11 August 2014

When Knowledge Takes Root, New Ideas Germinate

OK, new plan.  After planting those seeds, I started actually reading up on the raising of trees from seeds.  What a concept!  As it turns out, you can't just plant apple seeds and have them grow right away.

I had been thinking of what we did in elementary school, which involved taking dried beans and watching them germinate in moist paper towels in the windows.  Those beans sprouted little plants within days.

In other words, those beans lied to me.

Apple seeds germinate during the winter, apparently.  Since I currently live in Texas, where "winter" is a euphemism for "the coolest part of summer", I had to simulate Winter.  I placed four seeds in a moistened paper towel, put that into a plastic bag, and put that into the refrigerator.

Fast forward to today.  Four weeks after I put the seeds into an artificially cold environment, I checked on them.  One tiny little guy has germinated.

The others show no signs of life, as yet, so I put them back and kept this one out.  Now, on to planting.

Now, as much as I would LOVE to have a little bonsai at my desk, my current setup doesn't have room for a bonsai.  SO I decided to look at other things I could do.

My roommate, Jean, was complaining about all of the empty bottles and jars I've been collecting, with an emphasis on the fact that I can't use one of my alternate "planting pots" when placing plants outside.  Now, I don't know that an apple tree can be kept as a desk plant, and I definitely want to give this little thing room to grow.  I didn't have any actual pots handy, and definitely need to get a big one for this, so I decided to go with something very non-traditional.

Did I select a pill box for planting my first apple tree?  Yes.  Yes, I did.  But wait, hear me out...

The cardboard box is ideal for planting a new seedling, because it's small enough to move easily, and will have no problems holding the soil.  And when it's time to replant, I don't actually have to remove the box.  I can plant the box right into the soil of the bigger pot, and the box will become compost.

So, I folded the flaps inside the box, to reinforce the strength of the box, but, more importantly, to get them out of my way so that I could think.

I added soil to the box, filling it about half-way.  Then, I dropped the seed into the center and filled the box the rest of the way.

The potting soil I chose is, according to the label, formulated for vegetables, fruits, flowers, and herbs.  I figured apples might fall somewhere under there, so I used that kind.  Next, for moisture.

Obviously, cardboard's One True Weakness is water.  Well, water and fire.  I'm concerned with water.  I need to be able to water my little plant.  Due to the way these boxes are coated in some kind of shiny mystery layer, I wasn't worried about the box falling apart, as long as I didn't overwater, but obviously the box would still leak water through the bottom.  So I needed something to catch and hold the excess moisture.

Enter the lid.  I took a jar lid that would have gone into the trash and cleaned it thoroughly.

And that's it.  I added just enough water to moisten the soil (I hoped) and the runoff sits in the lid.  As the soil dries, some of the water should soak up from the lid back into the soil.

And that's it for now.  Let's see how this seed turns out, and also let's see how long it takes before Jean starts screaming, "You planted a tree in what?!?!?"

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