Anyone searching Green Path for “banana” will get a lot of results but none which give any sense of what has been happening in my garden recently. A reader sent me a compliment, a request and an offer (all in one email), so I thought I could reply here, via a general update on my backyard banana growing.
Here’s the email:
Read your blog with interest about native bananas and cultivated types also. I have had at times quite a variety of cultivated bananas, including Sugar, Dwarf Cavendish, Dwarf Ducasse, Blue Java, Red Dacca, Goldfinger, Mons Marie, Pisang Rajah and Ceylan, and Ladyfinger. A friend had promised me a Gros Michel but moved, (though I haven’t given up getting some suckers), and would like to get monkey bananas and the large cooking plantain that High Falls Farm at Mossman used to sell at Rusty’s.
I live at Ravenshoe and am happy to swap.
As I said last April, I moved from one Mundingburra house to another just over a year ago. I brought with me suckers of the Ducasse which were so successful at the old place, and suckers of the Lady Finger from this clump in South Townsville.
The Blue Java which I nurtured so hopefully for so long had died not long after producing the first bunch I harvested, and the Pisang Ceylan didn’t even get to that stage before succumbing to the Scrub Turkey’s nest-building efforts, so I only have the two varieties. They are doing well in their new home, and with any luck I should get some fruit this year.
I will collect other varieties as opportunities arise but I’m in no hurry: I only have a suburban back yard and it could easily get crowded. Red Dacca and Monkey bananas are near the top of my wish-list but, really, I’m an anything-but-Cavendish grower.
Meanwhile, I receive occasional emails from other readers looking for specific varieties. I’m sorry to say that I can’t help much, since I don’t actually know anyone growing anything I haven’t got (unless this lot is a different Ducasse, as I suspect it may be: the plants make ours look like midgets, so perhaps ours are Dwarf Ducasse and these others are non-dwarf Ducasse).
Blue Sky Backyard Bananas, Tully, are still selling online and they would be the first people I would ask about the less common varieties. There’s also a facebook public group called Oz Rare Fruit which may help. (I have joined it, but so recently that I don’t yet have much of a sense of its activity.)
Other than that, it’s a matter of running into someone who has what you want and is willing to share, so thanks for your offer, Sandi, and I will contact you when I’m travelling in your direction. If any of my readers is also interested in swapping with Sandi I can put you in touch, too.
Growing our own food is very satisfying in itself, but I also like the community-building aspect of it, the sharing and swapping. Let’s keep it going.