April 14th 2011

Mucho excitement on our weekly thursday morning in the orchard with the first appearance of fruit on our Misi Luki banana tree. Two weeks ago we saw a beautiful red flower appear, which has increased in size quite dramatically, and today the petals had opened just enough for us to see the baby bananas. The obligatary picture will be posted below. From my recent reading on our banana tree I see that this tree is a good cultivar for our Auckland climate and is hardy and disease resistant. Just what we need in our low maintenance plan. This type of banana comes from Samoa, has fruit that can hang in bunches of 200 or more and can weigh over to 20 kilos at harvest!! Amazing production from one tree. We would then need just 3 – 4  trees to feed one banana to every child in our school.

Apparently bananas have no particular fruiting season, they just begin to fruit when the tree has around 42 leaves and is about 20 months old, so if the fruit appear in autumn, as ours have, the following colder weather may stop the fruit developing. To try and help with this problem it is good to surround the new banana bunches with a bag of some sort, just to keep it a bit warmer. So if you see us half way up the tree wrestling with a bag, you will know what we are up to, rather than assuming the volunteers have all gone barmy.

We have plenty of baby banana trees still growing (the pups from the original) so more fruit will follow if this first bunch does not last the winter.

Other trees curently producing for us are the feijoas. The early season Unique variety is just about finished but we now have the mid season Appollo fruiting and also the late season Wiki Tu. The latter has enormous fruit, which can reach avocado size.

The ballerina apple trees are also giving us their first little crop. It’s great to see the trees producing after the first year of very little fruit, and hard to imagine that in future years we will probably have plenty to eat, cook and sell too. I also think that in the future no-one will get quite as excited about the fruit on our trees as our group of volunteers do right now, simply because there are lots of  ‘firsts’. The Edendale orchard is a lovely place to be on a thursday morning, a lovely group of people doing  rewarding work. We are always keen to welcome new volunteers from our community so come and join us if you can spare an hour or so from 9am. Now, behold, the bananas…..

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