FOWC with Fandango: Tantilizing

Avocado

That big green thing sitting in the middle of my bowl of apples (from my own apple tree I would mention) is an avocado. Of course you all recognise an avocado, they even grow in some of the places where we live. They do not grow in the East End of London in England where I spent the first 20 years of my life. We only had apples and, well just apples really, My first meeting with an avocado was when I had emigrated to Switzerland.

No, they do not grow in Switzerland either, but the world was getting smaller and various fruits and vegetables were appearing in places that they had never been. The first time I actually tasted an avocado, I must have been some time betwenn 20 and 30 years old and yes, I quite liked them. It was only later in years that I actually bought them and began to mix them with things you mix them with.

Avocado

I even managed to grow a few of their stones, or pits or whatever, but eventually they had strange insects with hundreds of legs or sort of gave up the ghost.

I was in the supermarket on Friday and they had a whole tray of avocado, special deal, just 1.20 Swiss francs the piece and they were big – see picture. Of course I bought one with the intention of making a mixed salad with prawns (which are also not found in Switzerland, but we import them frozen). Now I have my avocado and it it tempting me to eat it. The only problem is that I forgot to buy some prawns to go with it and now do not know what to do with it. I have time until next week I hope. they tend to get soft, squashy and unappetising if you forget them. I do have a tin of tuna fish, so was thinking perhaps a tuna and avocado salad might be an idea. My son does not eat them and Mr. Swiss turned his nose up and I am not going to eat a complete avocado on my own, that would be too much of a good thing.

Lesson learned – do not buy something that appeals to you unless you know what you want to do with it. I am really tantalised – with the sight of something that is unobtainable to eat because I forgot to buy something to go with it.

FOWC with Fandango: Tantilizing

Daily Prompt: Lovingly no longer works

Not that I am a hard callous person. I really try my best, but Mr. Swiss tends to say “I will do it”. Is he relieving me of the hard work, loving assistance? Not really, it is mainly because he knows that if I am really doing something that needs delicacy and care, I will probably drop it, or it will break in some other way. My fingers never leave my hands, but perhaps it would be better if they did. They might get new life, be objects of dependence, instead of being clumsy.

This morning I was frying onions for the sausages I was making for lunch. No problem, they were silly small onions and I had to peel them before chopping them in slices. Mr. Swiss was quickly there in the kitchen to assist me picking up the brown onion skins that were decorating the floor with a brown layer. He knew that there could be perhaaps a problem when I wanted to sweep them together and not be able to stand again afterwards. It is not yet so bad, but I can be very unpredictable.

Now and again I am succesful.

Avocado

 

Sorry the photo is not so clear, but it is difficult to take a photo of an avocado pit with a mobile telephone camera, and I did not have time for a full macro for this blog, but you get the idea – I hope. My first attempt at an avocado tree is successful. The tree is surviving and even made some new leaves last week  in Winter. So the second project is on the way. This pit was cleaned lovingly and placed on water at the beginning of Januray. I covered it with a large container to prevent any light as I am of the opinion that this would encourage roots.

Daily I lovingly remove the cover to watch the progress of my new avocado pit. Just over a week ago I notice the pit was beginning to split at the bottom. Today success. The first white roots were appearing, nothing spectacular, but a sign that it was still a living thing. I wanted to show a detailed photo, but this did not work. However, if you look carefully, dead center of this fantastic photo you see a small white point. That is the tip of the white root now growing. It will soon be Spring and I will have two avocado trees on my porch. I will become the first avocado exporter of fruit in Switzerland.

Avocado

Daily Prompt: Lovingly no longer works

Daily Prompt: The ghostly avocado

“The gardeners have arrived.”

“Hi Joe, Hi Fred, glad to see you again. Where’s Ambrose?”

“Hallo Mrs. Angloswiss. He is not working with us at the moment.”

“Oh, that’s a shame, he was so good. I was sure he spoke to my plants and knew exactly what they require.”

“I know, that sort of gardener no longer exists, he could just look at a seed and say if it would survive or not. Anything special to do Mrs. Angloswiss, or just the usual?”

“Just the usual. The hedges need cutting again, and perhaps a few weeds growing here and there.”

“Yes, we can see that. What about the remainders of the Spring bulbs, shall we cut them back.”

avocado“Oh, no just leave them to disappear all by theirselves. Ambrose always said not to interfere too much with nature, and let it take its course. Just one thing Joe, I planted a second avocado in the garden. Actually I almost lost it, because I couldn’t remember where I had put it. I have one already growing in a pot, but I thought I would put the second pit in the garden to see how it would survive. It is over there on the edge of the flower bed. Just leave it where it is to see what will happen.”

“Are you sure, it doesn’t look very strong and will probably not survive the Winter.”

“You might be right. Perhaps you could ask Ambrose if you see him, what he thinks.”

“We probably will. We will ask him when we visit him tomorrow.”

“Visit him?”

“Yes, he is in hospital. Had  a heart attack last week, and will probably no longer be able to work.”

“Give him my best wishes when you see him. My garden will not be the same without his guiding hands I am sure.”

“Yes, well me and Fred will be doing our best.”

“Sorry, no offence meant, but Ambrose just became part of my garden over the years. I remember when he saw my first apple tree that I grew from a seed. All the other gardeners said it would not survive and I could forget about it bearing apples. Ambrose looked at the small sapling and re-assured me it would find its way in the garden and last year I harvested over 100 apples.”

“Yes, we know. Ambrose seemed to grow with the plants and feel with them. We really do miss him. And now to the work.”

The gardeners worked well and when they left in the evening everything was perfect, except for one small item. Mrs. Angloswiss searched everywhere. She was not sure where it was, but she could not find her new arrival, the avocado she planted in the garden. There was a space where the stalk and its few leaves were. She the realised what had happened. Avocados were not a common appearance is the climate where she lived and the gardeners probably thought it was just one of the other weeds. She was sad, her avocado was no longer. She had watched it grow from the beginnings in an egg cup where she placed it in some water. First of all the root fought its way through the pit, and then the first leaves arrived. She took the chance and planted it in the garden, where it actually got lost until she found it growing in her herbs. She then found a safe place next to the rose bush, and now it was gone. “If only Ambrose had been here” she thought “he would have  recognised my avocado and rescued it, and now either Joe or Fred have thrown it amongst the other weeds, that the< piled into their truck before they left.”

She was sorry that her avocado had disappeared, but she still had the other one in a pot.

The next day she had a surprise and Ambrose was standing in her garden. Gardeners always arrive by the back entrance, so they do not have to walk through her home with their muddy shoes.

“Hello Ambrose, what a surprise. I though you was in hospital recovering from a heart attack.”

“Yes that’s right Mrs. Angloswiss, but they have now let me go home. I just wanted to see how things were in your garden before leaving. You apple tree is growing nicely, it will be a good harvest this year. And what do we have here. Well look at that, an avocado tree. Looks like your other tree in the pot will have a little brother.”

“But Ambrose Joe and Fred mistook my avocado for a weed and removed it.”

“Doesn’t look like it to me Ma’am, growing strong and tall like the other one. Lovely little specimen arn’t you?”

And Mrs. Anglswiss was sure that her missing avocado which had now mysteriously appeared in the garden again, shook it leaves – or was it the wind. She was glad it had survived the attack of Joe and Fred. Thank goodness Ambrose had looked in.

“Thankyou Ambrose, I am sure my avocado appreciates your visit. Ambrose, Ambrose” she called, but he was not longer there. It then began to rain, looked like a storm was brewing, there were a few thunder claps and some lightening bolts, but her avocado pit stood its ground and soaked up the rain.”

The next day Mrs. Angloswiss was reading the local newspaper and the obituaries as usual, but she startled. How come that Mr. Ambrose Muggly (her gardener) had passed away from the results of a heart attack yesterday morning, when he was in her garden yesterday afternoon. She cast a glance at her avocado and notice it had made another two leaves since yesterday.

Avocado

Based a little on the truth. I did plant a second avocado pit in my garden (see photo), but forgot where it was, and suddenly found it in my herb bed. I replanted it again and it disappeared after the gardeners had tidied up my garden. I found it again two days ago, there must have been a remainder in the garden or……….

Daily Prompt: The ghostly avocado

Daily Prompt: Tricky

I am at the moment in the tricky situation of raising an avocado stone to become a plant.

Avocado

You must know the green fruit that gets soft and mushy if you keep it too long. It is impossible to cut and peel without obtaining green sticky stains on your fingers. On the other hand if the avocado is unripe it is also bitter and not suitable to eat. If you want to buy an avocado, the you must examine them carefully in the shop, press them, smell them and study the colour. At least that is what the trained avocado eater does. I am not a trained avocado eater and to be quite honest I only buy one now and again for its stone, hoping one day to have my own plantation of avocado trees in the garden. Of couse I actually do something with the avocado to eat it. We have discovered that chopping it in pieces and mixing it with a salad dressing goes quite well with smoked salmon.

When I have bought my avocado the first problem is to remove the skin. Of course this is not a problem for the trained few. Just make a dividing cut to form two pieces and twist the avocado. It should then be in two clean pieces in your hand and the stone is cleanly removed from one half. The stone could refuse this movement and remain fixed, not ready to leave the fruit. However I find with some increased effort, spiced with a few helping profanities the stone gives up and surrenders.

You now have a stone with a few green remnants on its skin. This is no problem, just wash the stone under running water, but be careful it does not slip out of your hands. The stone may be somewhat slimy. Now you have your stone ready to plant, although patience is required. I usually place it in an egg cup of suitable size, supply water and forget it for a week, or two, perhaps even three. An avocado tree is not grown in a day.

You can now see the perfect example of my avocado with its first roots growing. A crack has appeared to make it easier for the root to grow and for the beginnings of growing life.

AvocadoIf you happen to drop your growing avocado it will break in the middle, which is quite useful for showing how life in the stone is developing. This photo is from an earlier attempt, which was eventually unsuccessful, but all beginnings are difficult. As you can see not only has a root appeared, but a few green stalks. Had this stone survived it would today be a tree bearing many fruits, perhaps. I asked my gardener his opnion. I ignored the smile on his face as he told me that an avocado had small chances of surviving in a country where snow and ice were the normal conditions in Winter, but if it remained inside for a few years I could risk putting it in the garden, wrapped in a winter coat made of some sort of insulating plastic. He was still smiling when he had finished the conversation. I think  he did not take me seriously enough.

I now have one stone that is still thinking about making a root, a stone that alreay has a root and also – now wait for it – my growing avocado tree.

Avocado
I know it does not look like very much, but all great things have small beginnings. I read somewhere that when it reached 6″ of growth I should cut it back to encourage more leaves and branches. At the moment I am being patient. I am worried that if I now remove the growth, it will give up and not re-incarnate itself.

As you can see it has formed its first leaves. Growing an avocado is a tricky business, but where there is life there is hope. I have now decided to plant my new stone with the roots, as in the first photo, in the garden. We now have spring weather and I am sure it will encourage its growth.

Of course I am not a beginner with this work. If only  it was not such a tricky business. I have an apple tree in my garden, grown from an apple pip. Luckily my children did not follow in the steps of George Washington carrying a hatchett cutting it down. My apple tree is now 8 years old and is very big. We have to cut it back once a year. Ufortunately it has never carried an apple, but I have not given up hope.

Yes planting trees is a tricky business.

Daily Prompt: Tricky

The Avocado is growing

Some time ago I had an avocado stone that started to grow. Here is a link to my blog all about it The Birth of an Avocado Tree showing a few photos of the beginning.

After planting it in a hydroponic way (hydrokultur in German, I just do not know the english word), I was worried as the Spring weather was not ideal for growing. I left it in a warmer place outside but it did not seem to do a lot. At last the Summer is here, just the thing for an avocado that only knows sun, fun and nothing to do but grow and now it is growing. So three months later, this is my mini avocado tree. In Winter I will have to take it inside, as avocados have never seen snow or lived in icy temperatures. What could possibly happen, it can only grow. In a few years, when I am still here, I hope to show a photo of the first harvest.

The avvocado in July 2013

The Birth of an Avocado Tree

Avocado growing

It all began with a special offer for avocado in the supermarket and a prawn cocktail. I made the cocktail myself with prawns and a self made cocktail sauce, and just to polish it up a bit I bought an avocado, cut it in small pieces, and mixed it with the prawns. Something I prepare as an entrée on high days and holidays.

The avocado had a stone, as usual. I had done this before a few years ago, but decided let’s try it again. I took the stone, put it in an egg cup full of water and put a cup over it to keep it in the dark and to encourage some roots. A couple of days later I had a sort of accident when I was watching the progress of my master experiment. Unfortunately the stone fell onto the stone floor and split into two halves. Undaunted I continued my experiment and put the two halves of the stone back into the water filled egg cup. I noticed that a strange structure had formed in the middle of the stone, but decided it could only get better.

Today, after two weeks of loving care and constant supply of fresh water, I discovered my stone had not only formed roots, but had started growing, not with one shoot but three. I decided it was time to plant my avocado tree, applying a “Hydrokultur” method of growth. I really do not know the english word for “Hydrokultur” as I could not find it in a dictionary anywhere. However, to explain, instead of planting the stone in earth, it is now growing in water, surrounded by foamed clay (another translation I found from the German “blahton”, but do not know if it makes sense).

Here is a photo of the growing tree, which has been given water containing special liquid fertiliser. In about ten years I hope to show a photo of the tree, complete with the first harvest of avocado pears.

Avocado Hydroculture