What’s this new #Avocado thingy?

OK… since I’ve been asked….

There is a Kickstarter campaign underway for a product called the “avoseedo“… a device that makes it easier to grow your own avocado trees from pits. It’s getting a lot of attention in the foodie press, and it sounds great… who doesn’t want more avocados? I know I do!

Ah, but does it work? I don’t have any first hand experience with the product, but it does look like a clever tool for starting seedlings. Their claim that you can “grow your own avocado trees” seems reasonable.

But…growing avocado trees and producing avocados are two separate outcomes. Do you want a tree, or do you want avocados you can eat? What can you expect?

It will take some time: It will typically take 6 to 8 years or more for a tree to begin bearing fruit. That’s a long time to care for a plant before you get a result.

It will take a lot of care: Avocados can be sensitive and don’t like pots. They don’t like cold, they don’t like to be over-watered, but will absolutely not tolerate drying out. They don’t like chlorinated water or salt. If you expect to go on vacation anytime during those 6 to 8 years, you will need a conscientious and capable avocado-sitter.

You don’t know what you’re going to get: Avocados don’t reproduce true to type. A Hass pit won’t produce a Hass avocado. It might be similar. It might be productive. But generally, varieties that have been selected by long-term breeding programs are superior to those selected by random chance. Given enough attempts and enough patience, somebody will eventually produce a viable new variety.It could be a home-grower using an avoseedo. Perhaps it will be you. But it probably won’t… that’s just how statistics and probability work.

You may very well get nothing: Randomly germinated avocados have a well known track record of being non-bearers.

Still excited? Then go for it! I have no problem with anything that excites people about avocados. Try to start a couple dozen trees, and you’ll increase the odds that you get at least one productive adult. Buy lots and lots of avocados to increase your seed supply! (OK, that advice may be a bit self-serving…) If nothing else, it might be a nice educational project for the kids on the challenges of agriculture.

Or you could get an avocado tree from a retail nursery if you live in a part of the country that is avocado-compatible. I know what I’d do.

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