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How to Grow an Avocado Tree

How to Grow an Avocado Tree

Avocados are healthy, tasty treats, but they’re difficult to grow in a lot of the United States because it gets too cold for them to make fruit. Still, it can be fun to grow an avocado plant from a seed just to see what happens; it’s a great experiment for the kids!

How to Grow an Avocado from Seed

1. Next time you eat an avocado, save the seed. Wash it off, then stick toothpicks in the sides so you can suspend the seed on top of a cup filled with water. About an inch of the seed should be down in the cup.

2. Put the cup in a warm place outside of direct sunlight, refilling the water as needed. It will take between two and six weeks for the roots and stem to sprout, so be patient.

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3. When the green sprout has gotten to be a bout 6 inches long, trim it back to about 3 inches. This will encourage stronger growth. All this time, keep it in the cup with water.

4. When the roots get nice and thick and the steam leafs out again, then it is time to plant the avocado seed. Put it in a large pot with rich soil, and leave half of the seed exposed.

5. Water it regularly but not too much. Keep the soil moist but not soggy, and make sure the plant gets plenty of sun.

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6. Again when the plant is about 12 inches high, trim it back to 6 inches.

You can keep the plant going in a pot for a long time, and you’ll probably want to keep it in a pot if you live anywhere with a harsh winter, because you’ll need to take it inside during the cold season.

Planting an Avocado Plant

Should you want to plant your avocado tree outside, you can do so put it in well-drained soil with a pH of 6 to 6.5. Mulch around the tree, but don’t put the mulch up against the trunk of the tree.

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It’s best to plant in the spring, and to keep the plants well-watered but allow the soil to dry a bit between waterings. If you’re growing a plant from an avocado seed, you should know that it’s unlikely you’ll get fruit from it any time soon, if ever. Agricultural extension agents in California say it can take between 7 and 15 years for a tree grown from a seed to begin producing fruit, and the fruit will likely look and taste different from the original.

If you want to plant an avocado tree for fruit, you should buy one that’s been grown for that purpose, so long as you live in an area where avocados can be grown successfully. That usually means USDA zones 9 and 10, where there’s little to no danger of frost in the winter.

There are some varieties of avocado that can grown in slightly cooler zones (8, or possibly 7), but you need to shop around to make sure you have a plant that does better in cooler weather. You should probably still protect from frost, no matter the variety.

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Caring for Avocado Trees

The California Avocado Commission recommends buying grafted varieties like Hass from reputable growers, planting in the spring in a well-drained area with full sun where they will not compete with other trees. A general-purpose fertilizer is helpful, and younger trees need more frequent, smaller applications of minerals.

Avocado trees need a lot of water, so be sure to water at least twice a week, more in hotter times. Salt buildup can be a big problem for avocados; you may have this problem if the tips of the leaves look burned. Increase watering until the problem goes away.

Avocados are not easy trees to grow for fruit in the vast majority of the country, but they are fun to have as houseplants when you start them from seed. It’s a great science experiment for the kids as well as a conversation starter.

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Sarah White

Freelance Writer, Editor, Professional Crafter

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12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and black tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here:

11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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