Bananas, Maturity & Gravity

I had the intuition: if I do not harvest these bananas on my schedule, they would do it on their own. And so they did. I came home, looked out the kitchen window, and there was the entire story laid out. Maturity. Gravity pulled them down.

In these two images you can see what maturity means to a banana plant. The bananas are not ripe, but they are heavy enough to pull the entire plant down to the ground.

Normally I would have supported the bunch of bananas with a bamboo pole, then carefully chop the bottom of the trunk so the entire structure slowly makes its way down. Even then, no matter how careful I might be, the structure might come crashing down. And thankfully the bananas are still firm enough that almost no damage is done to them. A few got knocked off, but even those will be fine in a couple weeks when they all start turning yellow. Until then, that entire bunch sits in the dark of a tool shed.

Regenerating, Banana & Plantain

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Following yesterday’s theme, but switching to another example, today I will say a few words more about the pitch. The last time I spent time thinking about bananas as much as I am now, it was in the context of creating an edible landscape. Amie and other team members wrote plenty on this topic when we were based in Kerala.

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Now that I am prepping for regeneration I am watching these banana and plantain plantings grow day to day, week to week as I remove the grasses surrounding them. Continue reading

Banana Futures

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Japanese Mongee bananas debuted this winter, bred to be cold-resistant and pesticide-free. Plus: you can eat the peel. Courtesy of D&T Farm Inc

When we talk about the future of bananas, it is often looking backwards protectively. But forward is an option as this story below illustrates, as with other edibles, likewise:

A Banana Grown At Subzero Temps Also Has An Edible Peel

BananaA Japanese farm introduced a new crop this winter: an organic banana with a peel that’s thin enough to eat. In a nod to this appealing outer covering, Setsuzo Tanaka, the banana’s inventor, has named his creation the Mongee (“mon-gay”) banana — which means “incredible banana” in Japanese.

“Setsuzo’s original purpose was to make a delicious banana with no pesticides,” Tetsuya Tanaka, a spokesperson for D&T Farms, the company behind the banana, writes in an email. Setsuzo Tanaka spent four decades tinkering with tropical fruit before the Mongee was born.

But if pesticides were his main concern, why not just grow a normal organic banana? Aren’t all bananas equally tasty? Continue reading

Yes! We Have No Bananas!

Banana Varieties On Display at the Cochin Flower Show (Names in Malayalam)

There are bananas for eating and bananas for cooking.  Bananas for boiling and bananas for frying. There are bananas with exotic sounding names: Cuban Red, Blue Java, Lady Finger, Orinico, Poovan, Rasthali, Manzana (which does, indeed, taste more like an apple). I wish I knew (and could taste!) all of them, because there are more than a thousand varieties. Somewhere there must be a database of all those names, all those varieties, hopefully all those genomes.  Continue reading