Drax
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Drax

Grow your own Apple tree

Don’t let pips go to waste and try your hand at gardening!

What you will need:

Apple pips — save them when you have one of your 5 a day!

Kitchen roll/toilet paper — only a couple of sheets

Small plastic flower pots — empty yoghurt pots work too

Small amount of soil/compost

Patience!

Instructions:

Try to save up as many pips as you can (about 30% of pips will germinate) and pop them on to a sheet of absorbent paper, fold the sheet over and moisten. Make sure that you keep it moist at all times and carefully check each morning to see if there is any development!

While you are waiting for the pips to sprout you can prepare the pots that they will start to grow in; fill a small plastic pot with soil/compost and make a hole with your finger in the centre of the surface of the soil.

When the pips germinate you can carefully place them into the little hole that you made and gently cover with soil, 1 per pot. Keep the soil moist at all times but don’t make it too wet. After a few days the sprout from the germinated pip will poke its head through the soil and leaves will begin to unfurl.

Keep your apple tree by a window, if possible where it will be in the sunshine on a nice day. Remember to water it, but not too much — the top of the soil should be slightly moist not wet. Once your sapling looks sturdy enough to be handled without you damaging it (usually a couple of weeks) and the weather forecast is looking frost-free at night you can move it in its pot on to an outside window ledge, balcony or if you have one, a garden — ideally in a sunny spot. If you have been using anything other than a flower pot you will need to make some small holes in the bottom of the pot now to allow water to drain out, ask a grown up to help.

Your tree should continue to grow now and it will become acclimatised to the outside world.

Eventually it will need to be re-potted, once you see the roots beginning to spread out from the holes in the bottom of the pot. If you do have a garden you can plant it out into a flower bed or even lawn — but check with a grown up first! If you don’t have a garden or would rather keep your tree in a pot then you simply need to choose a bigger container to put the tree into (make sure that it has holes in the bottom and if possible line the bottom of the pot with small pebbles to help drainage).

Your patience may be rewarded if you are lucky. The picture above is of a tree that was grown from a pip that my daughter, Alice, planted in a pot in 2003. It now lives in her grandma & grandad’s garden and has beautiful blossom in the spring and little ‘crab’ apples in the autumn that we make jam from!

Good luck and enjoy eating your apples first!

Glossary

Germinate: begin to grow

Absorbent: able to soak up liquid

Moisten: make a little bit wet

Development: something new that has happened

Unfurl: spread out

Sapling: a young tree

Sturdy: strong

Acclimatised: getting used to new surroundings

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