the top layer of strawberry. Put a coffee filter in a sieve and the sieve over a bowl. Pour out the remaining seed water mixture. Rinse and repeat with the remaining seeds. Let the coffee filter dry over night. Now you have your strawberry seeds.
Growing Seeds
  1. Place the seeds in a folded paper towel then into a Ziploc bag. From what I read online the seeds need to be put in the freezer anywhere from 3 weeks to 4 months. A majority of the sites said 1 month so I froze the seeds for 1 month to stratify them.
  2. After a month place the seeds in lukewarm water for 1 to 3 days. This softens the outer coating. To keep the water warm place the container on top of a refrigerator or anywhere else that feels warm.
  3. We used a 12 compartment seed tray greenhouse. Fill that with seed starter. Over a sink, gently pour the water containing seeds over the soil. Try to evenly spread it. You will also have to rinse the remaining seed out.
  4. Place the greenhouse cover and put in a sunny window.
  5. They say it takes 7 to 21 days for a strawberry seed to germinate so we'll keep you up to date.
For the seeds being soaked in water we place the container on top of Trevor's computer. At one point it seemed the water was getting so hot that it was evaporating. Getting too hot might have killed the seeds but we won't know for sure for another 7 to 21 days. If these seeds fail to germinate we will be replanting them. Next time instead of soaking them in water we will try scratching them with sandpaper.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Avocado Pit Experiment

Back in November I decided to start a little experiment to test different growing methods of avocado pits. Browsing the Internet the 2 most popular methods are suspending the avocado pit by toothpicks in water, or planting it halfway in potting soil. Several websites also suggest peeling off the skin. I got 4 avocado pits and tested the 4 methods.

You can read my intro and an update on Hubpages.

After several months the pits where the skin was peeled off made no growth so I tossed them. The ones with skin both had roots. The one in water had a small root but it had cracked significantly while the one in soil had a much longer root but not much cracking.

Next step is to see which will grow a shoot first. I will keep you updated as soon as I get results.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Homemade Fungicide

I found this recipe online. We are still experimenting with it. It is starting to show promising results but time will tell


  1. 2 tbsp Baking Soda
  2. 2 tbsp Hydrogen Peroxide
  3. 1 gallon Water
  4. Liquid Dish Washing Soap (Only if you plan on spraying this on leaves)


  1. In a dry, clean gallon jug mix baking soda and peroxide.
  2. Move it around until baking soda is wet with peroxide
  3. Add water.
  4. Shake until everything is dissolved.
  5. If this is for leaves, add to spray bottle and add one drop of dish washing soap for every quart. Shake well.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Growing Apples From Seeds

A few weeks ago we started our attempt to grow apple trees from seeds. Using a 12 compartment seed tray Trevor and I are going to plant 3 of 4 different types of apples: Fuji, Gala, Granny Smith, and Arkansas Black.
A few weeks ago we bought some Fuji apples and took out the seeds. One seed in the apple already had a pretty long root coming out of it so we planted it in one of the compartments with seed starter. After doing some research online we decided to place the seeds in a wet, folded paper towel, in a plastic bag, in the refrigerator. It would take about 4 to 6 weeks before the seeds would germinate. Apple seeds also have a germination rate of 30% so we needed at least 10, luckily we were able to get 15. The seed that was already planted was also placed in the fridge.

Well 3 days ago we came across a problem, mold. There were little black spots of mold growing all over the paper towel. Apparently we hadn't washed all the sugar and apple parts off the seeds. We doused the paper towel in fungicide and sprayed some more in the bag. Since the already planted seed had shown no progress, we decided to remove the already planted seed from the fridge to a sunny window. A greenhouse was also placed on top.

Today the mold problem was worse than before. Luckily 3 of the seeds had already shown promising growth. One had a significant root, another showed the beginnings of a root, while a third showed the beginnings of a root and leaves. As we went to get the apple seed tray we noticed that the seed had already sprouted leaves. Quite a bit of growth after 3 days.

Apple plant

The seed that had a significant root was placed in a compartment while the other 2 were put in the same compartment. If both seeds grow one will be pulled out.

Today we also decided to start some pear seeds. Pears are in the same category as apples so they will be planted the same way. We did make one modification. Instead of soaking the paper towel in water, we soaked the paper towel in our homemade fungicide. The fungicide is 99% water anyway. Hopefully this time we won't have a mold problem.

Native Apple Tree 20 Seeds - Be Johnny Appleseed -Malus

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Growing kiwis from seed

I decided to grow some kiwis. According to my online research, kiwis grow on vines, kind of like grapes, and there are male and female kiwis. You need at least one male vine to fertilize all the female vines.

Online I found 2 techniques on growing kiwis from seed. (In a later blog I will show how to get seeds from kiwis) One method is to place the seeds in the fridge for 4 months to stratify them, then plant them in some peat moss. The other method is the same except the seeds don't need to be placed in the fridge. Two weeks ago my boyfriend, Trevor, and I decided to try both methods. We got 2 kiwis. The seeds from one kiwi went into the fridge while the others were planted in a miniature seed tray greenhouse. We made sure the greenhouse soil was always moist and we sprayed it once a week with fungicide. (The greenhouse is very warm and moist, perfect conditions for fungus to grow)

Today I decided to give the kiwis their weekly fungicide spray and was amazed at how many kiwi seeds had already germinated. None of them have leaves yet, all still have their seeds attached but hopefully by this time next week there will be a tray full of kiwi sprouts.


I have this passion for gardening. Every spring I try to grow some vegetables and I'm always experimenting with new flowers and such.

Now I've decided to experiment with growing trees and bushes from seeds. Usually you would cut off a branch or dig up a sucker and you'd have your own. Well I'm going to experiment with different techniques I've found on the internet and see how they work.