All hail the awesome avocado – key ingredient of the greatest dip/side dish/condiment on earth, guacamole (see Helen’s recipe at the bottom of this fact sheet)!  Apart from being amazingly tasty, avocados are darned good for us – high in vitamin C, chock full of anti-oxidants, great for our skin and a good source of beneficial mono-unsaturated fats.  Oh, and for the blokes, they are a great liver cleanser and may also help prevent hair lose due to their high content of folic acid.  Is there anything this fab fruit can’t do?

Generally regarded as a fruit of more tropical climes, many varieties of avo will do just fine in the southern states, given the soil and drainage is just right.  You see, as fantastic as avocados are, they can also be a bit fussy, but with a bit of love and attention they will fruit just fine in the southern states.  Avocados despise “wet feet”, so improve drainage of your heavy clay soil with gypsum and compost well before planting, and consider planting your avo’s on a slope, or a mound.  Soil wise, a slightly acid to neutral pH is fine, so aim for about 5.5 – 7 for best results.

Choose a warm, frost-free position for these tasty trees, remembering that many avocados can reach a height of 5 – 10m at maturity, so leave room for these gorgeous trees.  Over the hot summers across much of this country, you may find your avocado looking a bit average, especially in its first few years.  Avocados aren’t known for their vigorous root systems, and this can cause them to dry out much quicker than many other plants, so keep the water up to them when it’s really hot (in accordance with local water restrictions of course).

The other thing to remember about avocados is that each variety has a different flowering “habit”, which sees avo’s categorized into two groups, A and B.  Now, avocados are partially self-fertile, which means they may produce a bit of fruit on their own, but their yields will be increased if you can whack in one tree of each group.  Avocados ripen once harvested, and, dependant on variety, this can take about a week to 10 days.

A word of warning regarding all avocado types – many parts of the plant can be highly poisonous to a number of animals, mainly horses, cattle, goats and birds.   There is debate about whether they are poisonous to dogs, with some reports of poisoning.  So if you want to protect your pooch, it would be wise to consult your veterinarian!

Avocado – Bacon (B Flowering Variety): The best cold tolerant avocado, Bacon will grow to a manageable height of 4m in cooler climes.  Fruit is a medium size and quality and appears on the tree from June – late July, and, unlike most other avocados, will fall from the tree when ripe.  Can bear fruit in as little as 4 years.

Avocado – Edranol (B Flowering Variety): An extremely tasty avocado, Edranol is popular in large scale avocado production, especially in South Africa.  Edranol loves a slightly sandy, well-drained soil, and will go gang-busters in a coastal location as nit prefers a warmer locale.  Expect a medium sized fruit with a darkish skin and butter yellow flesh.

Avocado – Fuerte (B Flowering Variety): Another great cold tolerant variety, Fuerte produces small, pear shaped fruits with a dark green skin and a fabulous nutty flavour.  Fuerte can be quite a large, spreading tree reaching a decent height of about 8m x 12m, so give it some space.  Fuerte has a tendency to produce fruit every second year (between June and October), and can take about 6 years to produce fruit.

Avocado – Hass (A Flowering Variety):Possibly the most popular of all avocados, Hass bears incredibly flavoursome fruits that keep well.  A handsome tree to about 9m x 10m, Hass is fairly cold and frost tolerant once established, and will bear its delicious fruit between September and January.

Avocado – Pinkerton (A Flowering Variety): If you just can’t get enough avocados, perhaps consider growing a Pinkerton!  This variety is a massive cropper, meaning you can have gallons of guacamole from this flavourful, medium sized fruit.  May be cold tolerant once established, Pinkerton will bear fruit from June – August.

Avocado – Reed (A Flowering Variety):Large, round, thick skinned variety with a smooth, green skin and a rich flavour.  Reed avocados store well in the fridge once cut.  This variety grows to a manageable 4m x 2m, and will bear fruit after 3 years or so.  Fruit matures between November and March.

Avocado – Rincon (A Flowering Variety): A small to medium fruit with a glossy green skin, Rincon is an avocado variety better suited to coastal sites and warmer spots in the garden.  Rincon is not a fan of frosts, and won’t tolerate extended periods of cold weather.  As a tree, Rincon is a beaut size, about 4m x 3m, and bears fruit between July – September.

Avocado – Sharwill (B Flowering Variety): Sharwill is a NSW & QLD fave, with good reason.  This awesome Avo is a regular bearer of good quality, very tasty fruit with a decent oil content, small stone and fair storing ability.  Sharwill is not real frost tolerant, and will bear its glossy green, pear shaped fruit between June – August.

Avocado – Wurtz (A Flowering Variety): A gorgeous small tree for gardens, Wurtz is a popular variety if avocado, prized for its rich, flavoursome fruit.  A good performer in warmer climates, Wurtz is a dwarf-like tree growing only to 2.5-3m, yet produces a consistent, heavy crop of beaut fruit! Expect fruit from October – December.

Helen’s Rockin’ Guacamole Recipe

2 Avocados Mashed
1 Roma Tomato Diced
1 Eschalot Diced
2 tsp Lime Juice
2 tsp Cumin Powder
1 tsp Dried Thyme
1 tsp Salt (or to taste)
1 tsp Ground or Cracked Pepper (or to taste)
1 tsp Tabasco Sauce

Mix it all together… you might not need to add all of the eschalot depending on how big the avocados are.  If you are using this as a spread or similar on toast, you may want to add a bit of mayo as well.  Enjoy!