Monday, June 28, 2010

Extracting Kiwi Seeds

This is the method we used to get our kiwi seeds

You Will Need

  • Sharp Knife
  • Butter Knife
  • Bowl of water
  • Coffee Filter
  • Sieve
  • Bowl
  1. Cut the kiwi into quarters

  2. Remove the middle white line

  3. Gently scrap the seeds off with a butter knife

  4. Rinse the seed covered knife in the bowl of water

  5. Let most of the seeds settle to the bottom

  6. Put a coffee filter in a sieve and the sieve in a bowl. Gently pour the water/seed mixture into the coffee filter. The coffee filter will drain the water but keep the seeds.

  7. After the water drains leave it to dry overnight.

  8. You should be able to easily scratch the seeds off of the coffee filter once it is dry. Now they are ready for use.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Just Some Picture Updates


Pineapple in pot

Pineapple #1 with fruit left on

Pineapple #2 with fruit left on


Lemon plants. The front one on the right was separated


Strawberry Plants

Close up of Strawberry plants


Blueberry plants

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Growing Apricot From Seeds

My neighbor has an apricot tree. Every year she let's us come over and pick as many apricots as we want. There's always too many to go around. This year I saved some pits and Trevor and I are going to grow them. Before I get into details there's no guarantee that the seeds will produce apricots. My plum tree is right behind, back to back from the apricot tree. The apricot flowers bloomed just before the plums but there was an overlap so there is a chance the seeds are of plucots (apricot and plum hybrid). We'll know in 3 to 5 years.

I found 2 methods of growing apricots on the Internet so it's experiment time.
First step is to crack the pits with a hammer or nut cracker. I used a hammer. I found putting a pit on it's side and hitting the edge works best.
We have 18 seeds so 9 of them will be put in between a moist paper towel in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. The other 9 are in a jar with moist soil in the refrigerator. The seeds need a 30 day stratification period so after 30 days in the fridge we will check for sprouting.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Update:Gala, Citrus, Pineapple

Gala Apples
As I said a few days ago we have to redo the Gala apple seeds. Well we were scooping out the bad seed starter and apparently one more seed survived so we have 2 gala apple plants right now. We still plan on continuing with our experiment once we have enough seeds.

So far the only citrus that has grown has been the grapefruit and the lemon. We dug up an orange seed a few days ago and there was a root so hopefully the orange will be sprouting soon.
We did notice a something a little "odd" with the lemons and grapefruit. In several compartments it looked like there were 2 or 3 trees growing. I remember when we were trying to germinate grapefruit seeds in the paper towel, the seed broke apart and each piece seemed to behave like a separate seed. So it's experiment time again.
One of our lemon plants looked like there were 2 trees growing so we dug it up. It looked like 2 lemon trees growing out of one seed. They were easily separated and planted into seperate pots. For the next few weeks we are going to be keeping an eye on both plants. If both plants make it to their next set of leaves we will do the same thing to the grapefruits. (We currently have a compartment of grapefruits that looks like 3 are growing)

The pineapple growing in the pot is growing quite well. It hasn't increased in size but new leaves have grown. Unforunately, the one in water wasn't so lucky. The bottom part of the head fell off and we had to toss it. We have 2 more pineapples which we cut up today. We cut the heads off this time leaving the fruit and cutting off all the dead leaves and dead parts of the leaves.

Growing Blackberries and Raspberries

Our blackberry seeds have been sitting in the refrigerator for 2 months while our raspberry seeds have been in there for a month. Now it is time to plant them.

Obtaining Seeds
Getting seeds is quite easy. You can either press the fruit towards the side of a glass bowl the fill the bowl with water. The fruit will float while the seeds sink. Scoop out the fruit. Place a coffee filter in a strainer and gently pour the water in. The coffee filter and strainer will prevent the seeds from seeping through.
The way we did it however, was a little bit more simplified. Whenever we ate raspberries or blackberries we had a paper towel handy. Anyone who has eaten these berries know that you get a lot of seeds stuck in your teeth. Gently remove the seed with your finger and wipe it on the paper towel. Leave the seeds overnight to dry. Place a coffee filter in a strainer and gently pick off the seeds. Rinse the seeds.

Growing Seeds
The seeds need to be stratified. Place them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for at least a month. When you are ready to plant the seeds they will need to be scarified first.
  1. Get a large sheet of sandpaper and place the seeds on.

  2. Fold up a corner and rub the seeds between the 2 sheets.

We will be doing an experiment when it comes to growing these seeds. I found this method to soften the outer part of the seed by soaking them in bleach for an hour. Then add 4 cups of water for every tablespoon of bleach used. Using the coffee filter-strainer method, drain the seeds. In a large bowl add 4 tbsp of baking soda and 1 cup water. Soak the seeds for a few minutes to neutralize any remaining bleach.
For the experiment half the seeds were soaked, while the other half weren't. For the blackberries, half of both kinds were planted in seed starter, while the other half are going to be in a paper towel. The raspberries were only planted in seed starter.
We will see if soaking the seeds in bleach will make their germination time any sooner.
I have heard anywhere from 4 weeks to 6 months for the seeds to grow so we'll you up to date.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Moving Pears

So on May 14th we put some pear seeds in a moist paper towel, put that in a plastic bag, then put it in the fridge. It's been 5 weeks and no germination. So we have now moved the seeds to room temperature in hopes that they will grow. Whatever amount of stratification the seeds needed, hopefully they got it during the month they were in the fridge.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Growing Blueberries From Seed

I bought some blueberry seeds from The Kentucky Blueberry Growers Association a few months ago. Their seeds are already stratified so you don't have to worry about doing that. A few weeks ago. April 25 to be precise, I start some seeds. Following the instructional video they have on YouTube, I used my miniature greenhouse. I filled it with seed starter, which is most peat moss, and sprinkled some seeds on top. To be on the safe side, I sprinkled a pinch of seed starter on top to cover the seeds. I used the greenhouse because according to the instructions given to me with the seeds, blueberries need a temperature of 70 to 80 degrees and need to stay moist. The greenhouse keeps those consistent. Heat and moisture are a perfect environment for fungus to grow so I gave it a spray of fungicide every week.
Four weeks later, on May 23, the first of the seeds germinated. More seeds are germinating everyday so I expect to have a full tray by the 6th month. Right now the blueberries are too small to take pictures of but they are growing nicely.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Granny Smith Apple Time

We have a total of 13 Granny Smith apple seeds (not including the already sprouted one) and today we starting the whole planting process. Just like with the previous 2 seeds we placed them in a folded moist paper towel and placed them in a plastic bag. Since we got such a high germination rate with the Gala apples in room temperature, we're going to leave the seeds at room temperature. The Gala apples started sprouted in a week so it shouldn't take that long for the Granny Smith.
As for the Granny Smith apple seed that was already sprouted, it is doing quite well. We'll have updated photos up soon.
Something I have noticed so far with all our apples. They have all gone through the stratification process. Maybe not directly as seeds but definately as the apple. When we bring the apples home they go straight into the fridge. So in a few months Trevor and I will be trying a different experiment, "Is Stratification Absolutely Necessary For Apples?" In August or September we will be going to a nearby apple farm and picking apples directly from the tree. We are going to make sure they don't get refridgerated.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Update: Loquats

The loquat pits have sprouted and have been planted. We had 9 pits and all 9 pits sprouted. Unforunately 3 of the roots broke because they got attached to the paper towel or because it was too fragile. We found a clear 6 compartment box which we planted the the 6 remaining pits in. Since the box is clear we'll be able to track the root growth and progress better.

Loquat pits germinated

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

We Are Going To Redo the Gala Apples

We were wondering what was taking the Gala apple seeds so long to finally sprout so we decided to dig up some of the compartments. Apparently, the most recent bag of seed starter we bought is very low quality, it doesn't seem to want to absorb water. Due to that the seeds got no water and the roots dried up. We dug all 9 up and only one is still alive. We changed the seed starter for that one so hopefully it will still grow. We are going to get a new bag of seed starter and collect Gala apple seeds again. Since there are still a dozen or so Gala apples in the fridge, we still plan on going ahead with our comparison experiment. After we get 30 seeds we'll do the experiment side by side.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Avocado Update: Pits Have Shoots

Well the avocado pits now have shoots. Apparently both shoots sprouted at about the same time. There was not even a day between them.

I had to move the pit that was in water from the cup to a jar. There is a small shoot.

Avocado Pit in Water

The pit grown in soil has a longer shoot and the root found its way out of one of the drainage holes

Avocado Pit in Soil

Apparently, there is no difference whether you grow the avocado pit in water or in soil, just leave the skin on. But I did realize, putting the pit in water, it was much easier to see it's progress and when it needed more water.

Side by Side

What's Next?
Well I'm going to transfer the soil pit to a larger pot but I'm going to keep the water pit in water. I will make my decision when to transfer it to a pot when the jar is full of roots or when the shoot is 1 ft tall, which ever comes first. Like how most Internet instructions say, once it reaches 1 ft I will trim it down to 6 to 8 inches.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Update: Apples and Grapefruit

Gala Apples
2 of the remaining Gala apple seeds are growing very nicely. They'll be planted soon.

Gala apple seeds germinating

Granny Smith
Well that Granny Smith seed that was starting to germinate within the apple has now started it's leaves.

Granny Smith Apple Plant

Due to a really bad mold problem we had to throw away the grapefruit seeds in the paper towel. One no skin seed germinated though. The seed had seveal pieces and each seed sprouted a root.
On the otherhand, last week one of the no skin seeds in the pot germinated. A few days ago a skin one did too.

Left: No Skin Right:Skin

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Growing Granny Smith Apples From Seed

We're in the process of getting Granny Smith apple seeds when we found this:

Sprouted Granny Smith Apple Seed

Almost like the one we found in the Fuji apple. We currently don't have enough seeds to start planting but we have already planted this one and hopefully in the next few days it will germinate.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Gala Apple Seeds Germinating REALLY Well

So 12 days ago we decided to see if gala apples could germinate in room temperature, apparently they can. So far out of the 16 seeds we placed in the paper towel, 11 have germinated. In the remaining 5, 2 seem to be at the start of germination. This is far more than the 30% I was told to expect.

Gala Apple seeds that have germinated

Just like the Fuji apples, we have another mold problem. The fungicide seemed to delay it but didn't stop it. So we choose 9 of the strongest seeds, starting off with the ones that have green, then the ones with the longest roots, and we planted them in the remaining 9 compartments of the 12 compartment seed tray. As for the remaining 7, we changed paper towels, soaking it with fungicide again, and placed them there. Doing my online research, I was told that it would take 4 to 6 weeks for apple seeds to germinate and there would be a 30% germination rate. At the rate things are going, it's been almost 2 weeks and I have an almost 70% germination rate. Just to satisfy my curiosity, I will keep the remaining seeds in the paper towel for the next 2 to 4 weeks (To complete the 4 to 6 week cycle) to see how many of them grow.