Saturday, 20 September 2008

A drying contraption for herbs; fruit and vegetables.

Bananas have grown over winter and are now ripening in the shed. This is a hybrid between Ladies finger Bananas and Cavendish Bananas. This B'tree does not grow tall and is easier to look after and to harvest the Bananas. After the harvest the whole Banana tree is cut down and is composted. These Bananas have a fantastic taste; bought Bananas are no comparison.

Banana plants are of the family Musaceae. They are cultivated primarily for their fruit, and to a lesser extent for the production of fibre and as ornamental plants. As the bananas are mainly tall, upright, and fairly sturdy, they are often mistaken for trees, when the truth is the main or upright stem is called a pseudostem, literally meaning "fake stem", which for some species can obtain a height of up to 2–8 m, with leaves of up to 3.5 m in length. Each pseudostem can produce a bunch of yellow, green, or even red bananas before dying and being replaced by another pseudostem.
The banana fruit grow in hanging clusters, with up to 20 fruit to a tier (called a hand), and 3-20 tiers to a bunch. The total of the hanging clusters is known as a bunch, or commercially as a "banana stem", and can weigh from 30–50 kg. The fruit averages 125 g, of which approximately 75% is water and 25% dry matter content. Each individual fruit (known as a banana or 'finger') has a protective outer layer (a peel or skin) with a fleshy edible inner portion. Both skin and inner part can be eaten raw or cooked. Western cultures generally eat the inside raw and throw away the skin while some Asian cultures generally eat both the skin and inside cooked. Typically, the fruit has numerous strings (called 'phloem bundles') which run between the skin and inner part.

Bananas are a valuable source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, and potassium.

If you are interested to read more about Bananas please look up


The drying contraption works very well. It has a lot of room, much better and easier to work with than my electric dryer. The Inside is painted black and on the sides it has small ventilation holes. It is easy to carry around. It works very well for drying fruits, vegetables and herbs. Here I am going to dry Italian parsley.Solar power in action.

Tzigane is a new climbing rose I bought in Winter. I thought the colour would be brash. The colour is perfect and the perfume is heavenly. The rose is very simple, holds well...

and fades away gracefully.

Tomatoes are looking good so far not like the last crop which was a complete flop. Why? Winter was cold and wet.

Tree-fern; Cyathea australis

Tree-ferns largest of the ferns can provide a spectacular addition to most gardens. The tree-ferns Cyathea australis and Cyathea cooperi are commonly grown in gardens for their aesthetic appeal and their hardiness. Both of these species are of the fern family Cyatheraceae.
C. australis is commonly known as the Rough Tree Fern due to the presence of adventitious roots, tubercles (knobbly bits) and masses of hair-like scales on its ‘trunk’. The ‘trunk’ like structure on a tree-fern is actually a greatly enlarged rhizome! The horticultural appeal of C. australis is not only due to its beautiful looks but also because it is an extremely hardy species, even capable of tolerating direct sun when the roots are wet. It is also a robust tub plant and is unusual in that it is tolerant of salty winds. C. australis is thus a popular, cold-hardy tree-fern, adaptable to a variety of climates and soils.
C. cooperi, the Lacy Tree Fern, derives this name from its delicate fronds. It is also known as the Australian Tree Fern as it is one of the most commonly grown Australian tree-ferns.
C. cooperi is quite distinctive from C. australis in that it has a more slender trunk with distinctive "coin spots" where old fronds have broken off the trunk. C. cooperi fronds are bright green and lacy and tend to be very fast growing. There are several major horticultural varieties of this fern including Cyathea ‘Brentwood’ which has paler fronds and scales and C. ‘Robusta’ which tends to be darker in both characters. C. cooperi is the one of the most popular tree ferns, along with Dicksonia antarctica due to its rapid growth form, hardiness and aesthetic appeal.
C. australis is found along much of the east coast of Australia, extending right down into Tasmania. It prefers moist mountain areas and can grow on dryer slopes then most other tree ferns.
C. cooperi is naturally found in tropical lowlands, along the coast of Queensland and New South Wales.
These two species cannot be propagated vegetatively (unlike some other tree-ferns) as they do not produce offsets from the trunk or roots. Propagation from spores must therefore be employed; for detail of these steps please see this page:

Maintenance: Tree-ferns grow best in high humidity and high soil moisture conditions. It is therefore important to use good-quality mulches and to top them up regularly as this will not only keep the soil moist but also provide nutrients to the shallow root system. Tree-ferns usually respond well to organic fertilizers and well-rotted animal manures, C. cooperi especially as it tends to display particularly vigorous growth.

Text by Ali Heydon (Botanical Intern 2003)
Jones, D.L. 1987, Encyclopaedia of Ferns, Lothian, Melbourne.
Jones, D.L. Clemesha, S.C. 1980, Australian Ferns and Fern Allies, Reed, Wellington.
Harvey, R. Fagg, M. Growing ferns from spores, Australian National Botanic Gardens leaflet published online at: 18 July, 2002.
Ian Barclay, Cold Hardy Tree Ferns, Published Online at: updated: December 8th, 2002.

Soft Tree-fern
Dicksonia antarctica
Habitat: Gullies of tall, moist forests
Season: All year
Aboriginal People used the soft, starchy pith from the top part (0.5m) of the stem. They split the stem, scooped out the pith and ate it raw or roasted in ashes.
The Tasmanians preferred the Rough Tree-fern, Cyathea australis, because it tasted better than the smooth Tree-fern. The smooth Tree-fern is the one which is usually grown in home gardens.

A simply, lovely daylily; Ash Rose.

The interesting fluffy flowers of Jaboticaba growing and flowering all over the tree.

If you would like to read more about Jaboticaba please go to my post
July is the middle of Winter 2.July 08.

Believe it or not:
In the country of the blind the one-eyed man is king:

Erasmus c.1469 - 1536

Organic tip of the week: PEPPERMINT

Peppermint tea hot or cold is delightful to drink. Use Peppermint in Asian soups, coleslaw or other salads; it helps the digestion and is super tasty!

Peppermint (Mentha × piperita) is a hybrid mint, a cross between watermint (Mentha aquatica) and spearmint (Mentha spicata). The plant is indigenous in Europe and now widespread in cultivation throughout all regions of the world. It is found wild occasionally with its parent species.
It was first described by Linnaeus from specimens collected in England; he treated it as a
species, but it is now universally agreed to be a hybrid.
It typically occurs in moist habitats, including streamsides and drainage ditches. It is usually
sterile, producing no seeds and reproducing only vegetatively, spreading by its rhizomes.
Peppermint is sometimes regarded as 'the world's oldest medicine', with archaeological evidence placing its use at least as far back as ten thousand years ago
Peppermint, like many spices and herbs, is believed to have medicinal properties when consumed. It is said that it helps against upset stomachs, inhibits the growth of certain
bacteria, and can help soothe and relax muscles when inhaled or applied to the skin. Other health benefits are attributed to the high manganese, vitamin C and vitamin A content; as well as trace amounts of various other nutrients such as fibre, iron, calcium, folate, potassium, tryptophan, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, riboflavin, and copper.
Peppermint flowers are large nectar producers and
honey bees as well as other nectar harvesting organisms forage them heavily. A mild, pleasant varietal honey can be produced if there is a sufficient area of plants.
Peppermint generally thrives in shade and expands quickly by underground rhizomes. If you choose to grow peppermint, it is advisable to plant it in a container, otherwise it can rapidly take over a whole garden. It needs a good water supply, and is ideal for planting in part-sun to shade areas.
The leaves and flowering tops are the usable portion of the plant. They are collected as soon as the flowers begin to open and then are carefully dried. The wild form of the plant is less suitable for this purpose, with cultivated plants having been selected for more and better oil content. Seeds sold at stores labelled peppermint generally will not germinate into true peppermint, but into a particularly poor-scented spearmint plant. The true peppermint might rarely produce seeds, but only by fertilisation from a spearmint plant, and contribute only their own spearmint genes.

Have a nice Day!

Copyright: T.S. 2008
Photos T.S.


Webradio said...

Bonjour Tatiana !
On voit que Tu aimes la nature !
Tes photos sont jolies, et merci pour ces rappels de sciences naturelles.
Passe une bonne journée Toi aussi !
Tatiana Hello !
We see that you love nature !
Your pictures are beautiful, and thank you for these reminders of the natural sciences.
Have a good day too !

Hort Log said...

Thanks for the info on peppermint -now I know its a hybrid. It is used as a wrap for a roadside Thai salad with pungent shrimp (?) paste and it taste delightful.

Barbara said...

Die eigenen Bananen reifen bei dir. Das ist ja toll! Hier im Nachbardorf ist die Bananenreiferei für unser Land...eine richtige kleine Fabrik! Baumfarne faszinieren mich...vielleicht gerade deshalb weil wir solche nicht haben (können). Und nach Pfefferminzsorten bin ich ganz verrückt. Sie stehen in Töpfen, da sich wuchern. Aber wir lieben sie ebenfalls im Tee, in verschiedenen Gerichten, African dishes und Salat. Petersilie friere ich immer ein, habe es noch nie mit Trocknen ausprobiert. Den Dörrex benutze ich hauptsächlich für Früchte und ein paar Gemüsesorten, aber da im Moment meine Gemüsegärtchen sehr wenig bringt, essen wir das Geerntete frisch...
Herzliche Grüsse und einen schönen Sonntag,

Maria said...

Hallo Titania!
Interesting to see that spring in Australia is so much different from Spring in Austria! Havrvesting bananas!!!
I also love Pfefferminze and we often use is for meditterr-asian or african food :) Chewing gum and teas!
Have a nice Sunday - here the weather is not too good, either, but our carneval afternoon is over now!
"Mediterrasian" seems to be a new word which I saw some time ago which should characterize the cooking style of a restaurant in Vienna.

Roses and stuff said...

How I envy you...growing your own bananas...i can just imagine how sweetly they taste!

ingrid said...

Hallo Titania,
jede Woche genieße ich deine wunderbaren Naturbilder vom anderen Ende der Welt. Aber die Pfefferminze habe ich auch in meinem Garten;
gestern erst musste ich sie wiedereinmal beschneiden, da sie sich sehr ausbreitet.
Viele Grüße

Titania said...

webradio; thank you for your visit. Have a nice week.

hort log; thank your for stopping by; I am not so sure about the "pungent shrimp paste" I think I pass!

Liebe Barbara; danke fuer den lieben Besuch. Ich habe nicht gewusst, dass es in der Schweiz eine Bananenreiferei gibt! Ich
trockne allerhand fuer Kraeuter
mische mit Meersalz; dieses Salz brauche ich fuer Suppen, Salate etc. Somit brauche ich nie Aromat und andere enhancer. Es ist auch immer ein willkommenes Mitbringsel. Ciao bis bald. T.

Liebe Maria; danke fuers vorbei schauen. Es werden doch immer wieder neue Woerter erfunden.Aber mediterasian habe ich bis jetzt noch nicht gehoert; es wird wohl nicht lange dauern bis es auch hier auftaucht; wie Australian fusion cooking.LG T.

Katarina; yes, there is no comparison. The homegrown Bananas stay longer on the "tree" and are not ripened in gas. That makes a big difference. Apples don't taste good here, because they are also kept in gas to regulate the ripening process. It is awful!

Liebe Ingrid. Ich danke dir fuer deinen Kommentar. Ja, Pfefferminze breitet sich aus wie "wildfire"! Ich muss diese in Toepfen pflanzen. Have a nice week. LG T.

Maria said...

Ja, Australian fusion cooking sounds funny. I also laughed when I read Mediterrasian cooking...
On the other hand, the world is getting more and more connected...
I think hat's great!
Simply knowing how pleople live and sharing - worldwide!
Thank you for stopping by!

MedaM said...

This is another wonderful; informative post full of fantastic photos of various flowers. Some of those I’ve never seen in private like are tree-fern, and fluffy flowers.

Julie said...

Good information on the banana: never read so much about this common fruit is one go before. This is the only fruit my father continues to eat and up until about 2 years ago he would eat a wide range of fruit and about 6 or 7 pieces each day. But his taste buds have gone and he cannot handle the crispness of an apple.

Rowena said...

Sigh..bananas. I really haven't had a perfectly sweet banana since I left the islands. The ones in Italy are okay, but I know that a lot of 'carbon footprints' were involved in shipping them over from South America.

I love your drying rack! Yay solar power!! But who is the cutie in the bottom corner of the last image. I've never seen him/her before!

Titania said...

Thank you Maria; knowing about other people, their food, their customs is very interesting as you say, make us also more tolerant.

Thank you medam for your kind comment.

Julie thank you for stopping by. Bananas are great fruits; I have never met anyone who has not liked them. It is good that your father at least can enjoy bananas; as you said he really loved to eat fruits.
As fruits are also such an important part of our diet.

Rowena, thank you; Here the bananas bought at the shops have deteriorated. The ripening in the gas makes them nearly tasteless (or am I spoilt?
They are also handled very careless as they have always bruises.
The cutie is Billy; he shares our home since 1 1/2 Years.

Sunita said...

Hi Trudi! That drying contraption looks really interesting. It would be perfect to dry raw mango and ripe mango leather without waiting to drive away raiding crows. What is it resting on? Does it have legs like a table?

easygardener said...

I love the fluffy Jaboticaba flowers. They look fascinating growing straight off the bark. Not quite real.
Hope your tomatoes are successful this time around. I've just picked the last of mine.

Marie said...

I would really like to taste those bananas :)

HappyMouffetard said...

Amazing. There's me wondering if my first tomatoes will ripen before the frosts, and there's you ripening bananas!

The tree fern fronds are gorgeous.

Pia K said...

Wow, imagine to be able to grow your own bananas, that seems so very exotic to us up here in the cold north!

To be honest I'm no fan of bananas, love the flavour hate the consistency. I never eat it "as it is", but it goes rather well in food and with cereal.

Interesting post, as usual.

Scintilla said...

Found your blog through Rowena's. Love it!
We have bananas at Positano in Italy. This year, last year's bananas matured that were left still on the tree. I've seen them in the shops in Luxembourg, they're called 'Frecinette' and are 6.95 euros a kilo. Delicious.

Titania said...

Hi Sunita, thank you for your comment. No the dryer has not got legs, it rests against a bench and a small chair to get an angle. But I guess you can use anything to rest it on, chairs or tables etc.

Thank you for your comments;
Pia; it is interesting that you don't like bananas!
scintilla thank you for your visit.
Those Bananas are very expensive; that is more than 12.00 A$! At
a time we paid over 10.00 A$ that was when a cyclone hit the area of Innisfail and destroyed all the Banana plantations.

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