Amidst our bedtime routine, my four-year-old daughter was sitting at my side, listening to me read, while she was eating an apple. I was getting annoyed, because the squirmy girl was picking and playing with the apple, rather than just eating it and listening to the story. I stopped and scolded, “Eat the apple and quit playing with it.” She looked at me with her deep blue eyes and said, “I am trying to get the seeds. I need your help, Mom! Can we plant the seeds tomorrow so that we can have lots of apples? And everyone will see our apples and will want to come to our house to eat them!” You and I know that it’s not likely the seeds will grow into an apple tree, but I am still going to play along with my aspiring horticulturalist! “Yes, we can plant the seeds tomorrow,” I promised. I am going to foster this idea of growing food and sharing it with others.
For our apple seed to germinate and grow, there are a few things it will need. I like to use the P.L.A.N.T.S. acronym I learned while working with the Junior Master Gardener program. It’s easy and fun for the kids to learn the basic requirements for plant life.
P – Place to grow
Our little apple seeds were placed in the backyard in a tiny hole along the fence line.
L – Light
The sunlight will provide the apple sapling with energy when it emerges from the soil.
A – Air
Plants, like humans, need to breath. They take in carbon dioxide and produce oxygen.
N – Nutrients
The tree will need macro and micro-nutrients to supply its basic needs in order to produce the big red apples my little girl dreams of.
T – Thirsty
The apple seed will swell once it soaks in moisture. Without water, a seed will not germinate, and a plant will not grow.
S – Soil
The apple seed will sprout roots and begin growth in the darkness and warmth of the ground. The soil is the main ingredient, because it holds the nutrients and water the seed needs.
Who knows, maybe we will be singing this nursery rhyme under our apple tree some day!
The Apple Tree
Way up in the apple tree,
Two little apples smiled at me.
I shook that tree as hard as I could.
Down they came.
Yummm, they were good.