Saturday, September 19, 2009
Lulu's User-Friendly Guide to Pruning Banana Clumps
As a WWOOFer at Hale Akua Garden Farm, I take care of all sorts of plants: taro, Hawaiian ginger, tumeric, bok choy, carrots, beets, okra, etc. One of my more exciting responsibilities is caring for our 30+ banana plants using a very serious machete.
Thus, I give you an overview of what this task entails...
1. Pull all the weeds and extraneous grass away from the base of the clump. This will give you a clean workspace and room to consider the dense structure of the plant at hand. My boss is very exacting, so I’ve gotten used to doing a lot of weeding. Mostly, in this case it just looks nice.
2. Bananas like to keep a close-knit O’hana (Hawaiian for "family"): a daddy, a mommy, a teenager, and a baby (or one mature mommy and one less mature mommy – however PC you’d like to make this scenario, be my guest). Either way, kill the rest of the family with a giant machete. The stalks that are preparing to bear fruit get to stay. In addition to those, keep one slightly smaller one and also one young shoot. Cutting back family members will help ensure that the surviving ones have enough nutrients to bare fruit.
4. Be careful not to hit your head on the enormous banana flower as you are moving around the clump.
5. Harvest the bananas (the actual fruits) the moment they begin to turn from green to yellow.
And check out this delicious baked treat from Gourmet that we prepared using our harvested bananas.