Banana Lessons

This post could be filed under either the “Ya Learn Sumtin’ New Every Day” or the “How Come I didn’t Know that already?” categories. I just learned something new about my garden: Bananas have no season.

One of the things I love about gardening is that I am constantly learning. I’m sure this wouldn’t be the case if I’d grown up on a farm or had parents who were keen backyard gardeners. I didn’t and mine weren’t. My grandmother had heaps of advice about eating (more than one small glass of orange juice with breakfast is gluttony, only eat until you’re no longer hungry because half an hour after eating, your stomach feels more full) but not one bit about gardening. Growing up in the 60s & 70s in a suburb of Seattle just didn’t give me much opportunity to get dirt under my finger nails. So now I’m all eyes and ears and recording what I witness and revelling in the amazing things nature (and the internet) is showing me.

All that watching recently brought me a surprise. My biggest banana plant is growing a spear. Up until about 5 days ago, I had despaired because last year my first banana spear showed up in November (that’s November 2010 so really 16 months ago). Last summer was hot (summer starting in December in Sydney) with plenty of sunshine and I assumed: a) the bananas shoot their spear in late spring and b) you need a lot of sun and heat to get bananas. This summer was the 2nd wettest in Sydney’s history so I assumed that was why I missed out on bananas this year.

Then about 5 days ago, I saw what was clearly not just a new leaf coming out of the top of the biggest banana plant in my bunch. And now, there’s no denying it, the plant is producing a spear. Which sent me researching bananas and, lo and behold, they don’t have a season and you can expect fresh bananas at any time of the year. Imagine that!

In a few months (last year’s took 5 months with all that sun and heat) I’ll be eating bananas from my back garden again. I can’t wait, they’re delicious. This is a very pleasant lesson indeed.

To be fair to those that raised me, even if they’d been the maddest, keenest gardeners on the planet, I don’t think they’d have told me a thing about bananas. Seattle is way too cold for bananas.


About Laura Rittenhouse

I'm an American-Australian author, gardener and traveller. Go to my writing website: for more. If you're trying to find my gardening blog, it's here.
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6 Responses to Banana Lessons

  1. Luckily our neighbor has bananas and every now and again we get to share in one of their big bunches. You are right they don’t seem to have a season at all.

  2. I used to love the quote: “good fences make good neighbours”. Now I’m thinking it should be “good produce makes good neighbours”. My neighbours are closing ranks. They’re offering to babysit the chooks, water the veggies, help harvest the bananas, whatever I need – just give them the extras and we’ll be friends for life 🙂

  3. Glenn Rittenhouse says:

    I don’t know where you got your interest in gardening, certainly not from Bam or me. That’s why grocery stores have such big produce departments 🙂

    • No, grocery stores have such big candy departments because of people like you (and me) 🙂 I think maybe I learned to love food from you guys and gardening is a natural extension of that. (Know where I can buy a Hershey Bar tree?)

  4. Pingback: Banana Season | Laura Rittenhouse's Gardening Journal

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