Planting tropical crops

New crop plants for summer 2012 and beyond were planted today.  A local supermarket was the source for Pineapple (Ananas comosus), Sweet Potato (Ipomaea batatas), Ginger (Zingiber offininale) and Scotch Bonnet chilli (Capsicum annuum). It’s amazing what can be grown straight off the supermarket shelf.  Justin and David planted a range of common tropical crop species that will be grown in the propagation unit until ready for planting out in the tropical grrenhouse.

Justin and David with freshly planted cuttings and seeds in the potting shed

Justin and David with freshly planted cuttings and seeds in the potting shed

Pineapples can be grown from the shoot at the top.  Cut off the shoot where it joins the fleshy fruit, trim off the basal scales by pulling them away to reveal little bumps that will later form roots, dry off the cut end and then plant in free draining compost.  Keep damp but not wet!

Sweet Potatoes are grown simply by putting the root tuber to about 2/3 its length in free draining compost, water then leave to sprout.

Ginger is an underground stem (Rhizome) which can be planted at the surface of free draining compost and left to sprout.

Scotch bonnett chillis, just like any other Capsicum pepper, are full of seeds so if you buy a fresh one and open it up there is plenty to plant.  For these very hot chillis it is important to wear gloves and avoid transferring the hot compound (capsaicin) to your eyes or lips.


About Alastair Culham

A professional botanist and biologist with an interest in promoting biological knowledge and awareness to all.
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