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Q. I want my son to have a "come
grow with me" 5th Birthday Party. I
want to have each child plant something
easy in a small pot and take it home with
a ruler in it to watch it grow! What plant/seeds
would you suggest that would grow fast (little
patience at 5) and be easy for me to find
in South Florida. The party is Jan. 7th;
I'm anxious to get your advice.
A. Avocado pits [seeds] are excellent for
youngsters. They can be secured with three
toothpicks pushed into the pit at intervals
about a third of the way from the bottom
[large end]. These support the pit when
placed in a glass of water. The base of
the pit should be in 1/2" water. Maintain
level by adding water but never change the
water. As long as the water remains clear
the pit is not rotting. If the pit does
rot discard it and start another pit. Small
roots will appear on the bottom then the
pit cracks and reveals the developing stem.
There may be more than one stem and these
should always be left alone. When the top
stem reaches 6" cut it back to 3".
This induces a bushy leafy plant. Do not
wait more than 3 weeks after cutting it
to plant it. Be careful not to injure roots.
Remove or break toothpicks off before planting.
The upper portion of the seed must be exposed
to allow new stems to grow. The avocado
should be potted in a large clay pot in
a light sandy soil mix. Kids can watch the
roots develop followed by the green stalk
and then the foliage all rather quickly.
They can measure daily so they would enjoy
that and learn.