Jacob Heide discovered a new hobby during the COVID-19 pandemic – growing avocado trees.
Heide, 27, who grew up in the Langton area and attended Valley Heights, now lives in Aylmer.
“I’ve always liked avocados and I’ve tried to grow them before but it didn’t really work. I didn’t really put that much effort into it.”
When a friend managed to sprout a few, about the time of the March 2020 lockdown, Heide decided to try again.
“I started a bunch of them and they started growing and the next thing you know I’ve got my wife’s office full of avocado trees,” Heide laughed. “They won’t bear fruit indoors, they’re just a nice house plant really.
“I’m still learning,” he quickly admitted.
Now, nearly a year later, and after some struggles, he’s starting to feel more confident sprouting and growing avocados.
He even sold a few as houseplants through a local marketplace (Jacado’s Avocados) and they’ve been shared with family and friends.
“I can only have so many just because of limited space,” he said. “I stay in touch to find out if it’s working or not, if they’re thriving.”
Now his challenge is keeping his trees healthy indoors. Canadian climate does not suit avocados, which are a subtropical fruit. Mexico is the world’s largest exporter.
“I’m finding the bigger the tree is right off the hop, if they have bigger stems, the stronger it tends to grow.”
That’s when he brainstormed an idea to create a contest to find the ‘biggest pit,’ calling it Jacado’s Avocados’ BIGGEST PIT Contest.
Open to anyone in southern Ontario (willing to deliver their avocado pit entry to Heide in Aylmer), Heide is offering a $50 prize to first place and $20 to second. The winners will be determined by weight.
Heide’s contest is open until Jan. 31.
Undamaged pits need to be cleaned, and placed in a cup of water for temporary storage.
When you have a pit(s) to submit, message Heide (firstname.lastname@example.org) to arrange a contactless, safe drop off time. For more photos and information, see Heide’s Instagram at jacados_avocados.
“I know people who haven’t even tried an avocado before, so maybe this will encourage more people to try them.”
Longer term, Heide said he might explore (small) greenhouse options.
“My goal is to build a greenhouse so that I can get a taller tree, but… some get huge. And there are so many varieties. Some people have dwarf trees, they’ll graft them, there are different things you can do.”
Heide encouraged people to try growing other fruits if they didn’t want to try avocados.
“It’s just a fun hobby.”