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Avocados are healthy, nutritious and downright tasty. During the summer months, this delicious, little fruit can be used to make guacamole or as a side to ceviche.
Did you know that instead of going to your local grocery store and spending close to $2.00 for each avocado, you can grow them yourself? Not only will you save money, but you’ll have access to more green goodness than you can handle. We’re going to take you through the steps to growing avocados on your own.
Before you begin the process of growing an avocado tree, first things first. You need to start off by removing the pit from a fresh avocado. If you have a ripe avocado, then popping out the pit is simple. You’ll score the fruit by cutting around it with a knife. From there, you’ll twist the two halves of the skin in opposite directions until it pops open. You can scoop out the avocado seed using a spoon and set it off to the side.
Now that you’ve got your pit it’s time to rinse it off and prepare it to be submerged in a glass of water. Using only warm water, you’ll need to remove any avocado flesh that is on it. Be careful that you don’t use soap to clean the pit since that will remove the covering of the seed. The skin of the seed is a protective covering that aids in the process of root growth.
Avocado seeds can appear to be either round or slightly egg-shaped. If your seed has more of an egg shape, you’ll need to make sure that the narrow end is facing upwards. Keep in mind that even if your seed appears round, this is not the case. While it might look round, the seed will have a slightly pointed end. Since the roots will come from the more rounded part, it’s important that it goes into the water in the right direction and your toothpicks (next step) go in at the correct angle.
You’ll need to create a way for your avocado to stay in the water. Take 2-3 toothpicks and push them into the seed at a downward angle. Make sure that you are spreading the toothpicks out evenly so that they can balance in the glass of water. If the toothpicks are not at the correct angle then the seed can be unbalanced and not grow properly.
Now that you’re ready to place the seed in water and start growing your own tree. Be sure to use a clear glass of water and place it next to a window with a lot of sunlight. You’ll want to submerge the avocado seed about an inch into the water. Again make sure that the rounded end is pointed downward in the water since this is where the roots will come from. To ensure that the roots grow and the seed remains healthy, the water must be changed out every other day. This will help prevent mold and fungi from attacking your delicate, little seed.
The time for your avocado to begin sprouting roots can range from 2 weeks to 8 weeks. This is a process and patience is a must. So you’ll want to make sure that you continue to change out the water even if you don’t see any immediate signs of growth. Speaking of growth, here are a few signs that you can look out for while waiting for the roots to grow over the next 2-3 weeks.
The thing to remember about avocado trees is that they love warmth. Ideally, they should be planted in temperatures ranging from 60-80°F (15-29°C). Once your avocado sprout has reached about 5 inches (15cm) in height, then it’s safe to transport it from the glass to a terracotta pot.
Avocados also need to be in soil that is low in saline and has room for drainage. If you are unsure as to how to determine this, then you can either conduct a test on the soil or consult with a plant specialist. To ensure that it has the proper drainage, you can add some rocks or gravel at the bottom of the pot before adding in the soil.
Avocados love water. You’ll need to frequently water the tree. Keep in mind though that while they do love water, the soil should always be moist but not soaked. If you notice the leaves becoming yellow or rolling up, that is a sign that you need to back off from watering until the leaves look normal again.
Since you are taking such good care of your tree, you might wonder when you can start eating those delicious avocados. The simple answer is…it varies. For some trees, they will bear fruit around 3-4 years after they were first planted. Some trees require a much longer wait, which takes around 10 or more years. Then there are some trees that no matter how well you take care of it, they will never grow any fruit.
Growing your own avocados is an easy way to not only help the environment but also give your kitchen an endless supply of delicious fruit. No matter how you like eating your avocados, you can now have for your own bushel of fresh, healthy fruit.