Creating a nursery bed for starting seedlings

I’ve been collecting seeds from several types of stone fruit this summer. Fruits that were exceptionally good. Last year I stratified apricot pits in the fridge and then potted them in seed pots. None of them survived the winter. So I’d like to try something different this time.

I think I’d like to try creating a small nursery bed outside to let the seeds stratify naturally. I just have no clue where to start. I’ve had no luck googling this info.

I thought about tilling a short row in my orchard enclosure and amending it with compost and maybe even pine bark fines. Then burying all of the seeds. See what comes up in the spring. Let them grow throughout next summer and possibly summer 2018 if necessary.

Will this work? Any tips? Should the seeds stay in their pits or should I crack them open and bury the seeds?

I’ve grown out many thousands of fruit tree seedlings in beds. They grow much bigger than in pots. You really need to watch out for mice with stone fruit seeds. I store my seed buried outside in buckets. The buckets are underground, the bottoms are cut out and replaced with hardware cloth. I mix the seeds with sand. Thick mulch over the buckets and in the spring they will be sprouting. I plant them out immediately when the soil thaws. They usually start coming up in mid May (zone 5). Sometimes stone fruits will skip a year and not sprout until after another year has passed. I find this happens more if they are planted into warm soil in the spring.
Have fun, I love growing trees from seed.


How densely can you pack the seeds in buckets? Do you mean 5 gallon buckets? How deep do you place the seeds and do you remove them from the pit first?

I’m doing this too. No starting inside. I’ve got about 100 apricot seeds.