January 21, 2017

Growing a Traverse City Cherry Pit or Two

Last summer, while we were at the lakehouse, my mother-in-law and I went one day to the Farmer's Market in Traverse City.  We brought home a big bag of juicy, sweet Michigan cherries.  Baxter sat at the counter and ate almost half the bag in one sitting.  He just loved the cherries!

As he ate, he saved the pits on a plate.  When he finished, he declared, "We should take these home and plant them at the farm so we can grow our own cherries!"  How could I say no to that??

I tried to explain to him that cherries are a plant that isn't usually grown directly from a seed.  The concept of grafting fruit trees was way beyond his understanding, though, so I thought - what does it hurt, let's give it a try.  So I did some reading online and found that fruit seeds tend to do better after being left in the fridge for some time.  We filled a jam jar with wet dirt, pushed some pits down into it, and slid it to the back of the fridge.  That was in July.  

Now we find ourselves in January, and the jar caught my eye last week.  There was something white on the side of the jar.  When I pulled it out to get a closer look, I saw the bottom of the jar was packed with roots.  A white stem was pushing its way to the surface of the dirt as well.  I took it out, removed the lid and put it under my grow light.  

After a day or two, small green leaves burst up through the dirt.  It is difficult to see in these pictures, but there are two small leaves just above the soil line.  

When the boys were here on Wednesday, I took the jar out from under the light, and before I said anything, Baxter said, "Cherries!"  He remembered five and a half months ago when we put those pits in the fridge.  We talked about where we could start our orchard.  

There's nothing like the excitement of growing things, especially when you didn't think they would grow.  What a joy and an experience I hope little B will remember for years to come.

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