MY PINEAP­PLE HEART­BREAK

NZ Gardener - - LETTERS -

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

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