Unlike other fruit trees with small seeds, stone fruit trees, which make their seeds inside pits, grow true to type from seed propagation. These trees include peaches, nectarines and apricots, and when started this way, they produce their first harvest in three to five years. This process starts in the summer, when pits from ripe fruit become available, and it lasts through the following spring, when it's finally time to set your saplings outside.
Collect the pits from ripe fruit grown locally so your new tree will be adapted to your climate. "Mother Earth News" also recommends against planting pits from early-season tree varieties, as the seed in them is often too undeveloped to sprout.
Place the pits in an out-of-the-way section of your kitchen counter. Leave them there until their shells are dry and a little brittle. In dry climates, this will take just a few days, but in high humidity, it takes longer.
Crack the pits open by crushing them slowly with a vise. If you use a hammer, tap the pit lightly until it breaks. Whichever tool you use, take precautions not to crush the seed inside.
Soak the seeds in water overnight.
Add enough potting soil to a glass jar to cover the seeds you have. Moisten the soil evenly without drenching it in water. A jar other than glass also works, but the see-through glass makes it easier for you to check whether the seeds have germinated. (See Step 8)
Bury the seeds in the moist potting soil and cap the jar.
Place the jar in the refrigerator. The seeds will spend fall and winter in this cold environment, a process called stratification that is necessary to get certain seeds to germinate.
Check the seeds every so often. When you see white fibrous material within the soil, the seeds have sprouted. What you see are the young roots. Keep the sprouts in the fridge if it's still frosty outside. Also, as you check your jar regularly, feel the soil with your fingers. If it's becoming dry, add more water. Stratification only succeeds if the seeds are in a cold and moist environment.
Fill small pots with potting soil one month before the last predicted frost.
Remove the seedlings from the fridge and plant them in the pots you prepared.
Irrigate all seedlings and keep them moist while they continue to develop.
Transplant your fruit tree saplings outdoors after the weather warms up. Place them in a sunny spot with well-drained soil amended with organic matter. Keep them irrigated through the growing season.