If you are a true fan of guacamole, chances are you are really interested in growing your own avocados. Even if you are not a gardening expert, you can easily grow an avocado tree in your very own home. If that sounds like science fiction to you, just wait till you find out how easy it actually is and how little effort is required.
What you may have never considered is that getting the hard centre of the fruit to sprout into a beautiful tree is in fact child’s play. There is a high chance that your children or their schoolmates have at some point introduced an avocado tree as part of their classroom science project. Sprouting the pit is easy; growing it into a tree is a bit more complicated and requires some gardening knowledge. Here is a guide that outlines the process:
- Start with the seed - wash the seed and suspend it over a glass full of water, covering at least an inch of the seed. Use toothpicks to keep it in place. Keep the glass in a warm room and not in the way of direct sunlight. Stem and roots will appear between the second and sixth week. When the stem reaches a length of 6 inches, you should cut it to half that size. Once the seed has developed thick roots, you need to plant in a pot. Remember to leave the seed half-exposed. Always keep the soil moist and water frequently. At this point, the plant should receive a lot of sunlight.
- Some care for the avocado tree is needed in its young state - watch and monitor the plant. Should it turn yellow, it has been over-watered - leave it for few days without water to dry out. Brown leaves are an indication of too much salt in the soil. Run water into the pot and allow it to drain for few minutes to fix that.
- Encourage growth - your avocado tree will be fuller and healthier if you cut back the stem in half when it grows to 12 inches. This is a recipe for success.
- Soil specifics - the ideal soil condition for growing an avocado tree is pH ranging from 6 to 6.5. Loose and sandy soil works best, but there is a well-known gardening hack that can help you grow the tree even if you have heavy clay soil. In that case, you have to elevate the tree in a 3-5 feet around and 1-2 feet high mound. No gravel or other material should be put in the hole. You want the roots to reach the bulk soil as soon as possible.
- Watering specifics - avocado trees should be watered at least 2-3 times a week. Once the roots have grown and reached bulk soil, watering should become more thorough, but frequency reduced to once a week. Expert gardeners suggest that you soak the soil well and then let it dry out before applying next dose of water. Mature trees should receive about 20 gallons a day in the irrigation season. Check the soil around the roots to determine whether water is needed.
- Mulch - the best type of mulch you can add for your avocado tree is a woody type, like bean husks or redwood bark. Gardening centres offer nice coarse yard mulch, which works well too.
- Fertilise - young avocado trees can benefit from a half to one pound of Nitrogen per year. Don’t add it all at once, but spread over few applications. Zinc makes another important nutrient for your tree.
Remember that seeing actual fruit from your avocado trees may take a good amount of time. Starting from a pit will not grant you fruit for at least 5 years. Your gardening efforts will be rewarded after that and hardly sooner. Still, growing your own avocado tree is an interesting activity and definitely not a tough task.