by Elle Meager
(Pioneer Valley, Australia)
That bucket would go straight to the bananas. Later on, I started peeling potatoes straight into the bucket, as well as carrots and other veggies. All of that would go straight on, they thrived on it.
4: Use Their Own Foliage
Banana trunks are all water. If you’ve ever cut down a banana, which is surprisingly easy for such a heavy-duty trunk, you would have seen the water pouring out of the cut pieces. They’re incredibly good at storing water, which is a big plus in a drought-tolerant garden.
When your banana clump gets too big, or some of the older plants start to not look their best, cut them down and use them for mulch. Banana leaves and trunks make incredible mulch, and the water from the trunks and foliage is released back to the remaining trees. It’s also full of Nitrogen, helping your remaining trees to grow stronger with deep, dark green foliage.
5: Seaweed Extract and Chicken Manure
After mulch, seaweed extract is my favorite garden tool (and a mattock, but that’s beside the point at the moment). Seaweed extract reduces plant stress, it’s a plant’s best friend.
Quote from this source):
“Seaweed extract benefits included enhanced crop yield, improved root structures, improved plant development like flowering, leaf development, and fruit set, and enhanced ability to tolerate plant disease and climatic stresses such as cold or drought.”
Simply put, plants are better at dealing with drought, they grow better, and they’re more disease resistant. In our former organic plant nursery, we used seaweed extract extensively and noticed a big decrease in disease and insect damage.
And chicken manure, well, this is not so much for drought-hardiness, but beneficial nonetheless, for its potassium content. Potassium helps with fruit set. Manures, in general, are beneficial, acting similarly to mulch; providing a layer between the root system and the elements, as well as providing the plant with nutrient, and beneficial bugs with sustenance.
One last point…
Make sure your bananas are protected from livestock; they love the foliage and will leave nothing at all. Just the other day, our neighbor’s cows came over for a visit and I spent two hours guarding the banana trees. I’d learned from experience that cows and banana plants don’t go together.
I’d purchased two, very special, tissue-culture grown banana trees. One was a Dwarf Ducasse and the other a Goldfinger. They came as tube stock, and I had grown them up, beautifully, up to 7” pots. One morning, to my dismay, I went to check up them and found two empty pots. The horror! The cows had obliterated them overnight. That said, the same applies to rabbits, and in Australia, kangaroos and wallabies.
Written by Elle Meager. Elle loves edible and rare plants, the more obscure the better. She has a diploma in Naturopathy, with a focus on Herbal Medicine, and enjoys growing her own herbs for tinctures and natural medicine. Elle is a former plant nursery owner, selling her nursery last year to move to the tropics in Australia.
She has over 15 years of drought-wise gardening experience, a result of her pursuit of growing a food forest in an extremely dry, hot area of Australia. She now runs Outdoor Happens, a blog passionate about creating amazing backyards and gardens.