Archive for July 21st, 2008

July 21, 2008

Homegrown Pineapples?

Living in Florida certainly has its advantages when it comes to climate.  Except when its the end of July.  Right now its so hot that M&M’s actually do melt in your hand before they ever make it to your mouth.  By ten in the morning the weather is absolutely steaming; nearly eighty-five Fahrenheit and easily seventy percent humidity.

But one of the nice things about a relatively stable year round temperature – if not stable year-round rainfall – is the effect it has on growing seasons in the South.  I can actually squeeze two to three rounds of tomatoes out of the garden, same for peas.  Lettuce is finicky in the hottest months but from October to about March there’s plenty of it. 

And considering our rather Hawaii-like climate, we can actually get pineapple to grow in the front yard.  Same for avocado and mangoes. (Although mangoes really do best in the southerly points like Miami.  In fact mangoes grow so well in the 305 area that my Dad used to talk about having mango wars and chucking them like grenades when he was a kid.)

One of the most interesting things about growing pineapples is the crazy way you can generate a plant.  Four years ago I called my friend Annie crazy (crazy!) for attempting this method but it turns out that it actually works.  If you lop off the top of a mature pineapple and leave a bit of flesh at the bottom you can then put the top in a bit of water for a few days, plant it in the ground, and actually get a new plant out of it! 

I still feel like its a bit of science fiction but the plants growing in my parents yard prove it for fact.  (Well, unless my parents bought real pineapple plants and put them in the same spot just to prove their point.  Which I doubt.)

Now comes the hard part: the wait.  Most of the veggie and fruit books say pineapple takes roughly two years before its mature enough to harvest fruit.  Some say longer.  Hopefully the anticipation will make the eventual fruit taste even better; rather like biting into oranges fresh off the trees in “winter” and having to wait a full year before they’re in season once again. 

I thought there were a lot of interesting things to say about anticipation and food, but it seems one of my favorite authors has already written them.  Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal Vegetable Miracle is excellent reading, and I’m only ten pages in.