June 30th, 2011 – The Banana tree

Apparently June equals winter, but there has not been much sign of it in Auckland this year. It’s a little chilly but hardly freezing cold and as i type there is a beautiful blue sky outside.

So, because our bananas were fruiting in winter we bagged them up to protect them from the cold, or at least Lloyd the lovely caretaker did, it was a bit high for the rest of us. Great, job done I thought, but then as warm day followed warm day I began to wonder if the bunch of bananas were just rotting inside their steamy home. So last week we removed the bag and I was relieved to see our first (and thus most precious) bananas were still looking mighty fine. Not exactly sure whether to bag or not at the moment, but we are learning as we go I guess so time will tell.

As for when to harvest, well I have googled this and found twenty different answers, so if anyone knows then you had better leave a comment! What I can gather is that the fruit takes at least 2 months to ripen and you have to pick them green IF you see they are starting to split, or if they are being eaten by animals / birds / insects. Otherwise it’s ok to leave for a bit longer. We need to wait until the bananas are looking more rounded and filled out rather than square looking as they do now.

When it’s time to cut the bunch down we have to cut at least 30 cms above the bunch and then cut down that particular tree as they only fruit once. This tree has put out many new suckers so we have plenty more bananas to come. To ripen fully, we leave the bunch hanging for a while, some info says in a cool dark space, some says in the sun, so will need to investigate further.

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