How to Grow an Avocado Tree

avocadosLadies and gentlemen, we have a sprout! While an actual tree may be a while off, these little guys are already defying my dubious expectations (chronicled here). So, as promised, here’s what I did:

  1. Make guacamole, duh!
  2. Remove any remaining flesh. Let the pit sit out for about a day to dry a bit.
  3. Peel the thin, dark brown skin from the tan flesh of the pit.
  4. Stick 3 wooden skewers 1/4″ or so into the pit so as to suspend it about halfway in water.
  5. Place stem-side down in a container filled with water, set on a sunny window sill and wait! You’ll need to refill the water regularly.

I noticed the pits starting to split down the middle about a week in. Another week in, and one of my pits has a visible root growing from the bottom of it, while the other’s root is still in the crack. My friend Kaia left hers to grow in water for several months, until the stem that will (hopefully) eventually come out of the top of the pit was more than 8 inches tall.

Have fun and good luck!

Adventures in Agriculture

I have what some might call a black thumb… That is I’ve killed nearly every plant I’ve ever owned. The only house plant I’ve ever had long-lasting success with is fondly named Spike, a succulent I picked up at the Dane County Farmers Market three summers back. Since I wasn’t sure if I could bring plants to Bermuda (and he was outgrowing his container again anyway), before I moved, I divided him up, repotted and gave him to friends and family.

However, I’ve decided that Bermuda’s high humidity could be the key to horticultural success. Forgot to water for… ahem… a while? No problem—90% humidity means the soil is still moist anyway! (And my hair has the texture of a Brillo pad.) So I hit up a local nursery and picked up some serious green.

First up: house plants! I honestly have no idea what the ones on the left are… their names have already escaped my brain. The ones on the right are tillandsia, or air plants… which I love and have managed to kill over and over again. Seriously! It doesn’t even need dirt and I can’t keep it alive! Again, I blame Wisconsin winters.

picstitchProduce here is expensive, not always the greatest quality and sometimes not even available. We are so spoiled in the U.S.! So I wanted to get a few things that we could eat. It’s an odd time of the year to start a garden, but I did manage to pick up a few strawberry plants and a really great selection of herbs. At first I had them mixed together in one long container, but the basil and mint are well on their way to shading everything else, and one of my strawberry plants sent out a runner, so I thought everyone could use a little more space to thrive. See, success already!

garden 2The last “plant” I’m working on is really more of an experiment. My friend Kaia (who blogs here) had a bit of a project going when I stopped by her house the other day. She had grown an avocado tree from a pit and was finally potting it. Apparently you can grow trees in your house! Anyway, I picked her brain for a how-to and now I’ve got two pits sitting in water… who knows what will happen. I’d share instructions, but I’m not even sure I did it right, so if I were you, I’d google! If—big if—I have anything sprout, I’ll share by expertise then!

avocadosOh, and finally: limes. I certainly did not grow these, but Andrew picked them last weekend when he was golfing and hit a bad shot into a wooded area. Because we live in a place where lime trees just grow naturally. I wonder how long it will take me to get used to that!

limes 1