This fall, grow your own personal orchard.

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Taking a trip to the apple orchard is one of our favorite fall activities. It's a great weekend adventure for the whole family, and no trip to the orchard ends without donuts and cider. You can even take home a basket of your hand-picked apples to bake into pies, breads, and fall pastries. Typically, when preparing apples for baking, we throw away the core and seeds. But just like pumpkin seeds gain new life when roasted, transforming into a crave-worthy fall snack, apple seeds can be repurposed and planted to grow your very own apple tree.

It may take a few years, but growing your own apple tree at home is endlessly rewarding. It's a gift that keeps on giving. Picking the fruits at harvest time will become one of your family's favorite new fall traditions. Plus, seed-saving is a great way to preserve and propagate lots of heirloom apple varieties.

So if you've got a little space to spare in your yard or garden, why not try your hand at growing your very own apple trees? It's a labor of love, but when you see that first apple sprout from the tree's branches, it will be so worth it.

How to Prepare the Seeds

To start the process, you'll want to remove the seeds from the core of your apple (you can use your favorite kind of apple from the grocery store or an orchard). Cut up the apple to use and carefully carve out every seed from around the core, ensuring there are no pieces of fruit clinging on. You want to save every seed you can to plant—this will increase the chances that you'll get a successful crop. Keep in mind that most apple trees are not grown directly from seeds, but from grafted trees, so these seed-grown plants can be highly variable and unpredictable. Lay the seeds out to dry on a paper towel, flipping them over every 2-4 days, for around 3 weeks.

You'll want to begin the seed-saving process in the fall so your germinated seeds will be ready to plant in the spring.

How to Germinate the Seeds

After the drying process is complete, sprinkle a handful of peat moss over the seeds on the paper towel, as well as a few drops of water. Mix the seeds in with the peat moss. Transfer the mixture to a plastic bag and refrigerate for 3 months to facilitate the germination process.

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How to Plant the Apple Seeds

While cooling, your seeds will have sprouted in their moss mixture. Prepare your garden plot by removing any weeds and spreading compost over the soil to add nutrients. Create a furrow and plant the sprouted seeds in the ground, around one foot apart from each other. Cover the furrows to protect the seeds. And that's it! You've planted your very own apple trees.

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