Eating is an agricultural act - Wendell Berry

Thursday, July 01, 2010

cracking the banana code

it is perhaps the most wholesome tree (rivalled by the coconut) in any farm.
and i would rank it among the top things one should do in their farm - cracking the banana code.

some basic banana tree facts...
1. life of 12 to 24 months (depending on the variety). fruits around the 8th-9th month (12 month tree).
2. one of the few trees whose leaves do not fall onto the earth on withering. they fold down as a protective covering, safeguarding the stem from the heat.
3. produces a new leaf every 10 days.
4. is a water guzzler, but amazingly lets all the water back into the soil on completion of the fruiting.
5. the leaf is used as plate, the stem (innermost part) is consumable (super tasty), the flower is consumable (once the fruit formation stops). and the dried stem layers can be ripped into long threads and woven into good strong thread.
6. they propagate asexually by suckers (a shoot that grows from the lower stem/root). each plant gives out approx 5 suckers in its life span.
7. india leads world banana production by a significant margin.

more info here.

'cracking the banana code' in a farmstead means to reach a stage when bananas becomes perennially available.
so if we are growing the 12 month variety, you would need a 'banana cluster' to be harvested every 15 days or so. so a minimum of 24 trees is required.

in the farms of deepak suchde and bhaskar save, there were tons of bananas.

so imagine our delight when we saw this:

we are 3 months from banana-guzzling time...

in a very informative manner, the very last leaf prior to the fruiting is a dwarf leaf.
once you notice that, you know that the flower is on its way. simple effective communication

yes. we are on the way to cracking the code.


Nandakumar V said...

Am a regular visitor to PointReturn and to Farm,yeah but have desisted from making comments,so far. Can't resist the temptation any more! Yes, banana is a wholesome tree and rivalled only by coconut. But banana will get a perfect 10.00 compared to Coconut's 9.9, the edibility of the core stem ( vazhai-th-thandu), giving banana the additional 0.1! That apart, great trees, both of them.While coconut trees' leaves give you anything from brooms to material for roof to the stretcher for the 'ultimate journey', the leaves of the banana is a plate, a cup ( donnai) and a lot more. Am I starting a debate here??

csm said...

hi nanda - welcome to this section.
i am fully with you.
only one point which i made briefly.
after we pluck the fruit, if we leave the plant for a few days, the water it took will be shed back into the soil. in this case the vazhai thandu will not be edible.