Saturday, January 23, 2010

A is for avocado too

No, the photo isn't of avocados but rather fruit laden branches at the Blue Mountains Organic Community Gardens, where we will hold a talk on pests and diseases of fruit and nut trees grown locally on Saturday 6 February starting at 10.30 am. The gardens has many apple trees too with ready-to-harvest or already dropped apples.

Now for avocados: I like the idea of growing them from seed. This means propping a stone from an avocado (that was lovely, you know because you just ate it) conical part upwards in a jar with a wide mouth that you have filled with water or placing it in moist sawdust. I love the look of the root and shoot growing. Once that happens you can simply pot it up in organic potting mix. Germination is amazingly simple.
However, problems with avocados grown from such seedlings are legion even though it is possible to do it successfully. You have to make sure that you 'nip' out the central shoot once it has a few leaves and turn the plant to benefit from sunlight in an even way so it grows into a rounded plant. You will have to wait several years, perhaps tenor so, for it to fruit. (Grafted trees will fruit in just a few years.) It might not fruit or it might not fruit well. A grafted tree will be a more practical size (say 8–10 metres); avocado plants grown from stones tend to take up more space. A good compromise is to graft the seedling plant to a good variety.

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We can harvest a wide range of fruits and nuts locally each season.

Local fruit and/or nut gardeners are invited to make additions or suggest modifications to the following work-in-progress compiled by Lizzie Connor.


Across the mountains: loquat, mulberry, rhubarb, strawberry and (in late spring) raspberry

Best in the lower mountains: avocado, jaboticaba, lemonade


Across the mountains: apricot, blueberry, boysenberry, cherry, currant (red, black, white), gooseberry, kumquat, loganberry, loquat, mulberry,nectarine, peach, plum, raspberry, rhubarb, strawberry and (in late summer) almond, apple, fig, hazelnut, passionfruit, pear (incl. nashi), pomegranate, youngberry

Best in lower mountains:lemon (Eureka), lemonade, lime, mandarin, orange, persimmon (non-astringent) and (in late summer) avocado, babaco, macadamia, rockmelon, wampee, watermelon

Best in upper mountains: jostaberry, lemon (Meyer), persimmon (astringent)


Across the mountains: almond, apple, chestnut, feijoa, fig, grape, hazel, kiwi fruit, kumquat, medlar, olive, passionfruit, pear (incl. nashi), plum, quince, raspberry (some), rhubarb, strawberry, strawberry guava, walnut

Best in lower mountains: avocado, babaco, cherimoya, grapefruit, lemon (Eureka), macademia, monstera deliciosa, orange, pine nut, pistachio, rockmelon, tamarillo, walnut, watermelon, white sapote

Best in upper mountains: lemon (Meyer), mandarin (Satsuma)


Across the mountains: apple, hazelnut, kiwi fruit, kumquat, pear (incl. nashi)

Best in lower mountains: grapefruit, lemon (Eureka), orange, tangelo

Best in upper mountains: avocado (Bacon), lemon (Meyer)