Sunday, August 8, 2010

Going bananas!

Going bananas
South Floridians love bananas and there are many to grow here. There are ice cream bananas, red banana, finger bananas finger banansas and more. In fact, there even is a nursery called Going Bananas located in Homestead, Florida. Homestead is in southwest Miami.
Katie Chafin is co owner of Going bananas. When asked which her favorite banana was, she replied “Whatever is ripe!” With over ninety two different varieties to choose from, it is understandable why one would never tire of them.
Here in South Florida, many people without gardens get their bananas mostly in the supermarket like everyone else does elsewhere in the country. We buy the same ones imported by the big name producers located in Central American and the Caribbean Islands.
Many back yard gardeners also grow their own bananas. They are best started by shoots from the mother plant, divided up by digging the new shoots. If you have a friend with a banana you can get suckers from them, or buy plants from a local nursery. Backyard growers like to try varieties not found in stores.
The top sellers according to Katie:
• Gold finger- is a disease resistant large variety. This hybrid was created in Honduras.
• Nam wa- originated in Southeast Asia and has a delicious pineapple banana flavor.
• Raja puri – has a superb flavor but warns Katie, “You need to feed it like a teenage boy, you can’t feed it enough.” This Indian variety requires heavy feeding for the plant to thrive.
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  1. I love my bananas! I planted them for a tropical privacy plant along my fence row behind my pool. The bananas are simply a bonus, but we get plenty of them! They are sweet and good, although I don't know what specific variety they are. I'm interested in trying out a pretty, red variegated leaf variety.
    My bananas are really taking their time this year...they were frozen back harshly this winter, and are in slow-mo this summer. I hope they produce fruit before it gets too chilly for them.

  2. BTW...92 varieties of bananas?!?! WOW!! What fun!

  3. I have always wanted to visit Going Bananas, but when I drive to Miami from Jacksonville the extra time to get to homestead is hard to sacrifice. It would be an appropriate end to my honeymoon this spring to stop by this nursery on the way back from the keys!
    By the way, I grow Ice Cream in my Jacksonville garden and have some Pink Velvet that I started from seed.