Avocados - contain healthy mono-unsaturated fatty acids, helping to lower bad cholesterol. They also contain antioxidants, potassium, magnesium, folate and fibre. Avocados contain many vitamins, mainly the B complex and vitamins A and E, as well as folic acid and iron.
Avocado helps your body to absorb more nutrients from other foods; such as when you eat tomato and avocado together in a salad.
The avocado tree (Persea americana) is an evergreen tree originating from Central America and the West Indies. Their growth habit varies - depending on the variety - from tall and upright to well-shaped and spreading. It is a fast growing tree with deep green, elliptical leaves that tend to drop constantly.
Avocado is frost tender while young, so if you live in a cold climate you will need to grow them near a North facing wall ( in the Southern Hemisphere - South facing in the Northern Hemisphere ) or in a grove of other trees.
Don't mulch around your avocado trees during winter as you will increase the frost damage on the leaves. Instead grow smaller plants and herbs around them.
You also need to provide perfect drainage as avocado is susceptible to root-rot. Deep, rich soil in full sun, with shelter from the wind are all important factors in deciding where to grow your trees. Water deeply during summer.
Avocados are self-fertile, but if you want good crops it is best to plant at least two compatible trees. If space is limited you could try growing them in the same hole and let the trunks twist around each other.
As avocados are evergreen, you can plant any time of year.
*My own personal tip is to take great care of your young avocado trees by protecting them from direct summer sun and shelter them from the wind for their first few years. Create a hessian shelter for them. You can remove it when your trees are about two metres tall.*
Growing a green mature crop before planting your avocado tree will enrich the soil giving your new plant the best start. Feed young plants with small amounts of organic fertilizer regularly (about every 8 weeks) during the growing season. Spread the fertilizer evenly around each tree going just further out than the canopy drip line.
For mature trees, fertilize with 10 litres of organic poultry manure per tree applied on top of a layer of organic mulch.
Avocados won't ripen until they are picked or they have fallen from the tree. This is of great benefit as it means you can have a long season. You can start to harvest them when they are quite immature - even fruit as small as a golf ball. They won't taste as nutty or rich, but you can still enjoy them.
You can leave fruit on the tree until it falls naturally, which will give you a long harvesting time.
If you have the space you might consider growing several varieties that fruit at different times of the year and you will have a year-round supply of this wonderful, healthy fruit.
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