Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Growing avocados

The jewel of Gidget's Garden is her avocado tree. It came with the house and was already long established. Our best guess is that it was planted in 1967, the same time the patio next to it was poured, according to the child like engraving in the corner.

When I moved here eight years ago, the tree was not in the best shape, and we weren't too concerned about doing much about it. I cut open one of the fallen avocados and it was a bad one. Now looking back, I think a worm found it's way inside destroying the inner fruit, and making it look disgusting. That experience turned me off for a couple of years but then, after changing my whole perspective about food and becoming a nutritionist, I had a change of heart.

I decided to give these babies another shot and discovered that they're actually the best tasting avocados I've ever eaten and they're the biggest anyone has ever seen. I decided I better start taking good care of our tree because it is an amazing source of beautiful food for us.

This is what the tree was enduring when I finally decided it needed a better life

The avocado tree after adding a container "fence" and mulching the leaves on top
A little bit of research revealed that avocados like to feed off of their own leaves and mulching those leaves around the tree will help keep it happy. This has made our tree happier, so has a regular schedule of feeding it with a citrus food, and watering it well on a regular basis. Now we make growing the biggest, best tasting avocados you have ever seen look extremely easy.

They may be the world's best avocados
I don't know how well we would do if this tree was not already so established and willing to put up with our years of neglect before we got a clue. San Diego is certainly a wonderful place to try growing your own avocados though, as they are flourishing all over the city.

We've been trying to convince Gidget that avocado trees don't really need much pruning but it's one of her favorite tasks in the garden.
Last year's crop was spectacular.

Avocados hanging on tree last year

Farmer D picking avocados

A tiny portion of the avocados we enjoyed last year
After having this success and seeing the way that people react to our monster avocados, I decided to grow a whole bunch of these seeds so we could spread this tree around, and help others enjoy such a great food source. 

As of now we have been unable to identify the variety, and I just found out the county of San Diego's agriculture folks don't know either. They will be classified as miscellaneous on our seller's certificate. I'll be calling them our Golden Hill Hybrid.

There are several ways to sprout avocados but I prefer Mom's method
My excitement about spreading these avocados across the city quickly diminished. It didn't take long for me to learn that this baby has to be a tree for seven years before discovering if it will even fruit. Then if it does fruit, there's no telling what variety the fruit will be. It could be any one of the number of varieties that are nearby in my neighborhood.

I was introduced to the concept of grafting, which is required to guarantee that your tree will produce this variety. Grafting is a process in which a piece of the tree you want is fused onto another and then the plant becomes the variety you want. That's my basic knowledge on the subject but I do plan to investigate it more and start playing with it because it is the only way to ensure you are growing this specific variety, and I would love to see our avocados live on throughout the city.

In the meantime, they are a very valuable resource for us, and even work as cash when you frequent yard sales.

A couple of items that we purchased with avocados last year; an adorable table above, and a gorgeous hand painted pot below. The container garden "fence" around the tree was also purchased almost entirely with avocados. 

The next generation of avocados is on the tree growing, and we look forward to sharing them with our customers at the Golden Hill Farmer's market, when they're ready. We're not exactly sure when that will be but we're hoping for Fall.  

Baby Golden Hill Hybrid avocados growing on tree.
Fleck is much more interested in carrot season. 


  1. I love this! It's so interesting to learn about avocados, since they certainly don't grow here in Indiana! It's your magic touch that has nudged your tree into growing those fabulous avocados, Crystal!