[dropcap]A[/dropcap]vocados are one of the most nutritious fruits and they are most only available during the summer months. Avocados can provide virtually around 20 vital nutrients, which include; potassium, folic acid, fiber, Vitamin E, folic acid and B-vitamins. This fruit is also known as nutrient booster because it helps the body in the absorption of additional fat-soluble nutrients like lutein and alpha and beta-carotene in foods that are consumed along with it.
The avocado meat is fairly smooth and firm yet yielding to the teeth. It is also rich in texture with flavor that is not sweet yet very delectable. Mashed avocados bring out a very refreshing aroma that entices the senses very much.
Avocados are good for making salads, guacamole and fruit-flavored milk shakes. Next time you eat an avocado, you may want to save its pit and grow an avocado tree. Below are the step by step instructions on how you can grow an avocado tree from a pit.
The first step in planting an avocado is to remove the fruit meat from the pit – be very careful as to not cut the pit. Then clean the pit of all the remaining fruit meat. This can be easily achieved by soaking the pit in water for some minutes and then scrubbing what’s left of the fruit. Be very careful though as not to remove the seed cover or the brown skin around the pit.
Find the bottom part of the pit. In oval shaped avocado pits this is easy to do, the bigger part is the bottom part and that is where the roots will grow; while the top part is the pointed part and that is where the sprout will grow. Identifying the bottom part from the top part is important because you are going to need to soak the bottom part in water. This is a very important process because this will make the pit to sprout.
The next step will need 3 pieces of toothpicks. You need to stick each toothpick at a slightly downward angle into the pit – the toothpicks should be spaced evenly around the seed. Once the toothpicks are in place, you will have scaffolding that will allow you to put the pit into a glass of water. Make sure that each toothpick is wedged in their places firmly so that the bottom part of the seed can rest well under the water without the rest of the pit submerging.
Once the seed is properly placed on the glass and the bottom part is resting well, set the glass in a place where there is direct sunlight. Be sure that the place where you put the glass with the seed is easily accessible to you so that you can see the roots coming out and in order for you to easily change the water every now and then. Changing the water regularly is very important in order to prevent mold, fungus and bacteria growth. You do not have to change the water everyday though, doing it every 5 days should be sufficient.
This is the time when you wait for sprouting to occur. In some cases, an avocado pit will sprout within 2 to 4 weeks, but it can also take up to 8 weeks. So patience is needed. During this process you will notice that top part of the pit will dry out and a crack will form as the seed skin will start to slough off. You will also notice that the crack will get bigger and will reach to the bottom part of the seed. Through that bottom crack, a small taproot will appear. The taproot will grow and may also branch out, until you can see a tiny sprout peeking through the top part of the seed. Keep the taproot submerged under water, allowing it to dry out will be the end of the early life of your tree.
From the sprout at the top branch the stem of your plant will grow. Once the stem is about 6 to 7 inches you need to trim it down to 3 inches so that new growth will appear. When it grows 6 inches once more take the seed out from the glass and plant it in a pot with rich humus soil. Do not plant the entire seed, leave the top half exposed. Put the pot with your avocado plant back in the sunny location – avocados grow better when directly exposed to sunlight.
Water your plant regularly with deep soaking every now and then. Make sure that the soil is moist all the time, though not saturated with water. Over watering is not good, so be moderate. When you see the leaves turning yellow, it means you are over watering. When that happens, simply let it be for a few days and things will go back to normal.
When the stem is about a foot high, pinch out the top leaves in order to encourage side shoots growths; this is important to encourage growth of more leaves to make your plant bushier. Do the pinching process every time the plant grows additional 6 inches. Always pinch the newest sets of top leaves.
This is the bug control process. Avocado plants collect aphids or plant lice and you need to get rid of them or else they will eat out your plant’s leaves. To get rid of those plant pests slightly spray your plant with water. Once they are off the leaves spray the plant with a mixture of water, small amount of dish-washing liquid and neem oil (one teaspoon) – this is great anti-aphids solution.
This step is necessary when you live in a location where summer is not a year long occasion. This is called the wintering process. When the temperature outside hits 45 degrees Fahrenheit, you must bring your plant inside the house before the temperature falls.
Once your avocado plant looks well established in its pot, it is about time to plant it directly to the ground. You need to dig a little dip into the ground, make sure that the entire pot can be buried entirely. But you should not plant the tree with the pot. Prior to transferring the tree, take it out from the pot and then bury it in the hole you made.
Will the tree ever bear fruit?
[box type=”shadow” align=”alignleft” ]This is not a guaranteed thing. But in most cases, your avocado tree may start bearing fruit within 3 to 4 years, sometime if you are not that lucky, you may have to wait 15 years or worse, you may never taste an avocado fruit from your tree. A good advice is to plant several trees for pollination.[/box]