Monday, August 28, 2006

Banana tree growing well - thank you for asking

hardy banana musa basjoo
Yes, this is a hardy banana tree - Musa basjoo - growing in the front garden. The darn thing got a tad too big for the sunporch last spring so I tossed it outside this summer (after frost) to see what would become of it.

It has survived quite nicely with only two waterings this summer in a miserable soil that is somewhere between terrible and ungrowable. I mulched it with wood chips and told it to do its own thing out there.

So it has. It has even produced a few pups at the base.

But I'm not likely to propagate it this fall as I have enough to do - I'm going to let 'er go and do its own thing.

This banana tree is supposedly rated as a zone 4-5 so (in theory anyway) it is hardy in my garden (more or less 9 years out of 10 with a margin of error of 50%)

In short. Maybe.

We'll see next spring if it comes back.

If it does, it won't have bananas or if it does, you can't eat them because they're small and fibrous.

So why am I growing it. (the official answer)


And that's enough of a reason to grow anything in the garden.

But if I were being honest - I'd say because I want to and because nobody else around here has one. (insert big sound of gardener laughing at himself).


At 7:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally agree Doug. I live in Sault Ste, Marie Ontario and bought cotton seeds on ebay last winter so I have a few cotton plants growing next to the watermelon patch. Last year it was okra. I grow them because I haven't grown them before and maybe because they say I can't. It is a new experience for me. So "just because" is a good answer.Bananas and cotton in Ontario? Why not?

At 7:05 AM, Blogger Heidi said...

I have one for you, only it has a twist... I found a grapefruit seed starting to germinate in a grapefruit, in 1971, while cleaning up the breakfast dishes in NY. I was 13 at the time, so I planted it, put it on my bedroom windowsill, and it took off. Everyone thought I was crazy. Told me it wouldn't last. As it got larger, my Dad would plant it outside in May, and bring it in in November to winter in the garage in a galvanized tub. That went on for about 10 years. It was definitely stunted, but we wanted to see what would happen. In 1985 I moved to Florida, and in 1987 I bought my own house, and the first trip my Mom and Dad made down in their car, guess what they brought... Yup, the grapefruit tree. Alittle over a year later, I had blossoms, and then every year for the next 17 years I had a bumper crop of the biggest, sweetest, juiciest Ruby Red Grapefruits you could find.

The story has a sad ending though... I sold the house last year, and the girl who bought it cut the tree down.

I actually used to drive by every few months to check on it. Now, I just can't bear to go by anymore.

But I did sprout about 12 seeds from the old girl, and now I am trying to bring them along... only in containers, since I don't have a yard anymore. Gave 3 of them away to someone with a yard, so maybe the bloodline will go on... :)

At 8:05 AM, Blogger Doug Green said...

What a *great* story. Thanks for taking the time to post this.


At 11:32 AM, Blogger Amaranth said...

"Because" is the best reason. Why did I spend $75 on bulbs yesterday? Because.

At 10:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Doug,

Well, I can understand why you are growing the banana. They are such a fabulous looking plant, especially when they are given plenty of nitrogen and water, and really start to take off.

I planted a basjoo in my front yard here in the Beaches area of Toronto when it was about 18 inches high, as part of my 'adventurous gardening experiment'. All the neighbours thought I was nuts, but by the end of the summer it had rocketed up to about 12 feet with with six pups and leaves that were five and half feet long. It was a real show stopper...people would actually stop their cars and knock on my door to ask me what it was.

In the fall, I cut the psuedostem down to about three feet, built a cage around it and stuffed it with straw. I'm looking forward to seeing it come back, bigger and better in the spring.

Hope you have good luck with yours.


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