Thursday, October 6, 2011

Growing bananas

We bought a banana tree in March as soon as we discovered bananas would grow in San Diego because I love bananas but I don't love buying them because they are almost always shipped from Ecuador or Peru and I would rather eat more local than that. 

We got a variety called Ice Cream which is a very nice tasting small banana. It's been fun and interesting to learn how to care for it.

Our little banana tree when we brought it home

We planted it in well draining soil in a sheltered place next to our garage  in full sun

Banana plants are susceptible to wind so it's important that they are sheltered so they don't fall over. My understanding is that they still might fall over even if they are in a sheltered location and may need to be propped up.

This is the tree 2 months after planting
When we first planted the tree, we did not realize how much water it needed or what a heavy feeder it is. It got off to a slow start. I did a little reading and learned that you almost cannot over water or over feed your banana in the summer season, they are thirsty and hungry plants. The edges on the new leaves were turning brown and I was getting worried but once I stepped up the water and fertilizer the tree took off like wild fire. Now I water it heavily every other day and feed it weekly. As the weather cools, I will reduce the amount of water and food I give the plant.

This is the plant as of yesterday with a tomato in a pot in front of it. 
I am amazed at how quickly the tree is growing now and it is spreading out with new pups shooting up all around it.

The banana tree multiplying
Now I'm anxiously awaiting the flower and then the fruit. Once the fruit appears it will take about 11 months for my bananas to ripen, which seems like an awfully long time. The same applies to our avocados and the wait can be infuriatingly slow. After I get the fruit then the main stalk will die but the pups will go on to produce fruit.

"Whoa, my tree is impressive, and I don't even like bananas."

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