"Weekend cottage? That's a heck of a lot of gardening," do I hear you say? Well yes, but the rewards are worth it because amongst other things, we've got bananas.
|This cluster of banana plants has three big bunches that are coming along well.|
Our plants grow right up against our water tank so their roots benefit from the tank's overflow. I've found that I need to work quite hard to cut the ragged, windblown, drying palm fronds from the plants, however they clearly do better when I do this. Despite their location being sheltered, below the level of the road, the plants seem easily negatively affected by the weather.
|One of the bunches we enjoyed in 2011|
Last year the plants produced two bunches (that's one above) but we left them on the plant too long and by the time we finally got them down, many of the bananas had been eaten by birds and bugs.
I made a great banana cake, then froze the rest of the bananas. I used the frozen ones in more banana cakes and muffins, plus added some to our morning protein shake. They were even delicious just eaten frozen - a bit like sweet banana ice cream.
Our other tropical fruit bearing tree is the Mountain PawPaw. In fact I'm not sure if you'd call this a tree or a plant because it seems so fragile and breaks/deteriorates easily. Maybe our location isn't ideal for it because I've seen others growing in different localities and flourish.
I got this from the Incredible Edibles website
- Mountain PawPaw_native to South America and is commonly found growing around mountain villages, hence its name. Pawpaw is a member of the custard apple family (Annonaceae).
- Landscape Value_Highly ornamental as a sub-tropical planting around the courtyard where the aroma from the fruit can be appreciated. Choose an area where leaf drop is not an issue.
- Nutritional Value_Unripe fruits can be eaten as a vegetable but ripe fruits always contain more vitamins and minerals. They contain vitamin A, B, C and iron. There has been talk that the leaves have cancer fighting properties
- How to Eat_Can be eaten fresh or cooked, usually baked or boiled. You can also use as a meat tenderiser, it can be made into deserts, added to ice-cream, or to savoury dishes, such as soup or stew.
- Expected Yield_One tree may produce up to 50-60 fruits per season.
Whoever wrote that clearly hasn't tasted one. Yuk, is all I can say. They're very tart and the texture is odd. It's difficult to remove the flesh from the large pip and, while doing that, there's a big fear of damaging one's fingers with the knife.
Never mind - we love our Mountain PawPaw tree and usually just let the birds enjoy the fruit.
Here's a great photo we took of it last year.
|Sparrow in the rain on a Mountain PawPaw branch|