Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Update to the earlier blog about the first bunches on the dwarf Ducasse Bananas.

We bought 4 tissue-culture plants figuring we would be waiting a few years to get extra plants from the one. Got the permit for 1 and then decided to get 3 more and found we had to apply for another permit. Meantime one plant had over-wintered here done up in bubble wrap in its pot.

In the end, the plant which arrived in April 2011 flowered in December 2012 and the plants which arrived in September 2011 flowered in January 2013. Not much in it really.

Figuring that coping with 4 bunches in the space of a month or two was going to be too much for us, I chopped one stem down which still left 3 bunches.

The two younger plants’ stems started to bend under the weight of the bunch. This by the way, is supposedly a ‘dwarf’ plant. ‘Dwarf’ is a relative term! They measure around 2 metres at the ‘throat’: the point where the bunch emerges from the stem. We are rather less than 2 metres tall! We did prop up one stem then the other bent right over. We decided to cut down the bunches and rather than toss them into the circle we’re building, left them sitting in the yard to see what happened. The fruit although looking short, thin and angular, decided to rapidly ripen. In the space of 2 weeks we had 2 bunches each of about 250 fruit. Although we did have one twin:

They’ve been dried now and are deliciously sweet and firm. Fresh they were quite soft in texture with the embryo seeds quite prominent and much improved with the drying.

The bunch from the oldest tree which had the longest time on the plant is quite different. The fruit is about twice the size at around 15cm (6 inches) long and around 15cm in circumference. Weighing in at 180g (6+ ounces) each; 200 or so fruit added up to a hefty weight.

Flavour of the more mature fruit is (modestly ;-)) sensational. Sweet, firm, spicy; cook well too with no trace of bitterness.

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Comment by Andrew Cumberland on April 8, 2013 at 22:47

Most impressive Elaine!

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on April 5, 2013 at 22:42

So far we just eat them.

Comment by Pollyanna on April 5, 2013 at 22:09
Beautiful tight bunches! Do you use the dried for snacking, or have you other uses for them?
Comment by Elaine de Saxe on April 5, 2013 at 20:55

That's the only variety anyone I knew grew around Briz. When I grew LFs in Briz on sand, I mulched heavily and used all the trash and spent stems as fertiliser. That's all I ever did, don't remember even watering the plant. The fruit weren't as fat as these nor as tightly packed but there was enough to give away some, scoff some and solar-dry some.

Comment by Jane on April 5, 2013 at 17:40

Oh My what a wonderful crop I only have Ladyfingers & never get such large bunches,after plenty last summer we have had none this year.

Comment by Lissa on April 5, 2013 at 7:04

Thank you for sharing Elaine :)

Have kept some for eating and the rest have gone into the dehydrator (along with some Carombola bits).

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Vetiver grass helps to stabilise soil and protects it against erosion.  It can protect against pests and weeds. Vetiver is also used as animal feed. (Wiki.)

GrowVetiver is a plant nursery run by Dave & Keir Riley that harvests and grows Vetiver grass for local community applications and use. It is based in Beachmere, just north of Brisbane, Australia.

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