On green bananas and how to avoid regrets

It’s a guessing game to decide what fruit to set out for our B&B guests. Apples? Not many people indulge in apples these days. Grapes and cherries? They’re usually appreciated. Bananas? Ugh. Bananas bring out the fussiness in humans. If a brown speck appears on the otherwise flawless, yellow peel, the banana sulks in the fruit bowl, ignored and dejected, as it becomes more speckled by the minute.

So the other day I asked our B&B guests from Minnesota if they liked bananas. “Yes!” they replied in chorus. “But I had a friend,” one added, “that didn’t like green bananas. He was an older guy who said he didn’t have time for them. ‘I might die before they ripen,’ he said.”

banana, green, regrets, garden

That got me thinking about why we hesitate to do things. We avoid a complicated recipe or balk at learning how to read music (that’s me!) because we think it takes too much time. “Summer’s almost over,” an acquaintance told me yesterday. “So why bother planting more lettuce?”

To do nothing is the easy way out. Dad always said, “If you don’t ask or don’t try, the answer’s always ‘no.’” And if you don’t at least try, you’ll end up with regrets at the end of your life. More on that later…

I used this “why bother?” theme in one of my weekly garden columns. True, our summers on Kodiak Island’s temperate rain forest come and go in a blink, but I tell readers that you never know when the snow’s gonna fly so why not keep growing to the end? Gardening–like many endeavors–doesn’t require a lot of time, effort, or money if you make a focused effort. Rain or shine, there’s always something you can accomplish. So in my column I offered 10 tips for things to do on sunny days and 10 for cloudy days. I followed with 10 things to do every day to avoid those regrets I mentioned earlier…

THINGS TO DO ON SUNNY DAYS
When the sun is out, so are we. But some garden are best left for cooler weather. Below are a few excuses to play in the sunny garden. (Substitute tasks for your climate):

  1. Sow a salad: The best time to get seeds in the ground is when the soil is relatively dry, but right before it rains.
  2. Mow the lawn: Set your mower at its highest setting.
  3. Water new transplants or big plants drooping from heat exhaustion.
  4. Dead-head flowers to encourage more blooms.
  5. Pick berries (see #7 in next list).
  6. Increase ventilation in greenhouses and hoophouses.
  7. Go on aphid patrol: Carry a bottle of neem oil spray. Inspect tips of plants and under leaves.
  8. After mowing the lawn, make compost with the clippings by mixing them with leaves, kelp, kitchen scraps, and old manure. Moisten if needed.
  9. Dig up dandelions and other weeds in your lawn.
  10. Pour a glass of iced tea, grab a book, and put your feet up.

THINGS TO DO ON CLOUDY DAYS
Overcast and rainy days provide special windows of opportunities for getting things done in the garden that plants appreciate more than on sunny days.

  1. Transplant seedlings and move perennials.
  2. Pull weeds: When the soil is moist it’s easier to get the whole plant, root and all. And when weeding around small seedlings or root crops, working in moist soil doesn’t disturb the roots as much. See #3.
  3. Thin carrots, beets and other root crops. Sprinkle with water when done to help them “settle in.”
  4. Rinse out used plastic trays and seedling containers.
  5. Fertilize the lawn, organically!
  6. Turn on the music and catch up on housework.
  7. Make jam.
  8. Go on slug patrol: Pick slugs, bait slugs, whatever it takes. A friend in Anchorage trapped hundreds of slugs overnight with a solution of soy sauce, oil and water. If you see a leaf a whole plant perforated with slug holes, leave it alone (at least for the time being) and treat it like a sacrificial plant.
  9.  Tend to indoor plants, who are often ignored during the summer.
  10. Take photographs of your garden. Not just flowers and dew drops, but bees, leaves, kids playing.

Sigh. We tend to go about our days as if we’ll live forever. But we’ve only got today. At the end of our journey on this planet, the last thing you want to possess is a bunch of regrets. Please understand, I’m not trying to finish on a depressing note. Rather I want to encourage you to follow your dreams now to avoid regrets later.

THINGS TO DO EVERY DAY

  1. Do more for “you”
  2. Don’t work so hard.
  3. Don’t hold back your thoughts and feelings.
  4. Stay in touch with friends and family.
  5. Be happy.
  6. Care less what other people think.
  7. Be a warrior, not a worrier.
  8. Take better care of yourself.
  9. Be grateful.
  10. Live in the moment.

Finally, buy green bananas.

banana, green, regrets, garden

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6 Responses to On green bananas and how to avoid regrets

  1. Daryle in VT says:

    One fall chore. Roll the cucumber tower indoors. Top with LED grow light. Continue on as if nothing has changed. Fresh cukes and fresh lettuce all winter … it’s not that bad.

  2. Roberta says:

    Thank you for your lists!

  3. Melissa says:

    Love this article! Great lists! I am grateful for all my blessings. Call bananas with brown spots inside “Grandma bananas”. She would cut out the brown flesh and give me the banana to eat 💗. I still do this. My aunt’s trick for banana bread is after it has cooled a bit to wrap it twice in plastic wrap (you could use parchment). The warm bread moistens the dry edges.

    • marionowen says:

      Grandma bananas… wonderful! I like the banana bread trick, though I’ve found that over the decades the flavor of bananas has diminished as new varieties come on the market to replace ones that have succumbed to disease/pests.

      • Melissa says:

        Once my store had apple bananas, really nice. There are so many fruits we don’t get to try in the US due to shipping situations. But, still I remember getting an orange in my Christmas stocking being a “big thing”. So no complaints here.

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