Sunday, July 24, 2011

growing bananas in minnesota, cannas in the basement

first reddish tomato spotted today- july 24
My apologies for the washed-out quality of the photos. I started taking pictures after 8:30, and the sun is beginning to go down about that time now.  By the time I was done, it was after 9:00.

The sun is headed back south- but we still have a lot of summer left.  The best part of it really- the quiet (except for the cicadas) steamy dog days of August.  The slowly cooling evenings, the transition to early fall.  This is the best time of year.  The heat and humidity of the last few weeks has to end at some point- and today it seemed to be on the way out.  At least for a while.

We went to my parents' house for a birthday party this afternoon and sat on the screened porch for hours, drinking lemonade, letting the kids run up and down the stairs, letting the fan blow cool air over us, as the shadows grew longer and longer. 

I found the first almost red tomato today- one of the grape tomatoes that Gita planted in our yard.  I don't know the variety, and I don't think she kept the tag- it seems to be one of the common 'grape' salad tomatoes that are big now.  I found another couple of sandwich tomatoes about the size of tennis balls as well.

The heat certainly has been good for them.

In our community garden plot, the 'Opalka' tomatoes are looking wilted, though I suspect that's just the way the foliage looks all the time regardless.  We've had so much rain, there's no reason for any tomato to look wilted.  I've seen a few green tomatoes on the Opalka that was started indoors, and the only one successfully transplanted.  They're about the size and shape of jalapeno peppers right now.  Same for the Federle starts I got at the ECFE auction.  The 'Garden Peach' are humming along, though no large fruit yet to be seen.

One notable new plant- the Cream of Saskatachewan watermelons!  I found at three golf-ball size melons without really looking on Saturday night.  We're having heat and moisture more akin to what they might see in Georgia or east Texas, so I expect these Saskatchewan melons will plump up nice and quick.  I love yellow watermelon and am excited to be growing some of my own.  I hope the garden thief at the community garden doesn't spot them.
My canna bulb collection started to sprout while in 'cold' storage

 We have some canna bulbs that we got for free 5 summers ago which we've been planting each spring, then digging up in the fall, to store over winter in the basement.  Each year it has worked out pretty well.  Some years we get 6-foot cannas with bright red flowers, and some burgundy foliage, and it feels like it's worth the work.

Except this year we've been exceptionally busy and I've thought about the cannas in the basement multiple times- but done nothing about it.  I poured some water on them in January to keep them from drying out, and they're in the coolest spot in the basement storage room, so I hoped that they hadn't gotten moldy or rotten.

I went tonight to bring the bucked of canna bulbs up- and boy was I in for a surprise.  There were some yellowish cannas poking out from under the paper bags I had placed on top to keep the light off of them.  Some were a foot tall!

So I got the bucket out into the yard as fast as I could and dumped it out.  The cannas had rooted pretty nicely already.  It was hard to break the mess up.  But I did.  I sorted them out into four buckets and watered the whole bunch.   We'll see what happens now.  I feel sort of guilty for neglecting them like this, but have new respect for their resilience and of cannas' will to live.

'daddy- we made a castle while you were gone!'

Speaking of wonderful and mysterious things- I came home last night after a long day of renovating rental property and found a little flower arrangement in the gravel paver base in our back yard.  It's the site of the future patio, but the kids have made it into their sandbox, though the 'sand' isn't exactly the best suited for it.

My daughter told me 'daddy- we made a castle while you were gone!'.  It was such a sweet little thing.  One of the things I miss out on when I let myself get too busy.

not red yet- but almost tennis ball size
satisfied honey bee napping (?) on an asiatic lily

oriental and asiatic lilies
tiger striped darjeeling banana

The asiatic and oriental lillies (don't ask me which is which) are in full bloom right now, and I can smell them 30 or 40 feet away.  I smelled them as I walked past our neighbor's house, only to realize that the breeze was blowing the scent from our yard.  The smell is so strong and so sweet, it smells like it could hardly be real.  Like it must be some sort of fruity perfume, or a fabric softener from the soap aisle at the grocery store.  But it's the real thing. 

I've never grown lillies before doing our back yard project, and have come to appreciate them.  I may have put them into the category of 'gaudy, non-native useless' plants before, but I like them now for their scent alone.

Another very much non-native plant is thriving in this weather.  Our darjeeling banana - or musa sikkimensis twins are loving the heat and humidity.  Both added an extra large leaf in the last week.  Both have been showing some really nice tiger stripes too.  I don't expect that we'll see bananas, at least not this year, but I really like the foliage on these plants.  Gita is still very skeptical of my ability to grow bananas here, but I'm showing her.  One day I hope to make her a locally-grown banana lassi and prove her oh-so-wrong.  One day.

1 comment:

  1. Little one is very busy to make a castle; so cute! Your yard looks very beautiful.