Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Who Knew?

We love avocados around here and eat them often.  You'll have to excuse my humility, but I've gotten pretty good at halving, twisting out the slippery pit, and mashing up a pretty tasty batch of guacamole.  If I do say so myself.  One afternoon during an attempt at some avocado culinary perfection, my husband got the harebrained idea to grow himself an avocado tree.  You'd think that as a former teacher and the mother of two small children that I'd be thrilled with an attempt at science, especially when growing something green is involved.  However, his impromptu approach has led to some redneck gardening on my kitchen counter for the last two months.  About week four I was convinced that nothing was happening and that nothing would happen, but low and behold, his patience prevailed, and we now have an avocado tree.  I'm woman enough to admit when I'm wrong, and now that the tree is ready for removal and transplant, I can do so.  You were right, honey.  I love the tree.  

To debunk the myth that avocados are bad for you because they are high in fat, let me argue this:  the kind of fat contained in an avocado is monounsaturated and has been found to actually lower your cholesterol.  Avocados are also reputed to protect and defend against several types of cancer, prevent strokes, help the body better absorb other nutrients, and they are the best fruit source for vitamin E.  All that dietary rhetoric aside, they taste heavenly.

So now that we're all in favor of sprouting avocado pits on our kitchen counters, let me give you a quick how-to.
  • Wash pit clean.  Pat dry.
  • Stab the pit at the thickest part of its middle with three toothpicks (or other such instrument).
  • Balance pit on the rim of the cup (using the toothpicks) so that it will not fall into the cup.
  • Add enough water to the cup to cover up to 1" of the bottom part of the pit.  
  • Place the pit somewhere it can absorb some sunlight and maintain the water level.  
Apparently, we don't own toothpicks.

Eventually the pit cracks and you'll notice a root system developing.  A little tree will begin to emerge at about 6 weeks or so.  I've read that once it reaches the height of about 6", you pinch off the first set of leaves.  This allows the tree to continue to focus on it's root growing efforts.  Once the second set of leaves sprout, the pit is ready to transplant.  When potting, be sure to dig a hole for the roots, but do not completely bury the pit.  The top of the pit should remain above the soil.  Keep the soil moist, and you've got yourself a tree!

There is a little bad news involved.  Like with any fruit tree, you won't get any fruit for the first 2-3 years of it's life.  Remember, this is a long-term relationship.  Commitment is required.  And, you should buy a nice looking pot, because unless you live in Florida, chances are that your winters drop below 45 degrees and your little tree will need to warm itself by your hearth.   

Cross pollinating it with another avocado tree will help them both to produce more fruit, so I guess I had better keep that spot on my counter reserved for round two.

1 comment:

  1. I think it may sprout faster if you wrap it in a wet paper towel, put in ziplock bag and throw in the cabinet where it is dark.


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