This delicious fruit is much loved by Australians and the demand for good quality Bananas in fruit shops often has to be satisfied by bringing in fruit from Queensland.
While Perth is considering a marginal growing area for commercial plantings the microclimate created in many suburban backyards makes home grown Bananas an attractive alternative crop.
Unlike most other fruiting plants Bananas are considered to be herbs as they have no woody tissue in their trunk. The plants are largely supported by the water that fills up the large cells in the trunk. Moisture is therefore the key to successful growing and cropping.
Ornamental as well as productive the Banana plant really adds a. tropical atmosphere to your garden or pools side area. It can be grown successfully in large tubs.
Choose a full sun position preferably North facing to maximize winter sun hours. Wind plays havoc with the tender leaves and the shallow growing roots. Either choose a wind protected site or create a windbreak with fast growing bushy plants or shade cloth. Our sandy soils are not ideal, however with the addition of considerable quantities of compeat and well matured animal manure – be it cow, sheep, horse or chicken you can create a superb growing medium. Work on the proportion of three parts organic material to one part original sand.
A high level of moisture during the warm months is essential either by trickle or sprinkler irrigation. Mulching with organic material such as peat, matured sawdust or animal manure or with black mulching plastic will help to retain soil moisture and increase humidity. Regular and heavy feeding will promote rapid growth and an early onset of fruiting. Recommended fertiliser is N.P.K. Blue, applied at the rate of ½ cup every six weeks from September to March. Planting close to other trees will help to ward off most frost damage in susceptible areas.
The large flowers either yellow-orange or bright red are very showy. Fruit is usually ripe 13 to 15 months after planting. I recommend that you cover the fruit with a large plastic sleeve such as a green garbage bag with the base cut away, once you see it beginning to form. This accelerates ripening.
The main variety available for planting in Perth is Golden Gross. This is the principal commercial variety from Carnarvon. While most Bananas are eaten fresh try this cooked concoction for a deliciously different dessert.
For four serves you will need:
4 ripe bananas peeled and sliced longwise then chopped into 3 sections
1 Tablespoon of Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon of Butter or Margarine 1 Tablespoon of Lemon Juice
1 ½ Tablespoons of either Sweet Sherry, Grand Marnier or Contreau
In a shallow frying pan over medium heat melt butter then add sugar and lemon juice. Let bubble for a minute then add Banana sections. Pour over liquor and shake pan to cover fruit evenly. Fry for two more minutes then serve immediately with lashings of ice cream. I’ve found this to be an easy dessert, quick to prepare and even quicker to be eaten.