Posts Tagged ‘Monty Don’

Growing Dwarf Bananas in the UK

musa-super-dwarfNo, I’m not joking. We used to grow bananas, in our Brisbane garden, and had a fair bit of success. Those plants were about 4m high though – and the climate was sub-tropical!

Imagine my surprise then when I saw that one of Monty Don’s favourite fruits to grow is a banana! Admittedly a dwarf banana, but even so – growing bananas in Britain! I had expected those to be one of the items that would become unavailable, or an expensive luxury, in a post-peak-oil world but it turns out we might be able to grow them in a conservatory or greenhouse in our back garden. The variety Monty recommended was a Dwarf Cavendish, which gets to 6-7ft before fruiting, with leaves 2ft long and 6″ wide. It’s a lot smaller than our Lady Finger bananas in Brisbane, but still pretty big for a greenhouse or polytunnel. 

There is an even smaller version avalable though – the Musa Cavendish Super Dwarf Banana. These fruit when they are only 4ft tall – and look like a much better candidate for a greenhouse or polytunnel, as long as you can keep them above 3°c. Might make it onto my planting list if I have the space!

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Monty Don aims to change the way we garden – and eat

Monty Don, gardener, journalist, author, ex-presenter of Gardener’s World and now President of the Soil Association is a convert to the Peak Oil cause and the Transition Movement.

Last November he wrote a great article for Gardener’s World magazine – you can find a copy over on Transition Culture – in it he talks about the invisible footprint we leave as gardeners, and stresses that we need to move to a much more local society.

This August, just as he starts his new post at the Soil Association, he gave a wonderful interview to The Guardian. In it he discusses creating an underground movement to spread the message that we need to be growing much more of our own food. He also wants to move the Soil Association into a more central role in ensuring the sustainability of Britain’s food supply.

I would much rather someone bought food that was local and sustainable but not organic than bought organic food that had to be shipped across the world. We’ve got to move away from making people feel lesser because they’re not [eating] organic. There is no doubt about it, ‘sustainable’ is a better expression for the same sorts of ideas than ‘organic’.

You can see this emphasis through the work the Soil Association is doing now – their latest taste of the good life courses talk about helping to “create a vibrant relocalised food culture” and leading “a planet friendly lifestyle”.

Monty will be one to watch – let’s hope he manages to get his guerilla gardening movement going – we’ll all be better prepared if he does.