Gardening May 2023

by Jane Ahrens

From Mélie’s Garden

One of the things I enjoy most about nature is that it often is full of surprises. About a month ago I cut into an apple and saw small white things in the core. I immediately thought that the apple had worms in it, but with a closer look I saw something else. A number of seeds had started to put out tiny white roots! I carefully lifted the seeds out of the core and gently planted them into seed starting mix to see if they would continue to grow. I placed the seed tray under my grow- lights in a small seed starting “greenhouse”. In just a few days, much to my excitement, small sprouts appeared above the soil! I left the seedlings alone for about five days as they continued to grow and then transplanted them into pots with regular potting soil.

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There are now eight “HoneyCrisp” apple seedlings happily growing under the grow lights in the small greenhouse! It will be interesting to see how they will do once I remove them from this environment.

I will first turn off the grow lights at night to get the seedings accustom to night and day and then gradually move the pots from the little greenhouse as the weather gets warmer. I do not have a heating mat, so they have grown in fairly cool, but draft free atmosphere.

My next thought is to plant some apple seeds that haven’t put out roots and see if they will germinate in the same growing environment.

I have never been an expert at starting seedlings indoors – I am not good at getting the timing quite right. And it is difficult to harden off the plants before moving them into the garden. Something in nature always seems to happen, an unexpected windy rain storm or sudden cold snap, but the seedlings that do survive my “hardening off” care have often done well once safely planted. It is satisfying to grow varieties of plants you are especially fond of, but it is wonderful on Fishers Island to have Race Rock’s excellent choice of seedlings each year as a back up. The crew there puts together a great selection of plants and seedlings to buy. Jeff Edwards superb collection of Tomato varieties, he starts each year in their greenhouse, is really all you could wish for – however they don’t have sprouted apple seeds yet!

Featured Photo

USCG Eagle passing the Race early morning March 18, 2023 on her return from the Chesapeake Bay. Photo Credit Marlin Bloethe

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