Banana plants are fruiting!; Road bike update–change of heart.
As regular readers of my blog know, last year Lisa and I planted quite a few fruit trees in our back yard (lemons, oranges, bananas, key limes, papaya…) Most of the fruit has done well, but last year our entire banana fruit crop was destroyed by a January hard freeze. That really sucked, because I’d worked hard for many months to care for the plants, and the fruit was very close to harvest. I covered everything when the cold weather hit, but the freeze was too hard and too lengthy for the bananas to survive.
Of course the plants themselves survived, and I began nurturing them very early this past spring. This year I tried something new, and I increased the plants’ feeding frequency and fertilization amount significantly. Banana plants are very heavy feeders, and this season they absolutely thrived under my new feeding program.
Based on their height earlier this summer, I estimated that the plants were about 2 months ahead of where they were at the same time last year. This is important, because I knew if I could get the plants to fruit earlier than they did last year, we stood a much better chance of avoiding the cold weather.
Sure enough, the plants are fruiting more than two months earlier than they did last year! Last year the plants did not produce fruit until early December, but this year they flowered in early October. One of the flowers has already produced about 100 bananas, and they should be ready to harvest well before any chance of a freeze.
I love the tropical look of the banana plants, they really work well with the landscaping around the pond. The flowers and the fruit are also beautiful, and I really enjoy watching them develop.
It looks like I’m going to be enjoying banana smoothies, banana bread and fresh bananas with fruit picked right from our backyard. I love Florida.
Moving on to another subject: road bikes.
A few days ago I mentioned that I was very close to pulling the trigger on a Motobecane Immortal Ice from Bikes Direct. This sparked a huge discussion (to say Bikes Direct is a controversial retailer would be quite an understatement). Some excellent points were made on both “sides” of the discussion, and I’ve been mulling over many of the things said over the past few days.
In that blog I said I was “90% sure” I was going to go with the Motobecane. Some of you took that to mean I’d already made up my mind. That’s actually not true: when I say “90%”, that means I’m undecided. I’ve said over and over during this process that I have an open mind, and I meant it.
Something that kept eating at me was a question I asked myself: “Would you buy a Bikes Direct mountain bike (or frame)?” The answer to that question is no, I would not. Why? Well, I can’t really answer that question with anything other than I simply feel more confident with a “big brand” frame.
Another thing that was bothering me was something one of the LBS owners I spoke with said to me earlier this week: “Bikes Direct doesn’t support the local scene.” It’s true. Bikes Direct won’t ever sponsor a local race or event. They won’t provide food or swag on work days. The shops around here do that, and that’s worth something to me. Without that advocacy, the local mountain and road bike scene would be very different.
All of these things have swayed me in the other direction. I’m now 95% in favor of buying my road bike locally. I’ll spend a little more money than I’d planned on, but I’m going to get a great bike and help support the shops that give back to the sport I love so much.