Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The Apple Diary - Part 1

Good evening folks!

I've spent the last month or so trying to come up with subjects that I can use as a series for this blog. Nothing was springing to mind for a long time, but I now have two idea's, both on completely and utterly different topics, that I hope will become regular monthly features here.

So without further ado, I'd like to present...The Apple Diary!

At the end of October every year, I join in with the October Plenty festival run by the Lions Part company (see here for my story on this years event over at Milliver's Travels). This festival coincides with Borough Market's Apple Day, and in the programme for the event there was a section on how to grow your own apple tree. So I thought I'd give it a go!

Typically I get through a bag of apples each week, so I started collecting the pips. Unfortunately can't remember what type of apples they were, I suspect royal gala, but I can't be certain.

On the 22nd November, I put the 16 seeds I'd collected in a small amount of water overnight, as per the instructions in the programme. Apparently this is to soften the seed shell so it's easier for the sprout to break out of it.

Soaking in a Turkish tea cup!

The next day I planted them across 5 pots...well 4 pots and 1 Philadelphia tub with holes poked in the bottom! I gave them some water and placed them on my dresser, not really expecting a single one of them to sprout. My friend Caro fortunately pointed out that the seeds needed to be kept warm in order for them to germinate. The weather was just starting to get cold with the late onset of winter and our central heating wasn't yet in frequent use. So my hot water bottle took up residence in my sock drawer, directly beneath the pots.

Miraculously it did the trick, although the pots got a little bit neglected during production week for my current show.
I don't know why, but I'd got it into my head that I wouldn't see any life from these seeds until the spring. On the 10th December I was astonished to find the first sprout just popping through the dirt.

By the time I got back from work that night sprout number two (which you can just see peeking out in the pot above) had come through as well.

Since then they've gone crazy! I can't believe how fast they're growing, and there's still more to come through. I've developed a bad habit of excavating through the pots in my impatience to know if there's anymore to come.

As of today, we stand at seven healthy looking sprouts, and I know there's three more on their way :-)

I'm going to have to clear more space on my dresser. I've got 21 cox apple seeds soaking right now to be planted tomorrow, as well as 10 chilli seeds that I picked up from the Wahaca Mexican restaurant back in August.

It's slightly bemusing how excited I'm getting about all this. My green fingers don't exactly have the best track record, I've managed to kill my oak seedling, two aloe vera plants and a cactus in the last two years, so all fingers and toes crossed that these little fella's fare better!

I hope to post the second instalment of The Apple Diary in the second week of January.

Take care folks, and hope you're enjoying the season.