Saturday, April 17, 2010

Kitchen Garden: Growing Avocado Seeds

Many years ago, when I was a college student dreaming of my future garden, I found a book that described growing food from seeds and leftovers from purchased food. The idea stuck with me and I have successfully grown potatoes and garlic from sprouted food in my kitchen.
Now I'm trying out avocados. We eat about one avocado per day when they are in season, so growing our own would definitely be a bonus. I never liked the idea of impaling an avocado seed with toothpicks and after some googling I learned that A) avocadoes can grow in my area, B) you can grow avocados by putting the seeds directly in dirt, and C) you can grow avocados in water without impaling them.
My first attempt was a seed in a Medela freezeable breastmilk container (imagine a tall plastic beaker). Oops, the seed expanded and got stuck halfway in the beaker, no way to add water, no way to remove the seed without harming it.
Then I spotted all these wonderful small shotglasses and medicine cups sitting around the kitchen. The ideal situation appears to be a cup with V shaped depression, so the seed sits halfway down the glass, supported by the sides. Keep water approximately halfway up the seed. Add water, when air appears below the seed. Some sources say to plant in dirt when leaves sprout. But to avoid seriously messing up the roots, I'll try to plant before the roots look as scrunched as the far right has.

Unfortunately, I don't know which varieties I have growing... but it will be fun to see how many little trees I can start. We've found at least four varieties at our local farmer's market, including a tiny version (they are called "Mexican" something) with edible skins. Somehow I managed not to save a seed from those. I will definitely do that this year. Those tiny ones are so darn yummy. The far left and far right seeds look the same to me, but they are sprouting in reverse of each other. The left one barely has any roots at all, while the right clearly had more roots before sprouting up.
Unfortunately, avocados don't bear fruit until their 4th or even 10th year, so we may have left this home by that time, but I can hope to see fruit before we go.
Have you had success growing food from your kitchen?

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