If you fill an empty egg carton with soil and plant an apple seed in each cup, it won't be long before you have little apple sprouts on your window ledge. Not all apple seeds will actually germinate, so planting 12 seeds at a time won't guarantee you a backyard orchard. It will, however, be an enjoyable project that might, in future years, result in fruit on your table.
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In nature, apple seed germination takes several months. Apples fall to the ground in autumn, and the seeds rest in the cold winter and begin germinating as spring approaches. You can duplicate this at home by extracting seeds from an apple, rinsing and drying them, and storing them in your refrigerator for a month or two before planting. You can speed up this process by taking seeds directly from the apple and planting them in small amounts of soil on your window ledge.
After a year or so, a sprout that has been exposed to optimal growing conditions will be between 2 and 3 feet tall. It won't have branches yet but will be fairly sturdy. At this stage it is no longer called a sprout but a "whip."
After another year or two, branches begin to form. It is now hardy enough to be transplanted and established in a new location. Trees available for purchase are usually at this stage.
Once your young tree has been planted in its permanent location, it can take another three years for it to start blossoming and producing fruit. If you are hoping to one day get apples from your planted apple seeds, be prepared to be patient. It can take up to 10 years for an apple seed to bear fruit.
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