Wednesday, 29 April 2009

The first banana flower

What would a sustainable property be in Queensland without bananas. Probably a little saner.

Around the middle of September I set about creating a banana circle. Given that the soil in the "prime" location was primarily deco (decomposed granite), a lot of good quality materials was going to be required. So I basically composted on site with massive amounts of horse manure and grass.

Unbelievably, I also planted my first Lady Finger banana in the compost a couple of weeks later. That was a HUGE mistake. I could have cooked a pig in that soil after a couple of days, and it seemed to need at least a month to finally cool down. Two weeks was not enough time, especially considering that I planted the bananas to the neck (recommended by the tissue culture company, but overkill in my opinion).

The second banana planted was the Blue Java around the end of October. Again I planted it to its neck and a bit too soon due to the residual heat of the compost. Luckily I realised this and added some well rotted horse manure (about 6 months old) and replanted the banana to that it was level with the soil.

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that I had three generations of Blue Java bananas growing. This was very exciting. All the other bananas only had two generations. What I should have realised as well was that something even better was about to occur.

Well yesterday I finally noticed it. Our first banana flower emerging! Very exciting indeed. It has taken about six months for the tissue culture banana to start developing the first bunch which is about how long it should take with out any setbacks. Hopefully we will be able to tuck in to the fruit before it gets too cold over winter.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Garden turtle

My wife and I were very surprised to find a turtle in the garden yesterday. We were walking past the garden bed and I noticed some thing that looked like a turtle. So I had a closer look and there it was. We took a few pictures of it in hopes of identifying which species it was.

I did a quick search on the internet and could not find anything obvious. But I did find the Australian Freshwater Turtle web site. I signed up and posted a question on their forum under the Freshwater Turtle Identification section. Sure enough, the same day the turtle was identified as a male Saw-shelled turtle (Wollumbinia latisternum). So they provided not only the species information, but the gender as well. Very impressive. They also informed me that this species of turtle is the only one which can eat a cane toad and survive. Go Saw-shelled turtle! If you want to see the thread, visit

So if you have a freshwater turtle you need to id, or want to find out more information about freshwater turtles, I highly recommend the Australian Freshwater Turtle web site.