Although most fruit trees are grown from grafts taken from mature trees, it's also possible to start them from seed. It may take a bit longer for them to reach maturity, but when it does, the fruit will be delicious and the tree will provide shade and beauty to the landscape. Planting fruit trees from seeds is fun, and is easy enough for a child. Next time you eat an apple, a grapefruit or a peach, plant the seed and watch what happens.
Remove the seeds after you've finished eating the fruit. If you're planting a nectarine or peach seed, crack the hard outer covering and remove the pit inside. Soak the fruit seeds in water overnight. In the morning, rinse them with warm water to remove any pulp or slime that still clings.
Bury the fruit tree seeds in a damp paper towel or a bit of damp peat moss and put them in a plastic bag. Poke a few small holes in the bag, seal it and put it in the refrigerator for about two weeks. The seeds may require more time, depending on the type of fruit, so check the seeds occasionally to see if they've germinated. If you aren't ready to plant the seeds, they can remain in the refrigerator for 2-3 months.
Fill the seedling tray with good quality potting soil and moisten it with a spray bottle or watering can. Plant the seeds in the soil about ½ inch deep. If you're planting larger seeds such as peaches, plant them about 2 inches deep. Plant a few extra seeds, because some of them probably won't germinate.
Put the seedling tray in indirect sunlight where the temperature will be a constant 70 to 80 degrees, or put them under a grow light. Once the seeds sprout through the soil, put them in a sunny window. Keep the soil evenly moist but don't allow it to become soggy. Thin out weak-looking seedlings and leave the healthy ones.
Plant the fruit tree seedling outdoors when it's about 5 inches tall, but if the weather is cold, keep them indoors until spring. Prepare the planting site by loosening the soil in a circle at least 2 feet in circumference and 15 inches deep.
Add about a gallon of compost to the soil and refill the hole. Using your hand or a trowel, dig a small hole to accommodate the size of the seedling. Plant the fruit tree seedling and tamp the soil down lightly and cover the area with mulch or peat moss. If you're planting more than one seedlings, leave at least 30 feet between each one.