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Author Topic: Sustainable Farming  (Read 6077 times)

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Re: Sustainable Farming
« Reply #30 on: March 15, 2016, 07:03:04 pm »

Iceland home to N. Europe's largest banana plantation     

Around 1950, Garđyrkjuskóli ríkisins in Iceland planted their first banana plants as an experiment. Only 177 miles from the Arctic Circle, the plantation at the Icelandic National Gardening School, is the biggest banana plantation in Northern Europe; fed by an abundance of volcanic hot springs, the heat from them is what makes this quite impossible idea possible.

After the initial trials in the 50s, the experiment stopped, as it had been proven that bananas could grow in greenhouses in Iceland, although not in an economically advantageous way. The school nevertheless decided to continue to keep their plants, for the fun of it.  ;D

The school has several large greenhouses. Alongside the bananas they grow coffee, cocoa, avocado and other plants normally found in the Southern hemisphere. Bananas are the biggest group here with around 100 plants; the rest are grown in pairs.

Winter temperatures in the area regularly go below the freezing point and summer temperatures top out around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, so even in a greenhouse, it can become a little chilly for plants that love heat and sun. But with the warmth from the volcanic springs, temperatures are kept at a steady 70 degrees year round .

Of course, being so close to the Arctic circle does mean a shorter growing season (normally bananas develop their clusters year-round.) Somehow, even though the sun is only out four hours a day in the winter months, these bananas have survived in their volcanically heated home. These cold-weather bananas are harvested from April to June. Beyond bananas, the area is home to more conventional greenhouse crops, like tomatoes.

Source: atlasobscura.com
Publication date: 3/9/2016

Agelbert NOTE:
In the tropics, I tried my hand at growing bananas once. They are easy to grow. You plant what is called a bud (hijo - son in Spanish). It grows in a few months and you get a nice bunch of bananas, usually too many to eat before they get over ripe. So, you harvest about half when they are green and eat them peeled and boiled in salty water (like a boiled potato - they are quite good).

You do this gradually.

When your bananas get to the ripe stage, you just eat them as desert with or without ice cream  ;D. At that point you harvest the rest of them on the plant stalk.

You then peel and freeze the ones you can't eat right away. The frozen ones will be mushy when thawed so they are good only for pudding, fruit milk shakes or banana bread.

If some that you did not freeze or eat got too ripe, you can make an oven type sweet desert or fried fritters from them (which are also sweet and crunchy).

Returning to the banana plant, you then chop the stalk off the plant and dig it up.

The root system is small and short so it is easy to dig up. That is why banana plantations lose most of their plants in a hurricane. Banana plant stalks cannot handle high winds.

Once you have the root base in hand, you slice off the buds -  there may me three or four.

Each bud will give you a new plant.

Those tiny seeds you see inside a banana will never give you a banana plant. Snark alert  ;): Lord Lucifer must have put them there to make fools out of homo saps.

They reproduce from buds, period (test on Monday  ).

That said, there are some plantain (a banana like fruit, two or three times longer and twice as thick as the average banana, cooked after peeling by boiling or frying in slices if green (tostones - yummy!  ;D) or baking/broiling as a sweet desert if ripe) species that do reproduce from seed as well as budding. The seeds are every bit as tiny as those banana seeds that refuse to germinate. Plantain seeds never went bananas.   

Unlike bananas, plantains can keep you as well fed as having a steady supply of potatoes. Unlike potatoes, you can stagger the plantings and continuously you get plantains all year (as long as you are in the tropics).

That system works for bananas too. Now you know more than you ever wanted to know about the cultivation of bananas and plantains. 

One more thing. There is plant called "plantain" that has nothing whatsoever to do with bananas or the plantains I spoke about just now. It's a medicinal plant of some kind and also an ornamental. Please do not confuse the two. Lord Lucifer wouldn't like it.  ;)
Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Pr. 22:22-23


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