Our first ever avocado. I’m a little bit proud.
The fruit isn’t in a hurry to ripen – here it is on the tree 8 months ago. The tree is now three years old and growing happily in a corner of our rather euphemistically titled ‘citrus grove’* in the back garden. I have attempted to create a central American rainforest-like microclimate for it by planting around it a sheltering thicket of bananas and a ‘Butter Bomb’ brugmansia given to me by our brugmansia enthusiast neighbours.
There is some debate about whether two varieties are required for successful fruiting in Melbourne, and to be on the safe side I had planted a B-type ‘Ettinger’ behind the water tank to cross-pollinate my A-type ‘Haas’. Planting anything behind the water tank was always going to be a long shot. It’s a tricky spot to get to let alone water and tragically yet unsurprisingly the poor thing was fried before the middle of its first summer. The final insult was when my kids smothered it with their unauthorised hideout. It is highly probable that we would have more than nine fruit on our ‘Haas’ tree if the ‘Ettinger’ had survived. But imagine my excitement when I first noticed tiny green balls among the foliage back in January…
With some trepidation I picked one on the first day of spring. The fruits give no obvious outward signs of ripeness and we didn’t want to waste a single one by picking it too early.
The avocado sat in the fruit bowl for nearly 2 weeks, obstinately green and hard. Finally a very faint shadow appeared on its skin. Over 2 days it darkened and softened and today we decided it was ready to eat.
It tasted just like a bought one.
* The blood orange succumbed after being shorn off below the graft by a stray soccer ball off the trampoline. The tahitian lime lost half of its branches to another stray soccer ball but is still sort of limping along. The dwarf ‘Washington’ navel orange is yet to recover from the shock of its mid-winter transplanting 2 years ago – the pot it was in cracked and I was forced to bung it into the cold wet soil and hope for the best. The lavender hedge in front of it provided snails with a convenient route up into its branches so its leaves got a fairly regular hammering. But things are looking up for it since I removed the lavender to give it some breathing space. So far the only real success of the citrus grove is the thornless ‘Eureka’ lemon which has been an absolute joy this winter – the little tree has been groaning under the weight of its first heavy crop of juicy and delicious thick-skinned fruits. And happily the avocados have arrived in time for the last of the lemons.