We can’t all be as scrumptious as pumpkin seeds.
In fact, most fruit seeds are entirely indigestible, gross-tasting or even dangerous for us humans to eat.
But that doesn’t make them any less useful – especially if you want to work on coloring in your green thumb.
Money may not grow on trees – but fruits sure do. And if you’re anything like us, a lot of your money goes toward produce anyway, so you might as well learn how to grow your own!
Indeed, if you can’t eat ‘em or send ‘em to the compost pile, why not use those fruit seeds to make some fruit trees?
Of course, there are a number of considerations that go into the gardening biz, including how much space you have to work with and the general climate you live in, or will provide for the plants. And planting seeds takes patience, with most projects not coming to fruition for several years.
But if you’re willing to get your hands dirty – and dig into a little research – you can have a venerable produce aisle in your own backyard. All it takes is some seed packets, time, and a little bit of love.
NOTE: Every plant is different, and entire books could be written on how to care for each of the different varieties of fruit out there, but below are a few key suggestions and starting points for how to turn some of the most prolific fruit seeds into the garden of your dreams.
Lemons are one of the easier seeds to plant, and bear some of the sweetest sour fruit out there.
You can get started with just a pot of some solid soil and anywhere between 5 or 10 seeds. (You can either order seed packets off of Amazon or other seed sites, or get them directly from your lemons – just make sure you look for the plumper examples if you’re using fresh lemons as a source.)
Lemons typically like to soak it all in, so once your seeds are planted, make sure to keep the soil moist, watering your lemon seeds about 2-3 times per week.
And lemons love light even more than they love water, with the plant requiring anywhere from 10 to 14 hours of daily sunlight at their early age. (Full-grown lemon trees need around 8 hours of light per day.)
Once the roots reach the draining holes of their pot, it’s time to exchange it out for a bigger one – or even transfer your fledgling lemon factor to an outdoor setting.
But remember: It may take 5 or as many as 15 years for your lemon tree to start bearing fruit.
This one takes a bit more prep work to get started, but you’ll be more than rewarded with a lifetime of avocado toast.
Start your avocado nut on the right track to treehood by piercing it with 3 or 4 toothpicks, then placing it—broad-side down—in a glass of warm water. (The water should cover about an inch of the avocado seed.)
Keep the glass in a warm (but direct sunlight-free!) place for 2 to 6 weeks, until it sprouts its own roots. Then transfer your little seedling to a more soily environment – though make sure to keep the seed half exposed to the air, even after you plant it.
Encourage your fledgling plant with water 2-3 times per week. And remember: avocado seeds do better when planted between March and June, and it can take anywhere from 5-13 years before your full-sized tree is ready.
If you prefer your salads on the heirloom side – or just studded with plenty of those juicy red bites – planting your own tomatoes is a great way to go.
Order a seed packet of your tomato variety of choice, then bury one or two seeds in a small pot of loose, well-draining soil. (You can fill up an entire tray with soil and seeds for this experiment.)
Keep the tray in a warm area, water your seeds 2-3 times per week, and in about a month, you should see some green sprouts pop up to say hello.
At this point, it should be safe to transfer your seedling to a larger environment. But don’t forget to add a nearby support, like a trellis or tomato cage, as these vines love to grow upward toward the sun.
Pineapples are one of the weirdest wonders of nature, coming into this world as an exact miniature of themselves.
It mostly goes to figure, then, that this cloning process requires a bit of a DNA assist from an adult plant.
Start on the road to pineapple cultivation by slicing off the crown of a fully-grown fruit. Make sure to cut away the rind and any fresh fruit that may go on to rot later, endangering your chances for success.
Then, make very thin slices on the end of the stalk until you start to see some brown dots. Those are the chutes of unformed roots, which can go on to sprout again once the pineapple crown has been replanted.
You’ll have to let the stalk dry out for a few days first, before burying it in some fast-draining soil and keeping the thing only lightly watered for a while.
It may take some patience, but by the next year, you should start to see enough progress in your plant to move it to a larger pot.
Apples are another strange bit of botany, with no guarantee that the apple you’ll get will be the same as the seed you planted.
That’s because you’ll have to use two different types of seeds for your apple tree to bear fruit, in order for the genetics to trigger germination.
Start your seeds off on a moist paper towel, then place it into a sealable plastic bag, and put it in the fridge from anywhere between 70-80 days. Time your long wait to end right around the early spring, but after the last frost, which is the premier time to plant your apple seeds.
Start their life in a sunny spot, and make sure you have plenty of water on hand. Apple trees need to be watered every 10-12 days when they’re younger, though the trees can stand longer draught times as they being to grow.
And while we’re on the subject: you’d also be well to be warned that apple trees will always grow to their full, glorious height – typically topping out around 30 ft. – unless you order specific seeds for a dwarf tree. Though, it will take anywhere from 8 to 10 years to see the sapling reach its full fruiting potential.
Johnny Appleseed may have made it look easy – but with a little dedication, you can be your own fruit tree-growing legend.