Friday, January 30, 2009

Avocado Shanty is BACK

I haven't quite let go off the possibility/desire/interest/obsession with growing avocados in ONC. Regular viewers may recall the previous aborted attempts a growing an avocado hedge in what is now the orchard. Neighbours lovingly described my elaborate polystyrene sheeting and shade cloth frost protection and shade arrangements as "looking like a shanty town" which is where the whole avocado shanty thing came from. Anyhoo, here we go again with a pared down version.

Avocados do not like wet feet. The ONC has an abundance of nice thick wet clay subsoil and while most of my efforts were focused on stopping my babies from drying out, it only took an unusually wet couple of days in winter to invite a nice rooty fungus and thus avocado disaster.

So, this next attempt involves growing my beloved avocado in a large half wine barrel. This my friends will hopefully achieve a number of benefits. Firstly, Miss Bacon's roots are well out of the clay, secondly, the extra height should give me perhaps another one or two degrees warmth in winter, thirdly, I can fill the wine barrel with loads of excellent soil, fourthly, by drilling lots of holes in the bottom of the barrel, there is no chance of water logging and once (if) she gets big, her roots can get down into the soil as well.

Other site design elements include a strategic location along site the water tanks which should further insulate my darling from the cold and make daily watering in summer a breeze. I haven't completely ruled out the possibility of using my chick brooder heat lamp overnight in winter.........

So far so good. These photos are from when she first went in and since then, she had put on loads of growth including lots of all important side shoots. You see, avocados are a bit special in that their trunks photosynthesis which makes them susceptible to direct sunlight and frost until they grow up a bit and bush out. This explains the hessian cover to protect her leaves and stem from the sun.

Fingers crossed. Will keep you posted.

For the most EXCELLENT Gardening Australia article on growing avocados including the avocados in a pot idea, see here.

For avocado trees, you might like to try sunraysia nursery - I have had great service from these friendly folks. They also have an excellent range of kiwi vines.


sherd said...

*waits with bated breath*

The Duck Herder said...

you too huh?

I just checked - no flowers yet.