Originally published April 5, 2012
By Ciscoe Morris, former In the Garden writer
AFTER MAKING YOUR next batch of guacamole (perhaps for Cinco de Mayo!), grow an avocado tree from a seed with your kids. All you need is a fresh avocado pit, three toothpicks and a glass of water.
Stick the toothpicks firmly into the sides of the seed, and use them to support the seed at the top of the glass of water, with the blunt end submerged an inch deep in water.
Keep the glass in a brightly lit spot but out of direct sunlight, and refill the water regularly.
Before long, roots will begin to grow from the base of the seed, and soon after, a stem will emerge from the top.
When the stem reaches 3 inches tall, pinch out the top set of leaves to encourage branching.
Once the glass is practically full of roots, transplant the seed into a 6-inch houseplant pot, and fill it with potting soil.
Keep the avocado in a sunny window, water whenever the surface feels dry, and fertilize with a soluble houseplant fertilizer every two weeks from March until September.
Transplant it into a bigger container every March. Before long, the tree will be taller than your kids!
(Editor’s Note: We figured you might want a great guacamole recipe so you’d have an avocado pit for planting, so here’s a classic from the June 22, 2005, edition of The Times Kitchen.)
Makes about 2 cups
½ onion, finely chopped
4 ripe avocados
Juice of 1 lime
2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely diced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh jalapeño pepper, or 2 tablespoons canned jalapeño pepper
1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
¼ teaspoon salt
1. Put the onion in a small bowl, cover with cold water and set aside for 10 minutes. Then drain and pat with paper towels to absorb moisture. Peel and slice the avocados. Toss them with lime juice, and coarsely mash with a fork.
2. Mix in onion, tomatoes, jalapeño pepper, garlic, cilantro, Tabasco and salt; blend well with a fork. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate.