Going bananas but not for much longer

The demise of the Cavendish banana is at hand. Yes, the writing is on the wall for the Dwarf Cavendish banana, that curvy and beautifully nature-wrapped yellow potassium punch of perfect snack fruit imported to us from tropical climes. Panama disease, the insidious rot that wiped out the Gros Michel banana back in the 50’s is once again the culprit. 😦

I’ve written about the demise of the banana before it looks like Panama disease has reached Africa now, where many people depend upon the fruit for their livelihoods and where it is a major part of the diet (plantains are a cooking banana). This is not a good situation.

Something we may not see for much longer.

From what I read in Wikipedia, Panama disease TR4 (the disease strain killing off the Cavendish banana) has been around since the 1980’s. The strain that all but wiped out the Gros Michel took 50 years to do so. This strain is also supposed to be more virulent. I’m not holding out much hope of my grand kids being able to enjoy a banana, not without significant cost of importing from overseas at least. 😦

On the bright side, my little Lady Fingers banana pup that was toasted in the greenhouse in a frost, has lived to tell the tale. I potted up Lazarus as he has been named (he did come back from the dead after all) into a black rubbish bin made into a wicking bed looking most sad and sorry and he is currently about 15 inches tall and with several lovely green leaves.Β I’m still not holding out massive amounts of hope for fruit but if nothing else he looks lovely and green and I may get a pup or 2 from him. πŸ™‚


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˜€