Photo Taken September 28th 2019 – Ava – Healthy.
Ava the Avocado!
Season 3 – Autumn/Winter 2019/20
Someone recently emailed me and said l seem to be doing a lot of gardening posts recently? Yes l am. There is a lot to do in our garden for this autumn; shed clearout and tidies, greenhouse cleaning up, new compost heap, water butt management, container management and weeding, pruning and trimming in readiness for the quieter month in December.
But because of the heavy and continuous rains in Kent we are experiencing, unlike last autumn when it was dry and milder – the sunny days are few and far between and so everything is being done as quickly as can be done before the next heavy showers set in, so some of the posts are closer grouped than before.
The other thing is l happen to like gardening and composting as it’s a hobby of mine and l like to share it with my readership and especially those who like myself also, garden, compost, grow vegetables and keep the natural environmental element alive.
Ava the Avocado!
Part 1 – 1.25 – 2.22pm
In March 2016, Suze and l planted two avocado seeds into small pots on the windowsill in the previous house we were renting to here. We named them Ava and Avril. For the first year of their life – March 2016 – February 2017 they grew no bigger than perhaps 12″ tops.
In the latter part of 2017, both plants had grown to about 18-23″ tall and experienced no problems, apart from the occasional black edging on leaves that can be seen with this plant type.
They had between them both travelled from being in small pots and then graduating into large pots and so by early spring 2018, both Ava and Avril were in two good medium sized pots of roughly 15cm diametre and doing exceedingly well.
Avril was a different plant type to Ava , l didn’t know which l just knew she had different leaves which were a different colour. But sadly she struggled a lot during the spring/summer of 2018 and we lost her in late May/early June and we couldn’t save her .. it wasn’t black leaf or spot, she just basically one week decided to not get out of bed and by the end of the week, she’d passed away to the great compost heap!
Ava however was going from strength to strength and all she suffered with was occasional ‘black leaf edge’ which was taken care of with trimming and pruning the leaves.
By late winter of 2018, she was transferred to a much bigger pot – which was an 18 cm diametre pot because she was growing so much. Her growth continued at this alarming and healthy rate so much that in July of this year Ava was once more repotted to a 25cm pot, awarded all the right drainage properties, watered properly, never overwatered and then she was for the summer transferred into the greenhouse where she simply thrived and was in a social circle of tomato, cucumber and pepper plants … Ava continued to shine …… long past the demise of the other plants.
In fact below – shows her rise during the summer months …
Doing really well, and then on 28th September she looked like this … [below]
All the other plants had left the greenhouse and we were allowing her to stay there for a while longer whilst we prepped up a space for her inside the house, probably my office or the conservatory.
However, by the 5th October – her appearance had changed!
She started to have these little black spots appear in the middle of her leaves …
……… so aggressive was this form of black spot that by the 14th October the above image is what it looked like!!
Her top leaves are fine and this disease is currently restricted to the bottom stems only — so far..
Top leaves 22nd October…
1st November 2019
This is what she was like on the first of this month. I have covered her in a bubble wrap fleece for the time being to keep the night time chills off her and only water her when she feels terribly dry.
Now l feel a duty of care to Ava, she is my baby, she was my seed back in 2016 and l have lovingly cared for her ever since … so now l am very worried about her and have been awaiting a nice dry day – because she is suffering from what l believe is known as anthracnose aka black spot disease which is a form of canker found in this plant and a range of others.
I have three choices or options of cure or control with Ava’s condition ..
1] Let the disease kill her or destroy her.
2] Let the disease ride it out and see if it just goes?
3] Try and clear the disease and improve her condition…
I am opting for the third choice. …it is way kinder and optimistic and l am above everything else, an optimist!
1] Isolate the plant [she is in the greenhouse for the winter] She will either make it or it will kill her. If she survives the winter and the disease, l will have her in another location for next summer and out of the way of plant types like her.
2] Research an organic fungal spray and work with that and her over the winter .. the disease does not do well in colder climes. I opt for a natural fungicide because l am organic here and have no desire to affect the worms or the microbial cultures with a chemical based spray. [I will create a small seperate post for making your own fungicide sprays]
3] Trim off the infected parts of the plant and thoroughly destroy the leaves and do not add to the compost heap.
4] Look at repotting, check for pot root rot, or pot bound problems [this is a plant that wants to grow to 60 feet in height, so is prone to rapid container growth and resulting problems], provide a thorough rainwater flush through and repot into fresh compost and variable soils. Check internal pot drainage [stones]..
So what causes this to the Avocado plants?
A host of issues which l have loosely discussed in the points above …but..
1] Poor management on root development [Pot bound]
2] Root rot [Result of being pot bound]
3] Poor external and internal drainage [Insufficient rockery at internal base of pot, and the plants do not like sitting in water]
4] Poor soil [Poor drainage]
5] Infected soils
6] Overwatered and poor moisture management.
7] Poor soil quality [Lacking in nutrients]
8] Salinity too high [Too much salt in the water]
Where l think Ava has succumbed and become ill and diseased is purely from number 8 – we do have a very high salt content in our waters here on the coast of Kent. Suze and l and our garden are literally only 5-10 minutes slow stroll from the beach – the salt content is always higher.
I think that is principally it …however l am going to try and treat her this afternoon, as the rains were only here this morning and overnight and it hasn’t rained for a good six hours now and it’s sunny…. so let’s see what can be done.
Ava the Avocado!
Part 2 -3.18pm
I guess a lot of people, maybe even some gardeners would have simply destroyed the diseased plant that l know as Ava – and if after everything l have done this afternoon or this winter, she dies – then it’s not through me – NOT trying – it’ll be through a natural order of things that we went through together and they didn’t work. But this is an issue that has been on my mind for a few weeks now and it needed sorting.
But, l don’t just give up on anything unless it REALLY is a lost cause, and at this stage of the game – l am pretty sure Ava isn’t ready to give in…
Ava at 2.35pm – l have trimmed off the worse of the infected leaves and stems. I have prepared a bigger pot with a newer variable compost presence, and a broader internal drainage system to the pot.
Was Ava pot bound? Yeah, she was getting close to it. Did she have pot root rot? No, she has no rot in her root system.
I gave her a complete fresh rainwater flush through – all her roots were thoroughly washed before replanting her into the fresh pot.
Replanted with a fresh cane for support.
Tied up for support and awarded a small but fresh rainwater watering.
Bubble wrapped up until later this week, when l will award her a spray with an organic fungicide formula – and she is now on her own in so far as to whether she survives or not. I’ll help where l can and at least as said, l can say ‘l have tried to knock this deisease on the head – now it’s down to time!
I will keep you informed.
Next job is to plant out the garlic cloves. I guess l will have to deep plant them into seedling modules, because the ground is just way too wet , but that’s next time.
Anyway l’ll take my leave of you now
Thanks for reading everyone, till the next time …