MY PINEAPPLE HEARTBREAK
Kate Marshall’s article on growing tropical fruit in the February issue prompted me to record my own experiences growing pineapples. When I lived up North, I grew my own plants from the cut-off tops. I also grew red pineapples. Then I moved to Tasman several years ago, bringing with me just the one yellow pineapple plant, which I planted in our small glasshouse. I got one fruit from it and later on its pups, but I ran out of space and (regrettably) sold them.
Last spring, I discovered that you can grow pineapple plants from seed, so I bought a fruit and set about harvesting the seeds. I found 10 and placed them onto several layers of wet tissues, at the bottom of a clear plastic pottle, making several small air holes in the top first. After eight to nine weeks, three seeds sprouted. But I forgot to keep the tissue paper wet, so two died. The survivor was transplanted into a 150ml yoghurt pottle and, with the warmer summer temperatures, grew to 30mm across. It sat on a shelf in the glasshouse. During the night I even covered it with a glass jar to keep it a bit warmer. But it’s the last month of winter now and my pineapple seedling has just died from the cold! Errol Hooker, TASMAN