Germinating Peach Pits is Easy: Check Out These Pics


My video on germinating peach pits has garnered almost 30,000 views since I posted it back in July:

Since posting that instructional video, I have received multiple comments and emails from people thanking me for showing them how to grow their own peaches from seeds.

My friend Amanda, who is NOT obsessed with me at all, sent me these two pictures recently of her peach sprouting success:

sprouting-peach-pits-1 sprouting-peach-pits-2

Some years ago I discovered in some dusty corner of the internet that peach pits require cold stratification to germinate.

I put this knowledge to the test with great success, starting about 50 peach pits I found beneath an abandoned and squirrel-ravaged Tropic Beauty peach growing a few miles from my old place in North Florida.


I did this despite the fact that there are hordes of small-minded gardeners in the world who take great pleasure in lecturing everyone about the utter worthlessness of starting fruit trees from seed.

These people are wrong. And boring. And stupid. And they smell.

Here’s a video I did showing some of my seed-grown peach trees in fruit:

And here are two pictures of some of the delicious fruit I got as a result of germinating peach pits in my very own refrigerator:

lovelypeaches2 lovelypeaches3

In their SECOND year, my two seedling peach trees produced about five gallons of fruit. They continued to massively outproduce the grafted peach trees I planted before them, plus they grew with more vigor.

Growing fruit trees from seed isn’t a dumb thing to do. It’s a great thing to do. It’s a YUGE, high energy thing to do.

Sometimes the “experts” aren’t really experts. They’re just people who say things adamantly because they’ve heard other people say the same things.

Heck with that.

Better Gardening Through Experimentation isn’t just a film I made… it’s my modus operandi.

Thanks for the pictures, Amanda, and may your peaches grow and produce abundantly.

Finally, here’s how you germinate peach pits:


Have fun!


Sprouting Apricot Pits


Sprouting apricot pits is easy. You germinate apricots just like you germinate peach pits… and if you watch my video, you’ll be starting your own apricot trees from seed in no time.

sprouting apricot pits germinate apricot

Look at the beautiful apricot pit bursting into life!

That said, no matter how many times you do something, once you do it on film you start to worry if you did it right.

When I did my “How to Germinate Peaches (and Other Stone Fruit)” video back in July I hoped I would have some success, even though I’ve done this before and never had it fail:

After buying the fruit, doing the work to make a nice video and posting it to YouTube… doubts entered my mind.

Could the fruit I chose be sterile? Might the pits fail to germinate and just mold over instead? Should I have cracked the pits first and just taken out the kernels?

Will the universe conspire against me to make everything I do fall into weeping and ashes?

Apparently not:

Now I have no idea if I can get an apricot to grow in the tropics but, by golly, I’m going to give it a go. I know it will be fine for the first half-year until it needs a winter dormancy. Maybe I can build a big outdoor fridge! Sprouting apricot pits is just the start… now I actually need to grow the trees.

That said, if my seedling peaches are any indicator, we’re going to do fine with the tree part:

Apricots are one of my favorite dried fruit. I wish I’d tried this with apricot pits back in Florida or Tennessee where I’d have a better chance of getting fruit, but we’ll try tricking them into fruiting here by leaf-stripping during the dry season. It could happen, and if not: well, we pulled off a good demonstration on how to germinate apricots, at least! The other pits haven’t germinated yet but they can take a few months. I’ll bet we get a few more soon.


Food Forest Spacing: How I Do It


Dylan asks about food forest spacing:

“I have (a) question … about the permaculture food forest concept. How do you address the spacing issues? I don’t mean traditional spacing like planting 20 rows of corn at 16 inches apart and in rows 2-3 feet apart blah blah blah, but how do you make sure that you aren’t putting a plant out all by itself or vice-versa not having one plant shadow out the smaller bushes and shrubs and things like that?”

My answer on food forest spacing


That is a huge question.

Here is a picture of part of my previous food forest:

food forest spacing

There is a lot going on there!

Generally, I like to fill up the space with a bunch of nitrogen-fixing and biomass-producing species. I make sure that the large trees that you cannot keep cropped back, such as pecans, are placed towards edges will they will not shade everything else.

I tend to start a lot of trees from seed and cuttings and plant more densely than the final food forest will be.

Know this: you can prune and bend the living daylights out of many fruit trees and keep them from overcoming the space. Plant a lot more, then clear later as the need arises.

Nature will evolve a system.


No, not like that.

No new species are likely to spontaneously generate in your food forest.

However, species will arrive.

Weeds, insects, birds, reptiles…

Things start to get exciting after a while as systems and checks and balances arrive.

Your initial biomass plants can be chopped and dropped to feed the trees you really love and want to produce food for you in the future.

In my book Create Your Own Florida Food Forest, I argue the value of a small plant nursery area. When you are spending big money on trees and shrubs, it’s hard to cut them down and you worry too much.

You can create 100 fig trees in one weekend via cuttings.

Or a flat of honey locust.

Or you can stick cuttings of Mexican sunflower and cassava all over the place.

Even starting your own peaches from seed is easy.

I let wild trees pop up wherever they like. Some can be grafted, others can be used for trellises, you can feed them to other trees by chopping them down or you can use the wood in your rocket stove. Food forest spacing isn’t a big deal. Just watch those un-prunable trees.

Planning is fine. Over-planning may mean you never end up with a food forest.

Nature is malleable – get out there and get planting.

No fear.


Sprout Apple Seeds for Fun and Fruit!


How would you sprout apple seeds like these?

sprout apple seeds

If you’ve ever wondered how to sprout apple seeds, I demonstrate the process in a recent episode of Totally Crazy Easy Gardening:

A couple of days ago I followed up that demonstration with a report on how the germination had turned out…  and, I got Rachel to join me in potting up the young apple trees.

I was quite happy with the results. I believe we got a 100% success rate, as we didn’t find any seeds in the jar which hadn’t sprouted.  It took one month for the seeds to germinate in the refrigerator. Not bad at all.

As for the question “will these apples grow in the tropics,” yes, they should, since Kevin Hauser knows his stuff.

However, we may have to wait 8 to 10 years to find out if they will actually fruit…  and if that fruit is good, so-so, or poor. If it is poor, it will still be good for pies. Even crab apples have their uses.

How to Sprout Apple Seeds

All you need to do is eat a few apples and save the seeds. Plant the seeds rapidly and don’t let them dry out.

You’re not planting them in their final location at first. As you can see in the first video, Rachel simply puts them in some moist potting soil in a jar, and then places that jar in the refrigerator. A Ziploc bag works even better than a jar. Within a month, the seeds had already sprouted and were growing roots.

sprout apple seeds

Once you see little roots and shoots, transplant them just as we did in the second video.

Occasionally, apple seeds will already be germinating inside the apple or will start right away from the fruit. My friend Steven Edholm at Skillcut, remarked in the comments of the first video that many apples are stored under refrigeration which breaks the dormancy cycle of the seeds, so sometimes all you need to sprout apple seeds is to plant them directly.

Don’t place your newly transplanted apple seedlings right into full sun. Find a shady spot and put them there and take extra care when they’re young. Soon they’ll be large enough transplant into your orchard or food forest.

Why Sprout Apple Seeds?

I’ve always been a fan of growing trees from seed, particularly edible fruit trees. There’s a certain magic to growing something from a tiny little sprout into a productive and useful tree. I gained a huge amount of satisfaction from the peach trees I started from seed some years ago. When they started producing peaches, I firmly believe they were the best peaches in the entire world. In the entire history of peaches, there were no peaches as excellent as the peaches I started from seed. You can’t talk me out of this fanciful belief so don’t even try.

Sprouting apple seeds is an excellent homeschool project. The same goes for germinating peach pits, though it generally takes longer. If you live in a climate where apple trees grow, and they grow in a lot more places than you might think, why not start your own apple trees from seed? Then if they don’t turn out to be what you expected, go ahead and graft them.


You can get my grafting movie for a donation of any amount at this link. It demonstrates three simple methods of grafting. (If you’re poor, or a widow, take it for free. If not, please deposit a huge amount of money into my PayPal account. Thank you in advance. Every little bit helps. And huge amounts of cash help even more.)

There’s really nothing to lose when you plant fruit tree seeds. You can plant more seeds for trees then you need, then thin them out. It’s not like you have any money invested in the process. All you’re out is a little bit of time.

If you had a tree that was absolutely abysmal and you didn’t want to graft it,  apple wood is great for smoking!

My friend William at Permacuture Apprentice wrote a nice big post on growing trees from seed that you might enjoy.

Go, plant those seeds. Once you start you’ll never look at an apple core the same way. So much potential!


An Orlando Food Forest


Orlando Food Forest

A few years ago I helped some friends start a food forest near Orlando.

Last week the owner sent me some photos from this project and said I could share them here. Things are really starting to grow up – it’s amazing what a bit of time can do, particularly when you start a food forest on decent soil with lots of mulch.

The area where this food forest is located is surrounded by citrus groves and swamp. The soil has a good organic matter content with black muck mixed into the sand wherever you dig.

It’s hot and the air is still, however, so despite the decent (though sandy) soil, it’s not the easiest place to grow a food forest. The area is in between tropical and temperate, with at least a few freezes each winter that keep the owners from growing great tropical fruit like sapotes and mango… but not enough chill hours for good temperate fruit trees like apple and pear.

That said, the few freezes in winter haven’t hurt their banana crops too much:


Those are “Dwarf Cavendish” banana trees. They also have some of my previous collection of bananas, including “Raja Puri,” “1,000 Fingers,” “Ice Cream”, “Orinoco” and even Cheeseman’s Banana, which is a wild type that’s more of an ornamental than edible.

Another difficulty when growing a food forest near Orlando is the brutal summer heat. To head off the weeds and the hot sand, the homeowners dumped tons of mulch from a local tree company.


The mulch adds organic matter, keeps roots cool and conserves moisture. It just took a lot of work to acquire and then spread around, particularly considering the half-acre size of this food forest project.


Right now the food forest is at what I call the “bad haircut” phase, where it’s in between being perfect little trees surrounded by an ocean of mulch… and a full-on, cool forest with a close-to-closed canopy.

If you’ve ever decided to grow your hair long from a short haircut, you know what I mean. Nothing quite looks how you want it to until it reaches the right length.

By next spring, this system is going to really look amazing. Check out the fruit that’s coming in now:

Orlando_Food_Forest_2 Orlando_Food_Forest_3 Orlando_Food_Forest_14

Peaches, nectarines and mulberries in abundance.

When I plan out a food forest for a client, I always like to include some fast-producing trees as encouragement. Mulberries, figs, nectarines, peaches… these will start paying their rent quickly. At the same time, I try not to overlook producers that take their time, like pears (6 years) and pecans (8-10 years). When new fruit come in every year, it builds enthusiasm. I really can’t wait to see where the progress will take a food forest next.

This Orlando food forest is one of seven food forest projects I’ve provided assistance or plants for, not counting the many others I’ve helped indirectly through my books and this site.

There’s a reason I named my business “Florida Food Forests!”

I hope to expand my food forest consultation into some new climates, too. I think it would be amazing to create one in the arid Southwest… or one in Quebec! The possibilities for species… my goodness…

More Pictures from the Orlando Food Forest Project

I wish more yards looked like this:


Mulberries, bananas, native weeds…

And here – check out this malanga growing along with Bidens alba and Caesarweed:


Here’s a patch of beautiful variegated ginger:Orlando_Food_Forest_10

That ginger makes a very nice herbal tea – great flavor – though the roots aren’t big enough to use for anything.

Here’s another “bad haircut” shot:


I like this lush patch of green with gingers and blooms:


Having lots of species growing together helps fight pests. You can bet there are good insects, amphibians and reptiles all over the place in these un-mown places, just waiting to come in and gobble up evil aphids and caterpillars!

Here’s another shot of some producing bananas:


Check out this kale and ginger growing in the shade – it almost looks like a watercolor with the splashes of light dancing through the canopy:Orlando_Food_Forest_16

Here’s another good mix of plants next to the greenhouse:


In the photo above I see guava, nopale cactus, rootbeer plant, Surinam cherry, papaya and mango. Looks like a pleasant little microclimate to me.

Here’s another shot of the thriving root beer plant colony:


And more crazy growth:Orlando_Food_Forest_19

Now check out this sugarcane, with a cassava in the foreground:Orlando_Food_Forest_20

And a beautiful loquat, encircled by wild blackberries:Orlando Food Forest

With some jealously, I note that their moringa trees are setting pods:Orlando_Food_Forest_22 Orlando_Food_Forest_23

Truly beautiful. This area was just hot, empty pasture a few years ago and now it’s rapidly being transformed into a cool, moist forest of beautiful and useful species.

I can’t wait to see what happens next!

If you live in Florida and want to plant your own food forest, I have helpful species lists and encouragement in my short book Create Your Own Florida Food Forest – you’ll enjoy it.

This level of crazy gardening may not appeal to everyone, but I salute those of you who are creating food forests across the state. Florida wants to be forest – grow with nature, instead of against it, and you will have more food than you know what to deal with. That’s a great place to be.

(All photos by the homeowner)


Growing Fruit Trees from Seed is Worth It: Proof!


I went out with my friend Allen The Beekeeper on an emergency bee call last week. I filmed it and once the bits and pieces are edited together in a coherent manner, I will post our adventure… but that’s a topic for another day.

Once we checked on the bees, the homeowner also led us on a tour of his gardens and small citrus orchard.

“I grew this lemon tree from seed,” he said, and my ears perked up.

From… seed? My kind of guy!

Beautiful Citrus Trees From Seed

I looked at his seedling tree, impressed by the abundant growth and goodly amount of fruit. The lemons were round, with interesting bumps on them – not like any lemon I’d seen before.


…and that’s one of the cool things about seed-grown fruit trees. They aren’t like any tree you’ve ever seen before! They’re unique genetic creations.

As it turns out, the homeowner was also growing tangerines, grapefruit, oranges and other citrus from seed and took me on a nice tour of his collection, which I filmed and posted on YouTube a few days ago:

Notice how the seedling trees are outperforming the grafted trees?

There is a lot of vitality in a seed-grown fruit tree!

Seedling Peaches – All Good!


lovelypeaches1My seedling peach trees grew like weeds and produced their first few peaches in a year and a half.

For those of you up north, it’s unlikely that fruit production will happen that quickly due to your shorter growing season, but it is reasonable to expect you’ll get peaches within three years.

My seedling peaches grew and out-produced the grafted and named varieties of peaches I planted a year before I planted pits.

I also gave some of the seedling peach trees I started to my friend Larry. As I was visiting him a week ago, I took a few minutes to film a short video on their progress:

What fun it is to see the variation!

Here’s the crazy thing: every peach tree I grew from seed that has produced fruit thus far has produced excellent, delicious fruit. They have some variation in size, shape and color – but they’re all great peaches!

How Long Does It Take for A Fruit Tree To Produce Fruit From Seed?


A citrus seedling

Some citrus will take quite a while to produce fruit from seed – as long as 8-10 years; however, I’ve seen some varieties produce fruit from seed in as little as three years, such as my beloved calamondins.

Apples and pears can also take quite a while to produce fruit (unless you graft onto them).

Peaches and other stone fruit are usually very quick producers. I don’t think I’d buy another grafted tree at this point – not when I can grow a pit and have it hit 6′ the first year and be fruiting the next!

Loquats take around six years.

Pomegranates can fruit in three (I have one that fruited in two but it was a dwarf variety).

Chestnuts can fruit from a seed in three years.

A walnut or pecan can take a decade or more. (That means plant them now!)

Coconuts take a few years. The one I planted as a kid didn’t fruit for about a decade; however, it wasn’t grown under ideal conditions.

Soap nut trees can fruit in three years according to my friend Alex Ojeda. Coffee trees can fruit from seed in three years.

The Key To Growing Fruit Trees from Seed



A peach from one of my seedling peach trees

The key to growing fruit trees from seed successfully is to… just do it. Always do it. Plant tree seeds all the time. Plant peach pits in pots. Plant walnuts in the woods. Plant apple seeds in coffee cans. Plant plum pits in your garden beds and transplant the seedlings later.

Don’t think about how long it will take for them to produce.

Don’t tell yourself you’ll start next year.

Don’t worry about it.

Just do it!

As a wise man once said:

“Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.”


The point is this: time moves faster than you think. If you plant some seeds every year, after a few years you’ll have new fruit trees maturing and bearing every year. It’s exciting and fun – and no one else in the world will own the exact same fruit trees as the ones growing in your yard.

If you’d like to learn more about the practical side of growing fruit trees from seed, my friend William at Permaculture Apprentice recently wrote a nice in-depth post on the topic.

More Seed-Grown Fruit Tree Success Stories

I posted a few years ago on Allen’s dad growing beautiful citrus trees from seed:


I also shared the story of Eddy and his beautiful seed-grown avocado tree:


And I posted on my amazing tropical almond tree, grown from a seed and producing fruit at two years old:


Here’s my video on that tropical almond tree:

I grew this fruiting pomegranate from a seed:


And these papayas:


If I can grow fruit trees from seed in my spare time, you can too.

Go for it!


Creating a Frankentree Through Grafting


MulberryGrafting8My friend Steven, creator of the incredible Frankentree, has put up a new in-depth post on grafting that’s very worth reading:

I get a lot of questions and interest about building frankentrees and frameworking.  I’d like to do either a book or high quality in depth video either this year or next, but, in the meantime, here are the most important points for success.  All of this is covered elsewhere, I just thought I’d put it all in one place with photos to make it more accessible.  This is applicable to pears and apples. Plums are also pretty easy and should be more or less the same.  Cherries I’ve had mixed luck with, but haven’t worked with them a lot.  Most of my cherry trees are still single varietal. for now…  For scions check out the North American Scion Exchange trading site.  It is awesome!  I’ve also just put scions in my web store.  I am mostly sold out for this season, but there are a few left.  I should have more quantity and variety next year.

When to graft.  I actually don’t know when you should graft.  I know what I can get away, but I’m not sure what people in colder climates deal with.  And so your journey begins!  Go forth and find that out!  I can tell you that it’s okay to graft during bloom.  Once the tree is really growing vigorously, grafts will still often take, but many times they will not grow much in that season, if at all.  They may just actually sit there dormant till the following season.  I’ve grafted dormant scions in July with some success, but they didn’t grow until the following year.  It is also bad for the tree to butcher it all the way back after spring growth is well underway, so don’t wait too late.  Early in the bloom season before growth really gets cranking is still an okay time.  I can graft from anytime in February on into spring.

Topworking v.s. Frameworking:  Topworking basically means cutting into larger limbs and adding a few scions to each stub in order to grow an entire new top to the tree.  Frameworking retains the framework of the tree and adds more scions here and there in order to replace just the smaller branch structure and fruiting wood.  The advantages to frameworking are pretty compelling.  Quicker fruiting, less trauma to the tree and you can add more variety at one time.  The advantages to topworking on the other hand are that it requires less work, less time and fewer scions.  A topworked tree should grow back pretty fast, but…

(Click here to read the rest over at Skillcult)

Though I’m not up to Steven’s level of skill yet (though I’m nipping at his heels with my cross-species grafting experiments), I do have a high success rate with my redneck grafting methods and created my video Get Grafting! to help anyone interested in losing their fear of this wonderful gardening skill.

You can get the complete video for a donation of any amount here (or for free if you’re short on funds).

Bonus points if you can spot the joke I hid in it.

The Chickasaw plum I turned into a stonefruit Frankentree over the last couple of years has four different species grafted together… and if I was sticking around, I would have added more cultivars every spring.

Ah well, I’ll have to make a mango Frankentree at my next homestead.

There’s something to shoot for!


Video of nectarines, peaches and plums grafted onto my Chickasaw plum


Grafting nectarines, peaches and plums onto a Chickasaw plum? Yep, it can be done! Just put this little graft update video together today – check it out:

Grafting Chickasaw plum trees makes sense. They’re tough natives that handle conditions other fruit trees won’t.

Support this site: shop on Amazon using this link. It doesn’t cost you a penny and it helps pay for my hosting!


More Chickasaw plum grafts – Grafting successes and failures

We had almost a 100% success rate with our Chickasaw plum grafting this year.
peach grafted onto plum
Those two grafts are from one of my seedling peach trees.
These two are Sunhome nectarine grafts:
nectarine chickasaw plum grafts


And this is the UF plum variety I grafted last year:

Now look a little closer:

Yes! It has ACTUAL PLUMS on it!

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that these experiments are working so wonderfully.

Lots of folks have wild plums growing in their yards. If they use those plums as root stocks, they’ve got a hardy resource already in place and can create some amazing fruit cocktail trees that will handle tough conditions without breaking a sweat. Not that trees sweat. Well, they do release moisture into the air via a process called…

Oh, nevermind.

Anyhow, I’m stoked. My little Chickasaw plum is well on its way to being a one-stop stone fruit destination. It’s amazing how well the new grafts are doing. The best takes appear to be the “whip and tongue” grafts.

Next year I hope to add a few more varieties of plum to the mix. The only failures we had this year were the sweet cherry scions. None of those took on the Chickasaw – and they also failed on my wild black cherry tree. It was worth a shot, but that shot was a blank.

As a recap, this is what has worked for us this year:

Nectarine grafts onto Chickasaw plum
Peach grafts onto Chickasaw plum
Improved plums graft onto Chickasaw plum
Black mulberry onto black mulberry
Orient pear onto Kieffer pear
Thanksgiving pear onto Kieffer pear
Various apple onto apple
Peach onto Bruce plum
Nectarine onto seedling peach

Too soon to tell:

Texas Everbearing fig onto unknown yellow fig
Black mulberry onto paper mulberry
Pear onto wild hawthorn


Brown turkey fig onto black mulberry
Minnie Royal cherry onto wild black cherry
Minnie Royal cherry onto Chickasaw plum
Long mulberry onto black mulberry

This has been a lot of fun so far… can’t wait until next February when we go at it again!


Grafting Nectarines and Peaches on a Chickasaw Plum


I’ve posted a couple of times on the Chickasaw plum (one of our wild native plums) I planted in the front yard and how I added a cultivated variety of plum to it, along with my interest in grafting wild plum.

A month ago I spent an afternoon popping in grafts on various trees to see what would work and what wouldn’t.

The picture above is one of those experiments; it’s a Sunraycer nectarine scion that’s starting to grow off one of the Chickasaw plum’s suckers.

Here’s another graft that seems to have taken, this time from a peach:

grafting wild plum

This is getting to be rather fun. I’m imagining what this tree will look like in a few years as I keep grafting stone fruit onto the suckers… it’ll be a veritable fruit cocktail.

As for the cultivated plum I grafted onto it last year, it’s now over 4′ long… and it’s bursting into bloom!

Here’s what the original graft now looks like:

healed plum graft

You can still see the “V” of the original cleft graft but it’s healed up nice and tight.

In Create Your Own Florida Food Forest, I mention there are reasons to save wild trees when planning a food forest, one of them being that they may serve you as established root stock you can later graft on top of.

In some parts of Florida there are wild plums everywhere… why not improve upon them?

And speaking of improving, check this out:

I’m particularly proud of that graft because it’s not mine – it’s my wife’s.

Yes, that is Rachel’s very first attempt at grafting, and it’s taken thus far.

Good work, you sexy gardener you.

It’s really not hard to graft. Perhaps next spring I can have a small class on it here for anyone’s that’s interested. That will give me another year to practice my technique and have more to show off around the food forest.

Anyone else doing some grafting this spring?

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