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Yes We Will Have Bananas ... and Raspberries Too! With Tromboncino on the Side ;-)

Just not to-day! But soon, soon ...

Tissue-culture Dwarf Ducasse; they are around 18months to 2 years old - lost the plot a bit with the timing. One over-wintered here surrounded by bubble-wrap with the expectation that it would really be ahead of the others. The other 3 survived Cyclone Yasi and yet they are all making bunches at almost the same time.

'Dwarf' - yes well I suppose 8ft rather than 15ft is a kind of 'dwarf'. Contemplating getting the mature bunch down, hmmm quite a challenge. The real dwarfs are the Williams/Cavendish variety which we are not allowed to grow here.

With clay under the topsoil and the backyard inclined to a quagmire when we get really heavy rain, the Bananas (and the PawPaws) are built up about a foot. Mostly I have fertilised them with Comfrey. There's a Comfrey plant growing in between both lots of plants (4 Bananas, 2 Comfrey). Every now and then I chop it down with a machete and leave it lie. Occasionally I give the Bananas a bit of extra fertilising but not that much. I chop down the suckers and leave them to add to the soil fertility. That's all I ever did minus the Comfrey, when I grew Lady Fingers way back when (when I could shinny up a ladder and wrestle a full bunch). Self-fertilising if that's the word (iso-fert?) using the plant to fertilise itself with this time, the addition of the Comfrey leaves.

We'll follow the development of the first bunch out. If all 4 bunches reach maturity we are going to have dried Bananas coming out of our ears. Mind you, dried home-grown Bananas are really something else!

3rd December: now finally I understand what a 'flag leaf' is ... I heard it was a 'half-sized leaf' and so it is - the length is half of the usual leaves. So here is the 'flag leaf':

Bit hard to see the first peeping of the bunch, limitations of physical access and photographic short-comings.

We can see it now!

First bracts starting to lift - the embryo Bananas are within each layer of bract.

The much-awaited embryo Bananas ...

Update 15th January 2013: The first bunch is almost ready, not sure exactly but within a week or two is my best guess. This is the bunch I've been following:

And one fruit to experiment with:

I've been wondering what to do with 3 bunches of ripe Bananas very close together in time. Apart from the drying them there's interesting recipes for variations on pickled Bananas to have as part of a salad. Sounds tempting. I twisted off this baby to see what happens when it is cooked. I'm planning a separate blog for a Banana bell salad and the pickled fruit.

And now to the Raspberries ... a couple of years ago I was fortunate to be given some cuttings of Willamette variety of exotic Raspberry (thank you Lissa!). They sat and sulked but this year they have decided to co-operate and are making their first fruit.

The flavour of the first one was superb! Juicy and sweet. The only other fresh Raspberries I have ever tasted are from a native Raspberry I bought at Yandina Permaculture. The flavour is more aromatic, not so juicy and a bit more seedy. But given some more nutrients and water and thinning out of the many stems, could be a good addition to the autumn garden since both plants fruit at very different times. I expect that the exotic varieties have been selectively bred where our native ones are just as they come with little or no selection for desirable qualities.

Update 15th January 2013: The Raspberries have been pruned and deserve a separate blog to chart their journery.

And now for the Tromboncino - thanks to Linda Woodrow for introducing me to these fruit. A more tropical-hardy version of Zucchini, less subject to moulds I hear. The two plants are now roaring up the 6ft trellis - they do have room to move sideways but not further up - are just beginning to think about fruiting.

The embryo Trom is around 2 inches long.

Update 15th January, 2013: And some on the vine - note that now the vine has quite a lot of powdery mildew (and attendant yellow ladybirds) although it seems to be growing strongly. And with all this dryness, mildew was the last thing I expected. And it's on a trellis and in full sun and wind. Anyway ... the fruit are just so worth growing, lightly fried they are slightly crunchy (no Zucch wateriness) sweetish and seriously delicious. And picked and ready to be chopped.

The thickest part is around 25cm in diameter and about as firm as I want it, it gets a tad tough to chop. This size is my ideal for eating. To get seeds, they will have to grow way larger than this if Zucchini are anything to go by.

Altogether a totally delightful plant, enthusiastic to a fault, keep the water up to them and enjoy the fruits of your pollination labour (plenty of ants but few bees) so hand-pollination is the go.

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Comment by Lissa on December 6, 2012 at 14:19

They are nice aren't they :)

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on December 6, 2012 at 8:23

I reckon that's it ... so little fruit this year coz most of the growth has occurred this year. They're worth persevering with though, the fruit is seriously delicious.

Comment by Lissa on December 6, 2012 at 4:33

Well done :D Still no sign of fruiting on my Dwarf Ducasse. Maybe they are a tad slow.

The raspberries do fruit on second year wood. The cuttings I bought originally fruited for me immediately so must have been second year. I guess I gave you shoots which would then take....two years to fruit.

Comment by Lissa on November 30, 2012 at 12:19

Hooray! :)

Hopefully mine won't be far behind.

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