I grow a number of different apples trees. They are all grafted except for one which I grew from seed. Want to know what happens when you start growing apple trees from seed? Here’s what I did and what happened.
I love apples. Any apples. But especially big colourful juicy ones. Magnificent red and golden “Pink Lady” apples are my favorite. They hit the spot in every way. The only sadness is when you’ve nibbled down to the core and there’s nothing left.
There is another issue with Pink Lady apples though. The price. Supermarkets cunningly know how delicious Pink Lady apples are. They price them accordingly. Often you end up paying twice the price of lesser eating apples for Pink Ladies.
But do Pink Lady apples cost twice as much to grow, ship and display? Of course not.
So about five years ago I planned to get even. I’d grow my own Pink Lady apple trees from seed. So I waited until I found a particularly beautiful, sweet and juicy Pink Lady. I savored every moment as I devoured the fruit. Then I saved the seeds from the tattered remains of a Pink Lady Apples core.
I planted them. They grew. All of them! I had ten little apple trees. I dreamed of starting my own orchard.
Sadly (as these things go) eight turned out to be runts. But two grew strongly. I potted one (it lasted 3 years and then failed to thrive) I planted the other in a patch of ground in my garden.
This sole survivor grew and grew. After three years it blossomed. It was magnificent. The show of blossom made all my other apple trees pale by comparison. I eagerly awaited the fruit. It came. The crop was bountiful. Maybe fifty beautiful red and golden apples. See the picture above. These are apples from this years crop. Impressive eh?
Looks like a perfect apple doesn’t it? In many ways it is perfect. Except one.
Here’s the same apples with a centimeter graded ruler against them.
Apples rely on cross pollination. So the result is that if you grow apples trees from seed no two will be the same. That’s why almost all apple trees are grafts. A branch cut off a Pink Lady tree (or whatever) is attached to the root stock of a.n.other apple tree. The branch takes over the root stock and grows Pink Lady Apples. But the Pink Lady Apples won’t necessarily produce Pink Lady Apple trees from seed (in fact they almost certainly will not). A quick browse through the “Fruit Gardeners Bible” or “Apples and How to Grow them” will tell how it should be done.
There are actually other problems with my miniature apples. They taste like cardboard. Even the squirrels have left them on the tree. Here it is in mid winter on a rainy day with apples still attached. The squirrels may be starving but they draw the line at eating fraudulent Pink Lady apples.
The bogus Pink Lady apple tree is still doing well. But I feel swindled. So when it gets a bit bigger I’ll chop it down and use it as firewood. Rubbish fruit or not I bet the burning apple wood will still smell wonderful on a winters night.