Saving Apple Seeds: When And How To Harvest Apple Seeds

Sliced Apples Showing Seeds
(Image credit: GCapture)

Ahh. The perfect apple. Is there anything more delicious? I know that when I enjoy really good apples I just want more of them. I wish I could eat them year round or at least harvest my own every summer. Can’t I just plant some seeds from my favorite variety and ensure a life time of apple happiness? How exactly do I create this apple cornucopia? What do I do first? Maybe you have also wondered how and when to harvest apple seeds.

Growing Apples from Seeds

Growing apples from seeds is easy, but there is a caveat. The odds that you’ll get the exact fruit from the seed of your favorite variety are extremely low. It is more likely that you’ll get a tiny, tart apple that isn’t particularly tasty. The problem is that apples reproduce sexually, cross-pollinate freely and have a lot of genetic diversity. Variety is the name of their game. In addition, apples grown from seed often take a decade or more to bear fruit. If you really want more of your favorite apple and want it soon, it would be better to buy a grafted tree that will offer up fruit in two to three years.

When and How to Harvest Apple Seeds

Having said that, maybe you still feel adventurous and want to give it a try. Picking apples for seeds couldn’t be simpler; just select a ripe or slightly over ripe apple and eat it, then keep the seeds. When to harvest apple seeds depends on the variety. Some ripen in mid-summer and others don’t ripen until fall or late fall. Saving apple seeds involves a number of steps. After you have rinsed the seeds, lay them out on a piece of paper to dry for a couple of days. Store the seeds for three months in the fridge in a sealed plastic bag with moistened, sterile, peat moss potting soil. This allows the seeds to chill like they would normally do outdoors over the winter. It also allows the outer shell of the seed to soften. Check the peat moss soil periodically to ensure it is still moist. Add water if it is dry but don’t make the mixture soggy. After three months, you can plant the seeds about one-half inch (1.3 cm.) deep in a small pot. Put the pot in a sunny, warm spot. The seeds should germinate in a few weeks. You can transplant the seedling(s) into your selected spot in the garden after the first growing season. As you can see, how and when to harvest apple seeds is a simple process, but getting your favorite variety to reproduce the exact same variety of fruit is nearly impossible. View it as a fun experiment and enjoy the magic of growing your own apple tree from seed.

Karen Boness

Karen Boness is the founder of Wild Willow Design, an Australia-based company that specializes in ecological landscape design.