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DanielW
Clark County, WA
519 Posts
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1
July 11, 2015 - 8:29 pm

This seems like a good topic since there is a lot of fresh fruit now, and if someone wants to save seeds, now is the time.

I have two genetic dwarf peach "trees" that grew from seeds of either Garden Gold or Honeybabe.  I am not sure which - I have both, and the trees germinated in my compost.  I saved those to see if I can grow them in containers.  A tree shape is not so important, and they are quite ornamental.  Each is 3 years old, no blooms yet.

 

Mother Earth News has a good article about growing stone fruits from seeds.  Basically-

#Collect and clean the fruit pits.  Freestone are easier.  For cling-stone, if the pit is soaked in water a day or two, it cleans up easier than when fresh.

#Let them dry for a few days.

#Crack the pits open using a vice or nutcracker.  I use a vice grip.  That can be entertaining when I do it wrong and the seed flies across the room.  Fingers can be crushed, although I have not done that yet.

#Stratify the seeds in cold, either in fridge or outside in garden during the winter.

#Pot them up when they start growing.

The Mother Earth News article has a lot more detail.  There are also some You Tube videos on the topic.  Sometimes I skip all of the details of splitting and stratifying in the fridge, and just plant the seeds in a garden bed or container, which I leave outside.  Other times I have stratified, sweet cherry seedlings and wild plums, keeping them in paper towel in zip-lock bag in fridge a few months, then growing in container in window sill until Spring.

Wild plum seeds before cracking

After cracking.

 

This year, I want to grow some apricots for container trees.  I also found some Bella Gold Peacotums sold by a local grower from Marysville, Wa at my workplace farmer's market.  I know it's a total gamble - the seeds might not be viable, and they were likely pollinated by plums or who knows what, but there is no harm in trying.  I saved seeds from El Dorado genetic dwarf peaches to grow as well, even though I don't know what I will do with the plants if they grow.  I might grow some peach pits, for root stock for other varieties.  And finally, I think there is a big need for peach leaf curl resistant peaches, locally.  The one curl-resistant variety that I have that looks like it will produce well this year is Oregon Curl Free.  I would like to save seeds from that, let them grow out in the open and if any are curl resistant, see how they turn out.  These were open pollinated, but I also randomly hand pollinated with pollen from Charlotte peach and from Honeybabe and Garden Gold.

I know growing fruit trees from seeds is a gamble.  There might be some good points -

SmileFor the home grower, locally grown fruit varieties might be better adapted for the area, than nursery hybrids.  For example, a local peach that has been observed to be curl free without spray, would be a real find in the Portland area.  Some varieties, such as the specialized California Zaiger hybrids, are super-tasty, but not developed for climates outside California.  They can be disease prone (peaches, peach-plum) or die from early frosts (aprium), or just not thrive.  If you see a local plum tree that is producing like crazy in conditions of neglect - it might be a locally useful variety.

SmileYour own fruits do not have to be developed to ship, to be big, to present well in the grocery store.  Your priorities are different from those of big name hybridizers.

SmileYou might just need a rootstock for grafts.  Some seedling trees, such as peaches can be used for rootstock.

SmileSome trees are difficult to find, such as wild plums.  Seedlings might be the easiest way to obtain them.

SmileIt's fun to see what happens. 

SmileIt's free.

 

My grandfather had his own peaches and apricots from seed grown trees.  All that I can recall, is that I liked them.

 

The negatives,

FrownYou don't really know what you will get - Will the fruit taste good?  Will it bear at all?  Will it be vigorous?  Some fruits, especially peaches an apricots, do have a chance to be similar to their parent variety, since many are self pollinating and are not highly hybridized.

FrownIt may take many years to get the fruit.   Grafting can sometimes speed up that process.

I'm sure neither list is comprehensive.   I hope someone finds this info useful, and has some experiences to share.

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jafar
798 Posts
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2
July 12, 2015 - 2:29 am

Very cool Daniel.  I look forward to your new discoveries, especially with the curl resistant peaches.

 

Do you have any idea when in their development peach seeds become viable?  I have a bunch of pits under my tree from thinnings I pulled and dropped.  I think the deer eat the flesh off.  I'm wondering if some of them are viable.  I guess it wouldn't hurt to scoop them up and throw them in the compost.

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DanielW
Clark County, WA
519 Posts
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3
July 12, 2015 - 7:07 pm

Jafar,

As I understand it, the riper, the better seed viability. 

It certainly wouldn't hurt to see what they do in the compost.  I've had a number of peaches, cherries, and avocados sprout in my composter.

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redberry
51 Posts
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4
July 13, 2015 - 7:50 pm

In terms of seed viability, earlier ripening peach varieties tend not to produce viable seed according to the Mother Earth News article.  Last year I was all excited to save the pits from my Q1-8 peaches only to read that statement and crack open the pits and find they were not fully developed.  I had not thought about maybe purchasing a known variety from a Farmer's Market later in the summer and seeing if those seeds looked more viable.

Daniel: how long have you had your peach trees and have you had any disease issues?

redberry

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Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
428 Posts
(Offline)
5
July 14, 2015 - 5:42 pm

Growing fruit trees from seed can definitely be satisfying.  The price is right, and there's the fun of watching a tree go from seed to sapling to bearing-age tree.  When I was in college in southern California I lived in a partially-converted garage behind my parents' house where I had a nice little garden.  One of the things that I grew was an apricot from seed (--amazing how quickly an apricot can grow to blooming size!).  It had surprisingly tasty fruits, so when I got married and my wife and I bought our first house, I brought over some apricot seeds and grew a few more.  The fruits were just as good.  Then a co-worker who knew that I liked to grow nearly anything from seed gave me some seeds of loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) that she had eaten at lunch.  These also grew quickly, becoming beautiful, small, evergreen trees that were loaded with fruit each year.

Of course you can definitely improve your odds of getting edible fruit of a more highly selected fruit, like apple, if you can choose the parent varieties, then make a controlled cross between them.  When I go out in our yard each day one of the things I do is look at a particular enlarging apple on my young 'Bramley's Seedling' tree.  I emasculated the flower and pollinated it with 'Kidd's Orange Red' apple pollen.  Each time I look at the apple I imagine the progress of those little growing pips inside and contemplate what some of those apples might taste like.  Grafting the established seedlings onto dwarfing rootstock would speed up the time to first fruiting in order to determine whether any of them are worth keeping.  Then again, if you're a cider maker most apples can find a place in the mix if balanced appropriately, whether sweet, tart, or astringent.

Tim.

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John S
PDX OR
2868 Posts
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6
July 17, 2015 - 10:47 am

This is a great topic. Like Daniel, I get free peach trees every year.  I wasn't bold enough to buy a peach tree, but if nature gives me one from the compost, I'll take it.  I should say that I'll take one, not many.  It's loaded this year. Before I spray it with fungal based compost tea it looks like death warmed over, but it recovers. The peaches are delicious, but we never got many til this year.  I am stoked.  

Peaches, like paw paws and most fruit, actually create new fruit within a fairly narrow vein. Everyone I've talked to who has grown peaches from seeds likes their flavor.  I know people who purchased a named variety and think it's just ok. Pie cherries are all good from seed too.  Most sweet cherries taste good but it is a wider range. They are universally smaller, but that will keep the thieving invasive bird flocks from stripping it in 3 hours. I get tons of apple trees in my compost too.

Since I get way more trees than I can actually plant in my suburban yard, I don't want to work as hard as Daniel to make it happen, but I do appreciate how it might help someone else.

John S
PDX OR

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DanielW
Clark County, WA
519 Posts
(Offline)
7
July 30, 2015 - 10:57 am

Thanks for the replies Redberry, John, Reinettes.

I thought I would post some updates.

These are genetic dwarf peaches that grew out of my compost in 2013.  They were in garden bed the first 2 years. I wanted to shelter them from rain so transferred to containers last fall.  The foil reflects light from the black nursery pots to keep them cooler.

genetic dwarf peach seedlings

 

It was interesting to crack the pits of the El Dorado genetic dwarf peaches that I saved and let dry for 2 weeks.  The seeds inside were like tiny little dried out potato chips.

 

El Dorado Peach Seeds

 

I soaked them in water for 2 days.  Now they are plump again.  I don't know if they are viable.  From what I read, seeds that float are not viable.  These floated, but when they soaked up the water, they sank.  No harm trying.

rehydrated peach seeds

The peacotum seeds also plumped up with a 2 day soaking.  The apricot seeds were not dried out so I did not soak them.

 

Now they are in the fridge stratifying.  From what I read, that will require about 2 months.  They are in jars in wet paper towel.  I might change that to zipper bags, which might breathe a little more, I don't know.

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Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
428 Posts
(Offline)
8
July 30, 2015 - 1:52 pm

Daniel -- From the photograph I'd guess that the seeds probably aren't viable just based on how thin they are.  I could be wrong though.  I've been fooled by plants before!

I have a plum tree in my yard that is a flowering and fruiting sized 'Marianna 2624'.  This is supposed to be used as a semi-dwarfing rootstock but, um, it never got grafted to anything.  It flowers heavily and a couple of years ago I collected a couple of fruits that appeared on it.  These are only about one to 1.5 inches across but are amazingly sweet and tasty, similar to a Japanese plum in flavor.  I saved the two seeds, planted them in 1-gallon pots, and let them be stratified naturally outdoors during the winter.  Unfortunately neither one germinated.  This year it has produced quite a few more fruits, so I'm saving the pits to try again.  I've never cracked the seeds out of the pits on stonefruits before but I might give it a try this time.  It's possible that the seeds are non-viable.  Rehder, in his Manual of Cultivated Trees and Shrubs (1940 [2nd Ed. 1986]), gives the putative parentage of 'Marianna' as "P. cerasifera x P. munsoniana or P. ?angustifolia".  This was probably based on morphological study alone.  Marianna may turn out to be a sterile hybrid, but I figure it doesn't hurt to try sowing the seeds anyway.  (Actually, it would surprise me if someone hasn't yet done molecular work with the Prunus spp. and figured out the actual parentage for 'Marianna' by now.)  

Tim.

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DanielW
Clark County, WA
519 Posts
(Offline)
9
July 31, 2015 - 5:48 am

Tim,

My guess from the dried out seeds is they would be nonviable too.  I don't know if a nonviable seed would plump back up, so who knows?  For me this is uncharted territory.

It will be interesting to see if your plum seeds grow, once released from the pits.  You are right, it doesn't hurt to try.

I'm stratifying mine in the refrigerator.  If they are going to grow, we should know in 2 or 3 months.  That is not the best time of the year for a seedling tree, but maybe then I can keep them under my light set-up to give them a head start to next year.  That's if they grow at all.

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zebraworks
3 Posts
(Offline)
10
January 24, 2016 - 2:55 pm

Almost 2 years ago I sprouted some trees from pits.  I have 19 plum trees about 3ft tall now that were taken from the seed of my satsuma however I guess it is likely that the satsuma used pollen from the Santa Rosa next to it.  I've tried to search google on what kind of results occur from this kind of cross between satsuma and Santa Rosa? 

Anyone ever heard what happens with this cross as far as the trees from the seed?

I also have 4 peach trees as well I grew from pits (I think they may have been redhaven? but those I have no idea what they were crossed with as I only bought the fruit). 

I have planted about 100 other fruit trees around our house (seedlings from commercial nursery) but realized that grafting would have been the way to go and so I am going to get some rootstock in Feb. and try to graft some satsuma, King apple, honeycrisp and a wild apple that has been here for years that is excellent winter green/yellowish (it was grafted onto tree 50 years ago from a volunteer tree by my grandfather). 

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redberry
51 Posts
(Offline)
11
April 9, 2016 - 8:19 pm

Hi:

I thought I'd post a picture of my mini-peach nursery.  All of the sprouts in the 1 gal containers are from purchased peaches but the one in the purple pot is from my Q1-8 tree.  The seed for the Q1-8 was all shrivelled like the ones in DanielW's post so I was surprised I got it to sprout.  I had a really good yield of peaches last year (photo of one below) from my Q1-8 tree but the tree is not well...bacterial canker.  i might be better off waiting for these little ones to develop than replacing the current tree.  It looks like John has had some success.

DanielW:  Do you have an update on your trees and seeds?

redberry

Peach11.2.JPGPeachSeedlings.JPG

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DanielW
Clark County, WA
519 Posts
(Offline)
12
April 10, 2016 - 7:36 pm

Redberry, my seedling trees looked great, then they didn't.  I think it was spider mites.  I have sat them all outside.    If they live, they live, if not, I have too many anyway.

 

I do have some genetic dwarf peach seedlings germinating in an outdoor bed, and one genetic dwarf peach tree that has bloomed and looks like the flowers set.  I don't know what they will be like.  That one is 4 years old.

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jafar
798 Posts
(Offline)
13
June 18, 2024 - 6:57 pm

I deleted the suspicious 1st time post from gardenupcycle that included a link ostensibly about growing peach from seed.  If you were the poster, feel free to object here and we can discuss my thinking.

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