Avocados are rich in vitamins, antioxidants, fibre and healthy monounsaturated fats, so they're a powerhouse of nutritional goodness.

If you're keen on creating guacamole, salsa and salads from homegrown avocados, consider including some trees in your garden.

Avocados are mainly grown in warm areas of the North Island of New Zealand, however they can also be grown in a warm frost-protected spot in slightly cooler areas.

Here are a few important tips when it comes to growing avocados at home:

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Avocados need moist but well drained soil. Poorly drained soil can quickly lead to root rot and plant death.

Choose a sunny, sheltered site that is protected from frost and wind.

Avocado flowers contain both male and female organs which open twice over two days. When the flower first opens it's female, when it re-opens on the second day it's male. The timing of this flowering classifies avocados into either A or B types.

Although there can be some self pollination in warm areas, planting two different varieties (from an A and B type) will help improve pollination and fruit set.

'A' varieties that are great for growing in medium sized backyards include Haas and Reed. 'B' varieties include Bacon and Fuerte. Grafted plants will fruit earlier than seedling trees.
Avocados will not ripen on the tree. Pop a too-firm avocado in a paper bag with a banana for a few days to help it soften.

Avocados perform best when planted into soil that's been enriched first with a concentrated source of organic matter like Yates Dynamic Lifter Organic Plant Food. Yates Dynamic Lifter will help improve the quality of the soil, encourage earthworms and beneficial soil microorganisms and provide the tree with gentle nutrients as it establishes.
Reapplying Yates Dynamic Lifter every six weeks from spring to autumn will help ensure the trees have enough nutrients to promote healthy foliage and a great harvest.

Mulching around the root zone with an organic mulch will help reduce moisture loss and add further organic matter to the soil.

• For more ideas and information, visit yates.co.nz

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