I did it! I got my banana trees in the ground! Yes, yes, I know I said they'd be going in my yet to be built garden bed, but time and weather were not on my side, and, as it happens, another opportunity presented itself.
This is the side of my house that faces the main road. We extended the fence a couple years after we moved in so that it wrapped around the side of the shop and garage. I keep my compost bin in the corner on the other side of the fence and you can see my bamboo peaking over the top in the far back corner.
We used to keep the garbage and recycle bins in that dirt patch next to the house, but after a day of working outside and considering the aspect from the road, my husband suggested we keep them out of sight on the other side of the fence and landscape this little street-side corner to improve curb appeal. (The random hole in the wall the exhaust for the dryer.) We decided to plant the banana trees at an angle four feet of the fence so that the riding lawnmower could easily fit between the trees and fence. I'll be getting my cocoplums *hopefully* tomorrow and planting a hedge of them in that patch of dirt and in the back yard around the patio.
I think the banana trees will be quite happy here. This side of the house faces south and the fence faces east so the trees have a nice warm spot to grow while enjoying a bit of late afternoon shade from the fence. I plan on keeping the bananas to a very neat small stand, maybe just the mother trees and a pup tree each. I'll transplant the extra pups to my garden and maybe my zone 11 microclimate depending on how many pups there are.
My husband likes the look of grass growing straight up to the trunks of trees, and I like the look of a large landscaped bed. Since the bananas need lots of water and fertilizer and mulching, we compromised, and I dug out this little bed one day and planted the trees the next.
I removed all the grass and double dug the hole. I set aside half the excavated dirt and put in thick layer of nitrogen rich green manure using all the chopped bean plants. I laid the rest of the dirt in and then set the bananas in their spots. I filled in the rest of the bed with composted cow manure that my first batch of beans had been grown in along the back of the shop (should have a nice amount of nitrogen from the beans). I used a thick layer of grass clippings on top as mulch and have been pouring my leftover coffee and grounds around the trees to add some acidity to the soil. I'm also water in the trees daily for the first little while. Our soil is so sandy that it drains well and I'm not concerned about overwatering.
I just love the burgundy accents in the leaves and the lush tropical feel of the trees. As these and the cocoplums hedge mature, it should really dress up this corner of the house.