Saturday, June 18, 2016

On Growth : An Avocado Tree From Seed


I absolutely adore growth. When I was 13, my first job was working with the Mercy nuns (Sisters of Mercy) at the convents cultivating their elegant and numerous gardens. 

When I had my first chunk of dirt in the city, I grew everything from carefully constructed herb rock gardens (that my chocolate lab lived in, loved and kept digging up), elegant rose beds of all variations, 7 foot sunflowers, all types of annuals and perennials, tons of vegetables and yes, I grew corn in the city (that grew beautifully and was delicious). 

Last year, I started all of my vegetables and herbs indoors during winter and had so many plants when Spring hit that I had to keep giving them away.

I will try (almost) anything. I have never attempted to grow fruit.

The simplest things in life make me happy like seeing avocado seeds burst with roots! 

This unique fruit is sometimes referred to as the "alligator pear" because it is shaped like a pear, is green and has "bumpy" skin like an alligator. The flesh inside the fruit is only eaten, discard the rest. Except for the seed. 

Avocados contain Vitamin K, Folate, Vitamin C, Potassium, Vitamins B5, B6 and Vitamin E. There are small amounts of Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorus, Vitamin A, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin), and B3 (Niacin). An avocado contains more Potassium than a banana.

It is a "high fat food" meaning heart healthy poly and monounsaturated fatty acids. Oleic acid, the fatty acid present in avocados, is the main component in olive oil. This fruit is loaded with fiber and while some nutrients are "fat soluble" (meaning they need to be combined with fat in order to be utilized), simply adding avocado to salads, dips, and spreads increases antioxidant and nutrient absorbance. 

I adore avocados. There are various ways they can be eaten

Simply peel the skin off and eat it like fruit, when the avocado is ripe, use that as a spread [instead of using mayonnaise or a similar unhealthy concoction] on sandwiches, make a dip out of it for raw vegetables, add chunks to a salad, to rice with lime, to salsa, replace fats in recipes with an avocado, and of course, to make guacamole. 

This recipe is my personal favorite: Bruschetta with Avocado and Basil

Easy, cheap, quick , healthy and delicious. 

Avocados ripen well and when purchasing, unless you are ready to use immediately, make sure they are firm to the grip. An avocado is ripe when it is only slightly soft to the touch. 

My love for avocados led me to grow my own tree. This is the easiest thing I have ever grown and it was 100% free. 

To start, use a seed leftover from an avocado: 
  • Wash it well, do not scrub it. 
  • Put three toothpicks on a downward angle into the center of and around the seed.
  • Get a small clear glass container, fill it with water.
  • Suspend the toothpicks across the rims of the container. 
  • Let the seed sit in the water halfway. 
  • Place that in a warm place out of direct sunlight, uncovered. 
  • Replenish water when necessary, do not allow evaporation. 
  • Wait about 2-6 weeks. 

I started with two seeds and one grew. I would start with a few just in case. If none of them grow, keep trying! It takes anywhere from 2-6 weeks to see the root appear.

What occurs first is the seed covering cracks, falls off, and the entire seed cracks and the root can be seen growing out of the bottom.  After that, the new green growth comes out of the top. Replenish water so it is fresh and gently clean both seed and container regularly with plain water, no soap, to get rid of accumulations from humidity.  

After you see the root, follow further instructions HERE

Due to the below freezing temperatures in winter, I keep a 4 foot tropical Croton tree (diverse, complex group of plants ranging from herbs, shrubs to trees) in my living room. The avocado tree will be right at home!

I wonder what else I can grow . . .

Happy growing, eating, and experimenting!

No comments: