Spring has arrived here in southeast Virginia!
Warmer temperatures and no threat of frost informs the gardener that the time to plant is now!
Time to plant the bananas!
Yes, I said bananas.
I bet you didn’t realize you could grow bananas in states other than the deep south!
We started growing banana trees 3 years ago and I’m addicted! It’s so easy!
I like to prepare the soil for planting by giving it a light tilling. This tilling tool attaches right to the weed wacker! How cool is that?
Now don’t yell at me about my posture. I hear you screaming, “Bend your knees, girl!”
Uhg. I wish I’d listened to you all…. oh my aching back!
Take my advice…bend your knees.
We dig up our banana plants each fall, before the first frost.
We cut off all branches, shake off the excess dirt, and lean them in a corner of the garage for the winter.
That’s it, really!
Below is a pic of a few small, bareroot banana trees just pulled from the garage, (along with my preschooler swinging).
Another option is to transplant some of the smaller trees into pots, with potting soil, to bring inside your home. We kept 4 potted banana plants inside this winter and stored 6 in the garage. I love a bringing in a bit of the tropics indoors, but be aware, they grow fast!
Now it was time to bring them back outside to plant in the backyard.
So I hired my yard boys (husband and sons) to help prepare the ground for planting.
We decided to relocate the kids’ swingset and plant 4 trees along one side of our fence. This area gets the most sun (8 hours at least). It will also provide a lush screen of privacy once the plants grow. Notice the two outside trees were from indoors and the two center trees were the bareroot trees from the garage.
This banana tree below was our “Big-Bubba-Banana-Tree” from last year.
Each banana tree only produces one crop of bananas. But each tree will also send out approximately 4-5 smaller shoots from the base of the plant. When these are larger (at the end of the season) you can split off each shoot and you will be able to plant that shoot as a new tree in the spring! I love plants that mulitply themselves! Pass a few shoots along to friends.
My mini garden, as seen below, is only 24 feet long and 3 feet wide. You don’t need alot of space to produce alot of veggies! This year I’ve planted 3 types of tomatoes, jalapenos, salsa peppers, red peppers, zuchinni, yellow squash, cucumber, artichokes, leeks, Italian parsley, basil, dill, mint, and cilantro. It doesn’t look like much now, but it will be incredible in a few months! I love heading out to the garden to pick fresh veggies and herbs for that night’s meal.
Back to bananas… like I said, each tree produces only one crop in it’s lifetime. Look at that gorgous red banana pod below! Under each red petal are multiple (tiny) stamens and pistols. Each one slowly develops into an individual banana. Amazing! To ripen the bananas you have to cut off the entire bunch from the tree and allow it to sit in the bright sun. This causes the bananas to ripen. If you leave them on the tree they will never ripen.
Banana trees should be watered generously every day to every other day in the hot summer heat. They also LOVE to be fertilized with each and every watering. I use one tablespoon of Miracle Grow fertilizer dissolved in one gallon of water every other watering. It sounds like an insane amount of fertilizer but other veteran banana growers swear by this method for HUGE and fruitful banana trees.
Look at the size of that banana tree! When it was planted last year in May it was as tall as my daughter. By August it was at least 14 feet tall! Give banana trees a try this year and have your kids join in the fun of marking the plants progress. Your yard will feel tropical and you will have free bananas! How fun is that?!