Thai and Japanese Banana Plants, and an Amazing Vegan Haul

 I found this bottled organic mango puree at Foodworks last weekend: it looked so good, I bought two. It’s great.

 Found a Thai brand of coconut water that’s more affordable than the insane $5 and $6 a quart coconut water that’s out there.

 The tofu press is amazing. So grateful to finally have one.

I also scored an awesome, fair trade lunch bag for just a few dollars.

 I’ve settled on the Thailand Black Stem Banana for the winter’s tropical indoor ‘grown-from-seed’ project, and the seeds are ordered and on their way. I’m going for a big banana plant. Might as well have a 20-foot banana tree in the house.

But as always, I’ve gone a little crazy with this new adventure. As it turns out, mail-order banana trees in 4-inch pots are available for less than $10 each. Guess who ordered two last night.

I know mail order plants are a risk. But I’m gambling the $20 on a banana win. Arriving in a week are a winter-hardy Basjoo banana (a Japanese variety), and a dwarf Cavendish musa. I’ve seen, about three times here in Connecticut, banana trees, in the ground, all year round, getting bigger by the year. This Basjoo reportedly tolerates sub-freezing temperatures without becoming unstable. Our house could be the next banana tree house.

So my work this winter will be to get this small Basjoo into the best shape possible, then plant it outdoors in a permanent location next summer. How amazing would it be to have an outdoor banana tree? Pretty amazing. Let’s see what happens.

The Cavendish tops off at between two and four feet tall. It functions mainly as an ornamental that produces tiny bananas. I see it enjoying its life in the sunny window in our kitchen. But it all rests on what condition plants arrive and what I can make happen indoors all winter.

I’ve done the research and it looks like the route to germination of large, hard banana seeds is surface abrasion with a metal file to soften the seed husk, a 4-day soak in distilled water, and planting up in individual pots in well-drained potting soil. I already have a heat mat for germination, and that’s also highly recommended.

If it succeeds, this is going to be a fun winter. Cultivating Thai, Japanese, and dwarf banana trees in the house is one of my horticulture fantasies.

Banana trees eat and drink a lot. A mature indoor dwarf banana tree can reportedly drink up to two gallons of water a day. A high-nitrogen fertilizer applied frequently will help produce those sexy, glossy, strappy banana leaves.

In food news, the tofu press arrived Friday. I pressed a block of tofu overnight, and made super-spicy Thai yellow tofu curry. Amazing. This was a great investment. It’s really well made - in the U.S.A. - and is easy to use.

I forgot to mention in my last post that I had an epic visit at Foodworks, my favorite organic, fair trade, vegan supplies store, last weekend. Among the pantry staples of rice, bean thread, spices, tea, mangoes, limes, yerba mate, agave, nut milk, bananas, Mrs. Meyers cleaners, and Bronners soap, I scooped up some bottled organic mango puree.

My instincts told me this was a good thing, so I bought two bottles. It’s amazing. So far, it’s been added to curry tofu and morning smoothies. Don’t know how I’ve lived without it. I also scored an awesome, fair trade, Deadhead lunch bag for just a few dollars.

I also found affordable Thai coconut water. The brand is Zola. Have you checked out the price of coconut water lately? Five dollars and six dollars a quart! Coconut water is not rare, but food producers have figured out that lots of people like it, so the price has grown accordingly. I dislike the food industry’s ethics.

I’m looking around me now and everywhere are pumpkins, mums, and pumpkin spice lattes. The rush into the next season gets more frantic each year. It’s September 13, sunny, and 83 degrees outside. Sunflowers are blooming, and tomatoes are on the vines. I’m still walking barefoot everywhere. Because it’ still summer.

I understand perfectly why retailers sell the seasonal hype: profit. But I always wonder why plain people want to leave a season like summer behind.

What part of summer do people want to escape? The warm, soothing sun on our skin? Birdsong and wildlife? Flowers blooming, food growing in our gardens? Days at the beach, the scent of the ocean, bleached hair, tanned skin? Light, comfy clothing and bare feet on the Earth? Gorgeous summer thunderstorms? Garden herbs and fresh greens with our meals? Sun tea, lemonade, watermelon, lemon ices, fresh Pico de Gallo, corn on the cob, June strawberries, cookouts, vacations, bonfires, boating, swimming, running, playing, festivals?

The change of seasons is a regular reminder of the impermanence of everything, and I accept it. Everything comes and goes, including us, and change is inevitable and necessary. Winter always comes, and I always look for the beauty in it. But if I could make magic, it would be blesséd summer 12 months a year.

Live in peace.

Popular Posts