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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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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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