Thursday, March 13, 2014

Grow your own Pineapple

 I really enjoy growing things. I've been fascinated with plants and flowers for as long as I can remember.  Because we live in Florida, it's very easy to grow pineapples, and I currently have between 22-25 pineapple plants in my garden.  Nine of them have fruit this year, and that really gets me kind of giddy!

Here is a quick run  down on how to plant them, and lot's of pictures of how I made a place for them in my garden.

Step one.  Eat a pineapple... yum!  Save the top! ;)  Save the green "crown" and just a bit of the fruit itself...shown below.
Let it sit in a dish of water for about a week ....

...(or 3 weeks if you keep forgetting to plant it like me!)


Step 2.  Find a space in your garden, and tuck it in.  I took advantage of this little space in the middle of some of my older pineapple plants.
You just want to cover the "fruit" part with soil, and water it well to get it settled in.


Step 3:  Sit back and watch it grow.  It may be 2 years before you get a fruit, keep planting more plants all the time and you will have a rotating crop of pineapple.

This is an area by my back fence, you can't see if from the yard, it's hidden behind a large patch of Mexican Petunia.  I have 3 pineapple plants snuggled rather closely together.  I keep the spines trimmed so I can walk down my little path.  Two of these are fruiting this year...


There's one peeking his little head around the corner...


Top view...2 fruit on the left, the plant on the right isn't ready to fruit yet.


Here's a closer view of that middle guy...


In my "large" patch, I have a few that are starting to get their crown.  


 Here are two side by side in the large patch, one will ripen a few weeks ahead of the other....that's the way you want it! ;)


This one's just a little pineapple "nub" barely peeking out...


 This is the view of my "large" stand.  It may not seem possible, but there are about 24 plants in there!!!



Yum!


 I have a pretty bouganvilla and some confederate jasmine climbing the fence to "mask" the spiney pinapple plants.  I also like to sprinkle Cosmos seeds in the patch because they make a pretty "hide" to these "not so pretty" plants. :)


With the right placement and addition of other plants, you can grow a LOT of pineapples and keep them relatively "hidden".  Yes, there really are about 20 plants back there!  







Why do I bother growing my own?

No pesticides - I use only organic composted manures and kitchen scraps to feed my garden beds, so I know what is going into my plants, and what will eventually be going into my body. My original 4 pineapple plants were from the tops of store bought fruit, however since they were planted 7 years ago, I am hoping all chemicals used to grow them have worked their way out of the system by now.

Taste - When you grow your own, the fruit is allowed to ripen on the plant, allowing the sugars to fully develop. Store bought pineapples (among other things) are picked before they are ripe, allowing time to ship them to the stores and get them stocked on the shelves. There is nothing as delicious as a pineapple fully ripened on the plant and eaten the same day it's cut - the flavor is out of this world!

Joy! - I love to spend time in my garden, learning what makes things grow, what causes diseases, how to improve my soil, trying to figure out what I'm doing wrong and getting excited when something works out right. It is a joy to be outside and hear the wind rustling through the leaves of our pecan tree, smell the sweet scent of blooming honeysuckle and get dirt under my nails. I am amazed at this detailed world that God has made and how he has blessed us with such beauty to see, touch and smell.

It's easy - Cut the top off a pineapple (organic if you can find one), keep about 1/2 inch of fruit attached. Set that in a shallow dish of water for a few days. Outside on a covered porch is best, it will begin to smell kind of rottenish. Take that and plant it in enriched, well draining soil, covering the fruit part and a little bit of the "plant" - don't put dirt in the middle of the plant though, it needs to grow from here, so keep it clear!


Water well and ignore. It will grow, and in about 2 years you will get your first pineapple. As you can see in the photo, the plant will put off new shoots. Pineapple plants only produce one fruit and then they die off, but you never actually see this happening, as they send off a new plant that soon takes over, it is very unnoticeable.


In addition, I cut u
p an apple per plant once a year in the spring and put the chopped up pieces on and around the plant. The gas produced by the rotting apple feeds the pineapple plants and helps them to produce.  I wouldn't say this is necessary, but it was something I learned form a friend of a friend of a friend who use to grow pineapples... you get the picture. :)

Happy planting!




Here is an example of what happens to the plant after it produces fruit. "A" is where I cut off a ripe pineapple, the "original" plant will die off. "B" and "C" are where two new plants are shooting off of the original parent plant. Because of this, you hardly ever notice that the original plant is disappearing, the shoots become big quite quickly and take over where that one left off.

These are from the "archives"... :)


Wednesday, January 1, 2014