Av­o­ca­dos

From tree to ta­ble

go! Platteland - - FRONT PAGE - TEXT JO­HAN VAN ZYL PETER VAN NO­ORD AND SUPPLIED

Spring is the per­fect time to plant an av­o­cado tree, which will re­ward you with fruit year af­ter year, mak­ing it an out­stand­ing in­vest­ment for your wal­let and your health.

We vis­ited the ex­perts of ZZ2 in the Mooketsi Val­ley in Lim­popo to find out more.

To­day, most of the fruit (yes, the avo is a fruit, not a veg­etable) are grown in Lim­popo and Mpumalanga, but there are also av­o­cado farms in KwaZu­luNatal and the Eastern Cape. South Africa is one of the 10 big­gest avo pro­duc­ers in the world, and one of the big­gest ex­porters to Europe.

There are many rea­sons you should plant one of these sub­trop­i­cal trees in your own gar­den – as long as it’s a frost-free area. Not only will you save a lot of money, but you’ll also be pro­duc­ing a sought-af­ter su­per­food that con­tains a wealth of fi­bre, mo­noun­sat­u­rated fats (which help to re­duce choles­terol), vi­ta­mins, min­er­als (such as potas­sium, which can help to pre­vent high blood pres­sure, heart dis­ease and stroke), an­tiox­i­dants and other phy­to­chem­i­cals.

Plat­te­land vis­ited the ZZ2 head of­fice in Mooketsi to ask the com­mer­cial ex­perts how you can achieve suc­cess in your back yard.

The right po­si­tion and soil

Av­o­ca­dos grow on ever­green sub­trop­i­cal trees that need am­ple reg­u­lar sun­light – prefer­ably full sun – to bear fruit.

The most im­por­tant re­quire­ment is good drainage: first check that the soil is nice and loose be­fore work­ing in plenty of or­ganic ma­te­rial. Se­condly, rather plant the tree too shal­low than too deep. A clever way to make sure the tree never bat­tles with wet feet is to plant it on a mound that’s about 30cm-60cm high and about 1m-1,5m in di­am­e­ter. Also ap­ply a thick, coarse layer of mulch con­sist­ing of wood chips or bark pieces. The soil should al­ways be moist (a de­cent mulch will help), par­tic­u­larly in sum­mer and when flow­ers are be­ing formed. Some peo­ple are con­vinced that the trees want an ex­tra sip of wa­ter dur­ing the hottest time of the day. At ZZ2, mois­ture lev­els are tested au­to­mat­i­cally and the drip ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem is turned on if nec­es­sary.

Be vig­i­lant about not over­wa­ter­ing: av­o­cado trees are sus­cep­ti­ble to root rot, and too much mois­ture cre­ates an ideal en­vi­ron­ment for fun­gal dis­eases such as an­thrac­nose and black spot to flour­ish. >

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