Saturday, September 13, 2014

How to grow an avocado tree

In our home we have a slight avocado addiction. We love Avo on toast with salt, black pepper and lemon juice. We love Avo out of its shell with the same dressing. We love Avo in guacamole with Mexican meals. We love Avo in green smoothies. We love Avo on salads. We love Avo cubed on top of chilli or spaghetti. We love Avo sliced on pizza. WE LOVE AVO...

Way back in 2008 when we started growing vegetables, one of the first things I did with the children was start an avocado pip growing. I am sure you all know how, but for those who don't, its a great science project for adults and kids alike.

Our avocado tree grown from a pip 
How to grow an avocado from a pip: save a large avo pip from a healthy creamy Avo. Be selective. With the pointed side up insert 4 toothpicks or matches into the sides of the pip evenly spaced around the widest part of the pip's circumference. The toothpicks will be the holders for the pip which you now suspend across the mouth of a jar. Fill the jar until the water touches the bottom of the pip - the pointed part is up! Keep it like this for as long as you need to on a windowsill and keep the water level constant.

When you have a nice set of roots and a stem shoot you can plant it into a pot. When it is too big for the pot, transplant again and again until you have a few branch beginnings. Replant the Avo tree into a well prepared hole which is dug out twice as wide as the last pot it was in. Cover with a mix of soil, well rotted manure and compost.

Stem graft

Avocados grown from seed can produce fruit, contrary to popular belief, however the yields are quite small compared what you can get from a grafted tree. Our avocado tree pictured above is now 6.5 years old and has not produced fruit.

The experts tell me 7-9 years until the first fruit comes. They also told me that I would need to have another avocado tree in our neighbourhood for cross pollination and that as avocado trees are single gender I need to buy a grafted tree to make sure I have a male and a female.

On researching I have not found this to be confirmed, however I did buy a grafted tree about 3 years ago. This tree is pictured below. The shape is completely different and will probably be easier to pick one day. This tree should begin producing fruit in this next season. We'll see.

Avocado blossoms
Long term care of an avocado tree is quite simple for the home organic garden but there are two things to make note of of your garden calendar:

1. During spring and summer they need a good nitrogen feed. I use worm tea or bounce back or pure organic chicken manure. (Nobody likes the last one so I do it once a year only!)

2. Do not apply any feed 6 weeks before blooms appear or 6 weeks after.

Grafted avo tree
So now we wait for our first homegrown avocados. We anticipate their rich creamy protein packed fruit with much excitement!


rosemaryspantry said...

Liked this post regarding Avocaod's and and will buy one in future ! It is amazing what we learn from one another !

rosemaryspantry said...

See previous posting