Although Avocados are sometimes mistaken for vegetables, they’re not. Avocados are an extremely versatile and healthy fruit. They can be used on top of a salad, to make guacamole, they can be spread on a sandwich, the possibilities are endless. It’s also a self-multiplying fruit, meaning an entire avocado tree can be grown from a single avocado bought right from your local supermarket. That’s what makes growing avocados such a fun, educational project to do with your kids during the summer. They can literally see the whole process happening right before their eyes, from eating the fruit to watching it grow into a fruitful tree.
How to grow an avocado tree with your kids in 5 easy steps:
1. Cleaning the Seed
Buy a few avocados and have your kids help make their favorite avocado dip (or dish). You can have them either help, or watch you carefully remove the pit from each avocado. It is very important that you do not cut or damage the seed while your removing it.
After you have gently removed the seeds from your avocados, soak them in water before gently scrubbing the remaining bits of fruit and debris from the seeds. However, it is imperative that you do not damage or remove the brown casing around the seeds.
Note: You should always plant a few seeds at once with your children, to increase the chances of growing a healthy, fruitful avocado tree.
2. Identify the Top and Bottom of Each Seed
Believe it or not, the way you position your seed matters. You must be sure of where the top and bottom of each seed is. This is important because the roots will grow from the bottom of the seed, while the tree will flourish from the top.
Although some avocado seeds are round and some are oblong, every seed will have a slight point at one end, and a flat surface on the other end. The end that’s flat is the bottom of the seed, and the pointed end is the top. The bottom of the seed (the flat end) will eventually be placed in water so the roots can grow.
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3. Use Toothpicks to Stick in Each Avocado
You will need 4 toothpicks for each avocado seed that you and your children will be planting. Have your children gently stick 4 toothpicks evenly around the middle of the seed. The toothpicks should be placed at a slight downward angle, and they should be evenly distributed around the seed. The toothpicks are used to suspend the bottom of the seed in a glass, or cup of water. They will be what holds up the seed, and stops it from being completely submerged in water. So, each toothpick will have to be firmly placed in each avocado seed. Sticking the toothpicks in the seeds at a downward angle will allow more of the seed to soak in the water, which will promote healthy root growth
4. Time to Place Your Avocado Seeds in Water
Now that you and your kiddies have gotten your avocado seeds toothpick ready, it’s time to place them in glasses of water. Have your children place the bottom half (the flat end) of each seed in a clear glass of water. Using clear glasses will allow your kids to see each stage of growth happening right before their eyes. The toothpicks should be resting on the rim of the glass to hold the top of the seed (the pointed end) above the water.
After all your seeds are set securely in their glasses of water, place them by a warm window, where they can soak in a lot of sunlight. Have your children change the water in the glass every few days to avoid bacteria growth that can harm the health of the blooming avocado tree. Note: Make sure each seed is in its own glass. (One seed per glass.)
Watch it Grow! An avocado seed can take anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks to sprout. However, you should check on the seeds everyday with your little ones. They will be excited to see the seed change and grow, from root to sprout. After the stem is about 6 to 7 inches long it can be potted.
Growing an avocado tree with your child is as educational, as it is fun. They learn about where their food comes from, how to grow their own food, and they learn about different growth stages. Growing their own food will also help them appreciate their food and where it comes from a little more. It may take some trial and error, but a healthy growing avocado tree can turn into a lifetime of memories.
Avocado trees can take years to actually start producing fruit. It may seem a bit tedious, but it will be something you and your children will be caring for together for years. Who knows, they just may be able to enjoy the fruits of their avocado tree with their own children one day. It’s a fun summertime project, that can turn into a lifetime of special memories. Generations of possible traditions and memories, all for the cost of a couple of avocados from your local grocery store.