Posts Tagged ‘research’

“The little seed that could” has lost his head!!

Alas, it had to be done; however, it was not without it’s own learning moments. I had become attached to a plant. Me, attached to a plant? Well, apparently so, and I didn’t really want to see the green bundle of happiness that I created reduced to a mere stick protruding from a slowing wilting seed husk.

These are the “just before” pictures. You may notice that he sprouted into a beautiful little avocado seedling, hence I believe, the reason I was so reluctant to give him the chop!

Let's see how these re-grow


A last look at the sun for a little while


I thought about the project, and decided that it was more important than my attachment to a plant. So, I broke out the pruning shears, and took his 13″ stem down to a 7″ stem. He does not seem to be too offended.

This is the new “Little Seed that Could”

and, he's half the man he used to be

and now, I lay thee down to sleep

The Chilean seed is coming along, and I would expect that he will be joining his brothers in potted life sometime in late February. The big boy continues to leaf out nicely, and does not appear leggy to me; however, I wouldn’t know a leggy avocado from a paramecium collage.

Anyway, more to come, stay tuned, the best is definitely yet to come.


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…and now, with no further adieu, may I introduce, the one and only Chile Seeds! Chilll-leeeee Seeeeeeds!!!

The roots are starting on Chile's seedling

This is the Chilean seed which I plan on eventually using as my “control” for the project. It is widely accepted as gospel that grafting an established fruiting avocado to a sprouted seed will turn into a clone of the graft, hence, providing the grower with a mirror image of the tree/fruit which the graft was taken from.

My father’s tree fruits avocados which are of good quality, and presumably of the Haas variety. I cannot say for sure if they are Haas; however, as Haas avocados are the predominate avocado variety in California, it is a safe bet.

I have a lot of research to do to determine at what stage, size, age, etc., a graft should be attempted to a seedling. I postulate that it’s about the year old stage. This should give the seedling time to root fully, and have a stem/trunk which would be of an adequate size to sustain the grafting process.

Chile, topside, cracks are already starting


Chile's root system - a straight shooter!

I can’t wait to see how this thought line plays out, and what, if any difference this actually makes regarding the outcome.


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So walking to work this morning, I noticed that there are two very mature, beautiful, and apparently fruiting avocado trees.

This got me thinking, I have a third seed which is sprouting over a jar of water which I had no clear direction for, I think I now have a direction. Obtaining a cutting from one of my father’s avocado trees, and grafting that into the seedling’s stalk when it gets big enough.

One of the “party lines” of the naysayers to the possibility that a store bought avocado producing a fruiting tree, is that the only way to get a Haas Avocado to grow, is via the grafting method. Well, I guess I will have to have a “control” to validate my experiment. This is pseudo-science dontchaknow?

More on that later…

The "little seed" in his big brothers shadow

Now that “the little seed that could” has reached the prescribed height of 12 inches, it is time to give him his first decent pruning. I don’t know why; however, I am having a hard time coming to terms with cutting him in half. It must be the nurturing parental instinct which resides in humans.

Alas, it must happen, or I cannot really continue with the project, right? I must look at the pruning with a cold scientific eye. So, this (sadly, not very good picture) will be the first, and last, glimpse of its little first leaves. It almost feels like I am watching my child take his first steps, then telling him he cannot walk anymore? Weird the way the mind works.

First little leaves, will be leaving soon...

Next steps, cutting “the little seed that could” in half, and researching proper grafting methods for the Haas Avocado.

My Chilean seed now has purpose….

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The time finally came, it was time to move to my new place. How would the trees (and little sprout) adjust to the new place? Would they miss the view from the apartment in Rockridge? Who could know, I just had to trust that they trusted my judgement, and that I would watch out for them.

I wish that I could load this post with photos of their progress; alas, I seem to have moved into a cell phone “dead-zone” <insert spooky music here>, add that to the fact that all my pictures are currently being shot with the camera on my “non-responsive” cell phone, it’s a work in progress!

I at one point had a USB connection for my charger, the key words being “at one point”. Sadly, there is a beautiful mixed breed dog in San Francisco named Samantha, that just found the thing fascinating. Oh well, she was happy, so, I was happy!

The larger of the two avocados trees is enjoying his new spot in the sun. I noticed that the plant seems to have totally stopped its height gain.My theory is that Avocados grow really fast from the start to enable them to get to an altitude where their main leaves can soak up the Sun’s rays of goodness. With my growing him on top of the television at the old apartment, in full sun, I believe that he got to where he needed to be height-wise, and is just chilling (like Bob Dylan!).

The “little seed that could” is still in the jar of life, and its little root system is developing nicely. The seed has actually split completely in two, with the only thing holding it together,being the little avo tree inside. I am growing him in an out-of-the-way corner of the kitchen, and he is thriving. From the fluffy bunch of growth at the tip of the stalk, it appears that he will be setting leaves soon.

I hope to download the pictures from my cell phone (that couldn’t) tomorrow, when I can get to a location not in Oakland’s version of the Bermuda triangle. If all works as planned, expect a photo laden post tomorrow.

 Night WP

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It is raining so much out here, I am just waiting for someone to call me about an Ark, and a heck of a lot of animals.

The lighting for taking pictures is dismal, as you may realize from today’s photo update. Alas my friends, the changes which occur during the cold days, are not dramatic anyway.

However, I am happy to report that the larger plant is looking very healthy, with its little leaves turning a nice dark, shiny green. Which sadly, I am totally failing to capture with my little camera phone. The camera on my phone is a champ on some day; however, on other days, I wouldn’t take a picture of a losing lottery ticket with it!

The little guy is beginning to tower over his housemates! I hope that they are not feeling insecure about their places in my attentions, I love them all the same. The avocados, and hopefully this one, may just feed me someday, and that deserves a little press!

The little sleepy seed, well, he’s a movin’ mighty slow at the Junction… as it were. Poor little guy just seems totally unmotivated to come out of his shell and meet his big brother. Well, I guess you can’t rush perfection, Avocados are pretty perfect to me, so, chill my friend, I will be here when you decide the time is right.

The picture (I know, kinda blurry – camera won’t focus on something so insignificant!) below is the budding root system for Mr. Sleepy

His stem is still just getting its first few glimpses of the world around him.I totally understand though, if I didn’t have to go to work everyday, I might just be tempted to stay in a nice warm spot, sipping cool drink all day. This little avocado may have something to his reticence at joining the hustle and bustle world.

That’s all for today, it’s been a long week, and I am about to vegetate like it’s my job in front of some poorly scripted, over-funded, and under-informative Discovery Channel programming! Nite WP!!

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The past two days have been spent looking up information about avocados, their origins, types, history, etc., so that I could better grasp what I am getting myself into. Well, there was also that little Winter Solstice Holiday Celebration event somewhere in the middle, but I did do a lot of reading in the non-family event related times.

|start rant| As you may suspect, or are already painfully aware of, the internet is a very sharp double-edged sword. There are untold volumes of information on practically any subject one wishes to pursue, which generally is a good thing.

Unfortunately, there is no requirement that the good folks of the world-wide-web post only reasonable data with some semblance of truth or fact backing their input. Combined with the fact that there exists no system (reasonable or otherwise) which acts as a global fact checker for all of the random pearls of wisdom, supposedly solid facts, wild off-the-cuff opinions, and other missives of plain old crap which are deposited unto the web every second. In other words; there is A LOT of chaff left in the wheat bin when it’s shipped out to an unsuspecting world! Buyer Beware!! |end rant|

Some of the data I found interesting and useful included:

  • The University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (a statewide network of University of California researchers and educators dedicated to the creation, development and application of knowledge in agricultural, natural and human resources), has a whole team of researches who work solely on the lowly avocado
  • There are three general categories which avocados fall under; the West Indian, the Guatemalan,  and the Mexican varieties – the Hass falls into both the Guatemalan and Mexican varieties. Avocados grown in Florida are generally of the West Indian variety. NOTE: I am not including hybrids in the three general categories, as the source I obtained the information from does not include hybrids as a separate category.
  • Hass avocados absolutely dominate the retail market, according to the Hass Avocado Board’s State of the Category report for 2009, the Hass avocado led the category with a national 3-year average of over 90% of the total retail sales and volume.
  • 2009 total retail volume of avocados sold in the United States was 1,060,214,068 pounds. Of those avocados, 85% are imported from either Mexico (661,532,680 lbs) or Chile (239,336, 276 lbs), only 15% of avocados sold in the United States are grown in California (159,345,112 lbs)

I found the last point to be the most interesting. I live in California, and think of the avocado as a California product. I say that statistic alone speaks volumes to the popularity of the Hass variety.

Did you know that every single Hass avocado that you eat, can directly trace their heritage back to a single known tree? Well, they can, the tree was simply known as, The Mother Tree, she started life in 1926 in La Habra Heights, California, by mail-carrier and amateur horticulturist, Rudolph Hass. Sadly she succumbed to root rot at the ripe old age of 76 in 2002, but leaves a legacy that stretches clear across the globe. Not too bad Momma!!

Another interesting statistic I came across was that of all of those avocados, only 2% of the total volume are certified as Organic. Astonishing!!

However, I have a theory that this may relate directly to the dismal results  in growing fruiting trees. I am working the angle that there may be a link between the organic avocados, and the sparse report of success in growing a tree which fruits. I think a little bit of a deeper dive into the fruiting trees, and their source, may also end up with fruitful results.

I will post more as my data develops, and as my plants grow. The weather here  in Northern California seems to have stalled their growth to a trickle, so the pictures are not having the dramatic changes as their first two months. I will still be posting new photos as the subtler changes occur.

Y’all come back now, ya hear!

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So, I spent a lot time yesterday, and this morning researching the veracity of the claims that an Avocado tree grown from seed will not fruit.

On the face of it, it just does not seem to make sense to me. There are a number of reasons that I am going with this conclusion.

  • Avocados have been around a long flipping time, I don’t think homo habilis was grafting avo trees in Mexico, just a theory, I could be wrong
  • From most of the research that I did, it appears that most people don’t actually bring their starters to fruition. The 7 – 12 year commitment seems to scare 90% of the fledgling plants from ever making it to the fruit bearing stage
  • Finally, I have plain old found evidence to the contrary, from websites, blogs, university web sites, and horticultural sites, and it appears that in fact, yes, you CAN get a seed started tree to bear fruit. It just takes A LONG time.

So, with this little gem of information (at least in my mind), I will definitely be pressing forth with the project. I am moving, hopefully next weekend, so, I hope that my little starters like where ever it is that I may end up.

This is the plant that is growing quite well, it is about 2 feet tall; however, I purposely did not prune this tree. I did on the fact that the Mexican Avocado, in its natural habitat, starts life under the cover of shade from surrounding trees. Their defense to this problem of not getting a lot of sun, is that they have amazing growth spurts early in life. This little guy averaged 2 -3″ / day once it started. Reaching for that Sunshine, just like its wild ancestors did. You go little fella!

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