Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Just after Leann and I got married, I started trying to germinate an avocado seed. My first several attempts met with dismal failure. The only one that even managed to put out a root radical was immediately attacked by damping off fungus. Then one of Leann's coworkers suggested that I try using distilled water instead of tap water. I did so. I also changed the water every day to reduce the likelihood of damping off. It worked.

That was three years ago and I still have my little avocado plant. It's still a tiny little guy—probably because I only water it once every few weeks [1], because we're gone most of the day so it doesn't always get enough light [2], and because it sits by the back window and probably gets pretty cold during the winter.

Sunday night I noticed that the soil in the avocado's pot was looking dry, so I watered it. While I was dumping in the water, I noticed what looked like a strand of Easter grass on the carpet next to the pot. I thought this was odd since I would have noticed it before and besides, Leann is really meticulous about vacuuming the house on a regular basis—there's no way something like that could have escaped her for so long.

Then I realized something else it resembled—the slime trail of a slug or snail. So I followed it. And sure enough, there it was! Somehow a slug sneaked into our apartment and was living off my avocado!

The slug is dead, now.


[1] If I water it more often, then we get fungus gnats which are really bothersome.

[2] I tried putting it outside, once, and it got really mad and wilted. So now I keep it inside full time.


  1. Once I found a slug on our couch. Our couch is in the middle of the apartment, not near any windows,and I could not figure out how it could have gotten in. There are plants right behind our couch, so perhaps this explains it.

  2. I wonder what the avocados it produces will taste like.
    According to a documentary I saw, the bulk of US avocados are actually splices off the same parent tree. (The tree "becomes" whichever tree is spliced in.) That's the only way to guarantee the same taste of the fruit from one generation to the next. Apparently, the flavor can vary greatly from one generation to the next.
    Do you fertilize it?

  3. You can water it more often! Just put a layer of sand on the top of the soil in the pot. This will stop the fungus gnats from laying their eggs in the soil. The sand isn't a good enough environment for the eggs so the parent flies will die and the eggs! :D

  4. Good to know, Ash.

    Very infrequently, Jonathan. Apparently the reason I had so much trouble germinating it in the first place is because avocados are very salt-sensitive. The funny thing is that even though it's so finicky, it's survived longer than some of the other (supposedly more hardy) plants we've had in the apartment.