So I take great pride in my bananas. Yes, my wife points out that I don’t even like bananas. Yes, I probably don’t deserve to be proud because the trees are doing all the work. Yes, I don’t actually have bananas yet, just rapidly growing flowers. I can still be proud.
Two of my trees are getting ready to fruit. My bananas took a hit this winter, during the great ever-so-slightly-chilly period of 2018, when we had a whopping two frosts. Bananas are wimpy that way. But, while many are still struggling to grow new leaves, this one is happily producing bunches of female flowers. The little bananas you see are the ovaries of the female flower. Every few days, a new hand emerges from the flower bud, and when all the female flowers are formed, the bud starts producing male flowers. Since bananas don’t need to be pollinated, the male flowers don’t really do much to help out.
The other tree was sheltered, and made it through the winter pretty well. It is getting ready to bloom. Instead of a normal banana leaf, the last leaf before the bloom is called a “flag”, and when that forms the flower is just a few days away from emerging. After the fruits develop, the stalk won’t produce any more, so it’s best to chop it down to make room for the other suckers growing up from the root system of the plant. The old stalk acts as mulch, and fertilizer once it decomposes.
In other news, we went to the Green Thumb Plant Festival in Saint Petersburg last weekend, and walked out with a good haul of plants. We bought a moringa plant, passionfruit, cranberry hibiscus, sambac jasmine, Buddha-belly bamboo, southern magnolia, jaboticaba, and a desert rose. These have since been planted around the property for shade, scent, and food value.
My beans are growing! Here is the flower of my yardlong bean. The bean is only about an inch long, but it should grow quickly.
This is a rattlesnake bean, a popular heirloom here in the Southeast, almost ready to harvest.
’till next time!
~The Homesteading Hippy