Going Bananas! And garlic and a trip to St Erth.

I am going bananas and no, it’s not my children, nor my husband, nor neighbours, friends, family the weather or anything else causing me to go bananas. Just me. πŸ˜‰ I just bought a banana tree! πŸ˜€

If you’ve never seen a banana tree (I’ve never seen one in the flesh until now) then this is a Dwarf Cavendish banana tree

Wait there just a second I hear you say. YOU don’t live in a tropical, subtropical or even vaguely temperate climate. Ballan is cold climate. Well, it most definitely IS cold climate… BUT this is a cooler climate banana. It will grow in cold zones 10-12. We are cold zone 9b. It is too frosty for this banana in our garden… BUT we have a greenhouse! πŸ˜€ Yes, I am going to have a go at growing our own bananas! I figure if it doesn’t work I’ve lost $25 and a bit of hard work but if I don’t I will need to look for an organic source of local bananas (they do come with a bit of carbon mileage from Queensland after all) which may be rather difficult. If it works I will add in there some other tropically sort of plants –Β passionfruitΒ for starters. Not sure we’d manage a coconut or pineapple though. 😦

The banana we are planning to grow is the Musa acuminataΒ or Dwarf Cavendish (are you proud of me Narf77? I looked up it’s proper name πŸ˜€ ). It’s a naturally occurring dwarf variety and Cavendish bananas are quite a popular variety I believe. It may take us quite some time to ripen our narnies though due to the cooler temperatures down here BUT ripen they should. πŸ˜€ How utterly awesome to be able to grow our own tropical fruit!

Today I took a trip with a friend to the Garden of St. Erth in Blackwood. It’s one of the 2 Diggers club gardens and I believe the gardens are a bit of a gardeners Mecca. I’ve not yet had the time to really explore but I am a member of the Diggers Club and I fully intend to go ‘sploring when I can get a kid free (or at least kid depleted) chance. We took the trip to go garlic shopping as the Autumn Diggers Club magazine had arrived in the last week with some wonderful early harvest varieties available but I was a little premature. 😦 They’re still for planting in Autumn and stock is still just arriving so they didn’t yet have the varieties I was after. They do now have my name and number and those varieties noted beside my name so I shan’t miss out on the limited stock they’re getting of one of them. We’ve decided to go all out and plant heaps of garlic as they will tolerate the cold and these varieties are harvested in October and November which is perfect as things don’t usually warm up enough for Summer crops here until November which means we will have little downtime of our garden beds! πŸ™‚ And since Martin eats a LOT of garlic it means we should be able to keep ourselves in the wonderfully pungent stuff all year round. πŸ˜€

I’ve learned a little bit about garlic of late – thanks Diggers magazine. There are 2 types of Allium sativum (I did it again Narf)Β – hard stem and soft stem. Hard stem garlic doesn’t store as long but will produce flowers, whereas soft stemmed garlic will store much longer but rarely flowers. The hard stem early harvest varieties are generally being harvested just as the later harvest soft stem varieties are sprouting (ready to plant) and they will last for up to 4-6 months which allows for plenty of time to harvest over varieties. I have a lot more research to do on their preferred growing conditions, soil type, and all the rest but it was nice to know that we can grow all of our own garlic, in theory at least. πŸ™‚

Anyway, I have a LOT of research to do on what soil both garlic and bananas like, not to mention that I want to finish knitting a hat for Allegra (I’m getting ready for winter early. πŸ˜€ ) so I’m off. Ciao my hippies. πŸ˜€

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8 thoughts on “Going Bananas! And garlic and a trip to St Erth.

  1. narf77 says:

    A banana is technically a herb to be honest and they grow offshoots and the main trunk dies back so don’t be alarmed when that happens ;). I have 2 and if I could send them to you I would! We can’t plant them out but when we make our ediface to Dame Elizabeth and mum (read “circus tent veggie garden”) we might just use duckies boat and plant them into it surrounded by strawberries. When we were attending hort Polytechnic classes early on in the game (before we could be trusted to work without supervision and cut a leg off πŸ˜‰ ) we visited a wholesale propagation nursery called Woodlea and they had a MASSIVE banana in an enormous bag off to one side of their enormous glasshouse. We asked them about it and they said that they just wanted something interesting and it most certainly was! It was about 10 metres high!. Denmark Western Australia is pretty much on par with Victoria and when I was a kid, a girl in my classes mum had a large banana growing on the property. I don’t remember if it ever had bananas (she didn’t run in my circle of friends…) but it was there and whenever we passed by on the bus on the way to school I would look at that amazing plant. It was sort of a landmark as no-one else had one.
    Pineapples are easy to grow in pots. Get an organic one, cut off the top leaving a little bit of the fruity bit and bang it into a pot and put it into the glasshouse…they grow from the leafy bit, could be a great experiment for the kids to grow their own pineapple :).
    I would say that bananas from Queensland do have a few carbon miles but by purchasing them you are supporting Aussie farmers. I buy things that come from W.A. with impunity because we need to all stick together so that Woolies and Coles can’t flood us with cheap own brand (read cheap sh@t from China packed up here and marketed as coles/woolies brands). Have you noticed that they are incidiously replacing all kinds of brands with their own? We won’t have choice soon, it will be straight profit to the supermarkets!
    Passionfruit is a good start, try guavas. They are incredibly hardy and delicious. How about feijoas? They grow very easily and are a wonderfully fragrant fruit. Check out “cold climate unusual fruit” in Google, you might be surprised :).
    Yes…yes I am proud of you Rabid! πŸ™‚ Good girl and a pat on the head :). If your garlic starts to disappear you might have to protect it as wallabies ADORE garlic, onions, chives anything in the allium family. I am SO jealous of your ability to get whatever you want from anywhere…seed, plants etc. We have to filter ours through customs and there are so many things that we can’t import…no tomatoes, chillies, capsicums, eggplants, walnuts, conifers, poppies just about ANYTHING really :(. I would go mad with power if I was able to buy a 64th of what you guys can get and I would amass a small fortunes worth of plants around me. Garlic isn’t hard by the way. When we got here the garden had been neglected for 20+ years. No water, no NOTHING and so whatever was still alive had to be hardy and resilient. There was a little mulberry tree that we managed to remove all of the blackberry from (and most of its leaves in the process…it was totally covered!) and underneath it was a mass of garlic. The garlic has come up every single year no matter whether we get rain or shine and it is growing in what is effectivly dry silt that is hydrophobic (water runs right off the top of it) so garlic must be hardy!
    Have a great day out there doing what Rabid little hippies do. Ciao bambino! πŸ™‚

    • Yes I had heard they’re herbs. Pretty cool really. And wow WA narnies. Might give pineapples a try then. Will definitely pass on coconuts though. My little greenhouse is only 2m tall after all. πŸ˜‰ And when I was a kid we had a feijoa tree so I grew up eating feijoas. They’re yum. Not sure if they’d cope with a lot of frost (more research) but they will definitely tolerate some – well ours did at least. πŸ™‚ Macleod wasn’t an ice bucket but it wasn’t totally frost free.
      I totally agree re the big supermarkets. I do try and support Australian farmers when and wherever possible but my “damn the man” button is in fine form because I will always try to do it myself if I can. And thankfully we have IGA in Ballan and no Coles or Woolies both of which I prefer to avoid whenever I can (not always possible).
      Wow re your garlic. That IS hardy. I bet they had 6 mile roots reaching down to water then. Do you still grow it there or is it behind the wall? I would be stunned if wallabies visited our garden as we are pretty much in town – should email you our address so you can google earth us (the pic sucks as its under cloud) and see how not rural we are. But we most definitely get the bunnies. And they’re just as bad. If I could catch him I’d do to him what he’s done to my herbs.

      • narf77 says:

        Cat time…no rabbits here (I guess having 15+ ferals will do that for you!). Just researching some unusual fruits that you can grow and will send them in an email along with my address (for Bertha 2 πŸ˜‰ ). The garlic is just growing in foot deep dry silt…wherever you plant garlic is fine so long as it doesn’t have wet feet or it might rot. Feijoas grow well here in Tassie and my daughters place inland in Launceston has pretty severe frosts and their feijoa is fine. It is up against the house though…you would be amazed at what you can get away with if you grow them in large pots and bring them indoors in the winter (glasshouse…not the kids bedrooms πŸ˜‰ ). Best bugger off now as Steve and the dogs are staring at me…time to walk…WALK WOMAN! πŸ˜‰

  2. Good luck with your banana tree. I’d like to grow bananas but up here but it’s rather difficult (and that’s not because of the climate). In order to grow bananas in NQ you have to get a license from the DPI, you can only grow DPI approved trees and you have to register your banana tree with the DPI. Yes, just like a dog needs rego, your banana tree needs rego. πŸ™‚ Give that bananas are so readily available are farmers markets and the likes, it’s just much easier to buy them rather than grow your own. Having said that though, I hope that you have a success growing your bananas cos I know how much you love them.

    • Smart alec! You KNOW I don’t really eat them although I have give them a try again of late and can tolerate a small barely ripe banana on occasion! Sounds a bit over-policed re banana trees by I guess bananas are such a huge industry ip there that they don’t want to risk dodgy varieties or anything. And if you can get organic narnies at farmers markets then yeah, why bother. πŸ™‚ if I could get purple sprouting broccoli locally I wonder if I’d bother trying to grow it too but then again, I’m stupid enough and stubborn enough to want to do it myself anyway. Lol
      How amazing your farmers markets must be Miss T Hippy. Bananas, mangoes? Pineapples? Dragon fruit? Any other exotics? I’m starting to wonder if the chocolate pudding tree would be worth a try and will fit in the greenhouse (I AM dreaming big now) but have you ever grown or seen one? Diggers have them in their catalogue this season. Check it out. πŸ™‚

  3. Jenny says:

    Good luck with your bananas! I hope you have great success with them. We put our garlic in last October and hope to harvest it in June. For the life of me I can’t remember the varieties. We were in the middle of our move when we ordered them and I just selected a package of three different kinds. They are one of the few things that are really easy to grow here, they tolerate the weather and have virtually no pests. Sometimes I think we should just start a garlic plantation…

  4. […] tree (a gift from a friend who attended the home birth of Orik), the banana tree I bought from Diggers Club at St Erth the other day and a Lisbon lemon I bought last year from CERES which was pot-bound and on its last […]

  5. […] in January 2013 not long after I installed my greenhouse I had a go growing a banana tree. It was a Dwarf Cavendish from Diggers Club and although it is considered a cold zone 10 plant […]

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