Backyard Bananas

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For a few months now we have been watching a bunch of bananas growing in our back courtyard. Part of what fascinated us was that the bunch was growing really high up leaning over a concrete wall, and we couldn’t get a really good look at it. So, from afar everyday we would gaze up at the slowly growing bananas and wonder when they would be ready to pick. Finally this week we decided that the time had come, and if we waited any longer we might loose the bunch to insects and other wild animals.

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So, this morning Five String slipped on his Chacos, got out the ladder, and cut the stalk containing the bananas. In retrospect we probably should have done a little bit of internet research on banana growing first. It turns out that there is quite a lot of discussion out there about when bananas are ripe and when to cut the flower. Bunches of bananas actually continue to form down the stalk as long as the flower remains alive and healthy. Once it appears that no more bunches are forming, then you can go ahead and cut the whole stalk.

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However, we had already made our decision to cut and Five String triumphantly climbed down the ladder with a very heavy bunch of bananas. Once on the ground it turns out that they really weren’t ripe enough to eat. The boys’ dreams of sitting around the backyard, devouring bananas like the monkeys they are, quickly vanished. However, several of the bananas had split open, which reinforced our theory that they would soon be food for other animals unless we got them first. So, while we can’t eat them yet they are safely hanging away from nibbling jaws until they ripen up and we can enjoy them in smoothies, baked goods, and cereals.

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Fives’ Facts about Bananas
* Herb: The banana plant is considered an herb, not a tree. In fact, it is the largest herbaceous flowering plant in the world.
* Hands and Fingers: A cluster of bananas is technically called a “hand,” while a single banana is called a “finger.”
27 Pounds: Americas consume an average of 27 pounds of bananas every year.
Pennsylvania First: The banana split was first served in Pennsylvania in 1904.
* Origins: Most commercially grown bananas are clones of one another and originated from a single plant in Southeast Asia.

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5 thoughts on “Backyard Bananas

  1. How interesting! Also, we have wanted a banana or coconut tree in each place we have stayed here in Thailand. We have yet to have one, but all our neighbors seem to have them. Oh well, at least they are cheap here. 🙂

    • Even though we have our harvested bunch slowly ripening, we still turn to the local market to buy ones that are ready. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that we can use the ones we picked 🙂

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