The fast-growing Veinte Cohol
It’s summer and time to thank an apprentice pharmacist from Latrobe, Pa. It was in the early 1920s when apprentice pharmacist David Evans Strickler split a banana, added three different flavored scoops of ice cream, put it all in a boat-shaped dish and gave our summers the first banana split.
This summer you can grow your own bananas wherever you live, thanks to a very fastgrowing variety developed especially for short-season areas.
The Veinte Cohol banana is a dessert banana with short, plump fruits that are just three to four inches long. They are pointed at both ends and chubby in the middle. The plant grows six to eight feet tall in a single season for a real show-stopping accent to your garden, or in a large tub on the patio or deck.
It is no surprise that bananas like sunshine, so choose a sunny spot out of the way of the wind. Keep them well watered, but let the soil surface dry out slightly between waterings. Never let the plant go without water or it will suffer severe drought stress. When you do water, always water until the water drains out of the bottom of the pot.
Since bananas are such fast growers they need lots of fertilizer. Use a good liquid organic fertilizer every week.
Prune off any dead or yellow leaves. After the main shoot has flowered and fruited, you can cut it out and just keep the new shoots at the base of the plant. These will grow into new banana plants. You can even divide the small shoots and pot them in separate pots to increase your banana plantation.
Luckily, bananas are not usually bothered by insects, but you may get some spider mites during really hot, dry weather. They often hide on the undersides of the leaves. Spray them off with a solution of three tablespoons of mild dishwashing soap per gallon of water.
With luck and care your Veinte Cohol banana will give you up to 35 pounds of bananas. Like all bananas, they are high in dietary fiber and a good source of potassium, manganese, vitamin B6 and vitamin C. The high level of natural vitamin B6 not only helps your body produce hemoglobin, it also aids the immune system. The banana’s natural manganese is a good antioxidant that helps regulate blood sugar levels.
If you can’t find Veinte Cohol banana locally, try Going Bananas, 305-247-0397, or online at www.going-bananas.com) or Logees, 888-330-8038 or online at www.logees.com).
Grow your own Veinte Cohol banana and enjoy endless banana splits. In gardening circles, you won’t just be one of the bunch, you’ll be top banana.