In the Garden: Aster and Avacado

Aster Amellus (Michaelmas Daisy)

Aster is a genus of plants, names for the shape of the flowers they bear (Aster comes from the Ancient Greek word for Star). There are a slew of varieties found throughout the world, and they grow in all hardiness zones. Their usefullness in the garden is that they are food for caterpillars of moths. In this way, they can attract some pollinators to your garden, and can also serve as trap plants for caterpillars that might otherwise terrorise the rest of your garden. Finally, by attracting moths, you could conceivably attract bats to your area– bats which eat all manner of pests, whose droppings are incredibly rich fertilizer, and are considered good luck by the Chinese. Yes, I’m fond of bats.

This year, I’ll be growing Michaelmas Daisies in my garden.

Avocados are a commercially valuable fruit and are cultivated in tropical climates throughout the world–and some temperate ones, such as California.

The avacado matures on the tree but ripens off the tree. Once picked, avocados ripen in a few days at room temperature . In some cases, avocados can be left on the tree for several months, which is good if one doesn’t wish to rush through a harvest. One can simply pick the fruit a few days before your party to have it ripe in time for guacamole. If the fruit remains unpicked for too long, however, it will fall to the ground, and start ripening on its own.

An avocado propagated by seed can bear fruit, but takes roughly 4–6 years to do so, and the offspring is unlikely to resemble the parent cultivar in fruit quality. Thus, commercial orchards are planted using grafted trees and rootstocks. Buying grafted stock from a reputable dealer is recommended—but stories abound of people who have grown their own trees from store-bought fruit, and now enjoy their own home-grown avocados.

Avocados are good for regulating cholesterol levels, and often used as a substitute for meat by vegetarians due to its high fat content. Mind you, it’s the “good fats”.

While not particularly popular, the avocado tree can be grown domestically and be used as a houseplant. Typically the pit will germinate in either normal soil conditions or, alternatively, partially submerged in a container of water. If the latter method is chosen by the grower, the pit will sprout in 4–6 weeks upon which time it is planted in fertile soil such as potting soil. The plant will generally grow and become large enough to be prunable, however it will not bear fruit unless it has both ample sunlight and a second plant with which it can cross-pollinate.

The problem is, there is documented evidence that animals such as cats, dogs, cattle, goats, rabbits, rats, birds, fish, and horses can be severely harmed or even killed when they consume the avocado leaves, bark, skin, or pit.  So anyone with house pets will want to avoid growing indoor avocado plants, unless they have a sunny room that they can keep the pets out of successfully. A greenhouse might work, so long as pets can’t get in.

Hasler lists both Aster and Avocado as Venus plants.

Info mostly from Wikipedia.

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About zmalfoy

Z. Malfoy is a practicing Catholic-with-an-"interesting"-past. She earned her Bachelor's Degree in Music Education (Spec. Voice) from Loyola University New Orleans, and has since taken a few business courses to expand her knowledge base. In her free time, she studies belly-dance, alchemy, theology, and various skills related to self-sufficiency. She also enjoys reading science fiction, refreshing her French, and watching anime. She recently started with learning Krav Maga and Russian.