Gardening indoors – because you can

Grow stuff in your house!

An experiment in propagating avocado seeds – Part I

These avocados are of the Haas variety. They were purchased at the local Co-op.

These avocados are of the Haas variety. They were purchased at the local Co-op.

Not too long ago, a neighbor of mine started an avocado plant using the traditional method of starting the seed out in water by hovering it over a glass using toothpicks.  It came up in discussion whether or not it would be a good idea to germinate the seed inside of a makeshift greenhouse, while still using the same method. I decided to do some research on the subject, and came up with absolutely nothing in regard to propagating avocado seeds and covering them in a greenhouse-like environment. I decided that I should try it on my own – propagating two avocado seeds at the same time, one covered, and one not. Only time will tell as far as results go, so I’ll keep you updated as often as possible. I do not yet have my own mature avocado plant, so you’ll be here with me along the way to see all of the development.

Doing my part.

Doing my part.

I realized that I would have to make a little greenhouse of my own out of something laying around thehouse, and I decided that since I have a lot of recyclables under my sink in the cabinet, I would use plastic soda bottles – one for each seed – although I would only be covering one of them. The bottle you see in the picture to the right is a 20-ounce orange soda bottle that happens to be perfect for what I’m trying to accomplish. I’m going to show you step-by-step how to make one of these just in case you wanted to try this on your own. Remember – I have no idea how this will turn out, so forgive me in advance if it’s a total failure. I’m still learning a lot about plants and how they grow, and I suppose you’re here to learn something as well.

Make sure the knife is sharp enough.. you don't want it to slip and slice your fingers off!

Make sure the knife is sharp enough.. you don’t want it to slip and slice your fingers off!

The first thing I did was to cut the bottle, pretty much in half using a small paring knife (not the safest option, but I don’t have a decent pair of scissors available at the moment). I made the cut just below where the bottle starts to mushroom toward the top. The cut was far from perfect, so I used some crappy scissors to even it out after I was done.

Jagged edge

Jagged edge

The top portion of the bottle is what you’ll really want to focus on, seeing as how you’re going to need it to fit over the top of the bottom part of the bottle. This is what the top of your soda bottle should look like at this point, and you’re going to need to remove about a half inch off of the bottom with scissors. It is necessary to complete this step, because you’ll need the top to fit snugly over the bottom portion of the bottle.

"Fine tuned" with crap scissors...

“Fine tuned” with crap scissors…

After you’ve removed the bubbly bottom from the top portion of your bottle, it should look similar to the one in the picture to the left. At this point, go ahead and see how it fits over the bottom portion of the bottle. Does it? If the answer is “yes” then you’re still on track. There are still a few more steps, but we’re more than halfway there.

Rinse, repeat.

Rinse, repeat.

Clean thoroughly!

Clean thoroughly!

 

 

This is the point where you’ll want to thoroughly clean your bottle, paying special attention to the cap, getting rid of any hint of the fact that there was soda in there. I used running hot water and it seemed to do a pretty good job.

This is where your toothpicks will slip into. Lots of options!

This is where your toothpicks will slip into. Lots of options!

After I got the bottle and cap all clean, I let it dry a little so it would be easier to handle. I used the crappy scissors available to me to cut consummate “v’s” along the top of the bottom portion of the bottle. This is where your toothpicks will slip into when you put it all together. I do it this way to leave lots of options open, and so I don’t end up having to make more later on… I also figure it would be a bad idea to poke extra holes in avocado seeds just for the sake of making the toothpicks fit the bottle if it didn’t fit perfectly the first time.

Finished product.

Finished product.

After finishing these steps, you should have your new homemade greenhouse ready to go – especially suited for the experiment at hand. Here’s what mine looks like finished.

In part II of this blog, I’m going to use the two soda bottles to get the actual avocado seeds started. Subscribe to my blog, and stay tuned… Comments, of course, are appreciated, and will give me motivation to keep going with this blog! Feedback is a plus as well. See you on my next post – which is coming right away!

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