Tag Archives: gardening

I don’t know how this happened.

Remember my post from 2 weeks ago? The one with the pineapple update? The update where I said we probably had at least 4-6 weeks until harvest? Well, we went to Austin last weekend to visit the kids and came home to this:

Pineapple Harvest 6

I don’t know how this happened. They went from firm, mostly green and this:

Pineapple Close-Up - Aug2013

to completely, thoroughly golden-yellow ripe in 4 days. FOUR DAYS!

Side by Side Comparison - 4 days

I can only attribute it to:
A.) four days of intense Houston heat, followed by
B.) a good solid day of rain during drought conditions, and
C.) my lack of experience growing pineapples (even with 15+ plants)

We had no choice but to harvest them before they got too ripe, which was disappointing because we really had hoped the kids would be here to participate. Instead, The Complete Package & I cut them down. No kids; no celebration.

Pineapple Harvest 1

Pineapple Harvest 2

Here’s a peek behind the curtain at how we’ve accumulated so many pineapple plants over the past few years. Each plant, while it’s fruiting, puts off several shoots (ratoons) that can be removed and replanted to form new plants. Each of our four fruiting plants put off at least 2 to 3 ratoons.

Pineapple Harvest 3

Pineapple Harvest 4

I’m no math whiz, but if each pineapple plant produces 3 ratoons PLUS a pineapple fruit, that means you now potentially have FOUR (4) additional future pineapple plants, because you can replant the ratoons and replant the top off the pineapple fruit. We started six years ago with the top of a pineapple plant we’d bought at the grocery store. We now have over 15 plants because we keep re-potting the ratoons & pineapple tops. I joke about our mini-plantation, but it’s actually kind of true. They’re taking over our back porch. Two years ago, we harvested one lonely but gorgeous pineapple. This year, we got this:

Pineapple Harvest 5

Which brings me to our new little gadget I just have to show off. My friend Kirsten of Comfortably Domestic (my sister from another mister) and her four boys were so excited about our pending pineapple harvest, they sent us the new OXO ratcheting pineapple corer & slicer. Oh, baby!

Pineapple Harvest 2013- Ready to Cut

To use it, lop the top off your pineapple, leaving about 3/4″ so you can replant it later and become a semi-obsessed mini-plantation pineapple farmer like me.

Pineapple Harvest 2013- Lop off the top

We set the pineapples into a mixing bowl to capture any juice so I could make marmalade (always thinking ahead), then TCP set about coring those golden puppies. The OXO pineapple corer tore right through each pineapple in seconds.
It was amazing to watch and surprisingly fun to use.

Pineapple Harvest 2013- OXO Pineapple Corer & Slicer

Did I mention it ratchets? You don’t have to turn the bowl or move the pineapple or anything! Just twist the handle on top and it ratchets after each cut until it reaches the bottom. Once done, you simply pull the rings right out of the shell. That’s right – I said rings!

Pineapple Harvest 2013- Rings on the Slicer

It cuts the entire pineapple into perfectly even rings. Shut up! I know!

Pineapple Harvest 2013- Perfectly Sliced Rings

We set aside one tub of rings for Jonah Bear & Lilly Bug, since they both said they’d like to recreate our pineapple upside-down cake from the 2011 harvest, and poured most of the pineapple and juice into the Dutch oven to make my first ever batch of pineapple upside-down marmalade (pineapple, brown sugar & maraschino cherries). With that, there was only one last task to conquer.

Remember that post I mentioned in the first paragraph? The one where I said we probably had a few weeks until harvest? Well, I may have mentioned in that post that I’d also like to make fruity cocktails with this batch of pineapples. And since the OXO corer/slicer did such a nice job of creating the perfect vessel, there was just one last thing to do.

Pineapple Harvest 2013- Pina Colada Fixings

You should know me well enough by now to know that I never turn down a fruity ‘pinkies up’ frou-frou girly cocktail. So here’s to you, and here’s to friends who send friends kitchen gadgets, and here’s to the great pineapple harvest of 2013.

Pineapple Harvest - Pina Colada

Oh, and just in case you’d like to join me:

Pineapple Harvest 2013  - Pina Colada Recipe

25 Comments

Filed under Family Stuff, Food & Recipes, Things I Love

Pineapple Update!

Our pineapple babies are growing nicely. I realized it’s been forever since my last update, and I thought you’d like to see how they’re doing. This year, we have four. FOUR! Well, four actual fruits. We’re currently up to eight pots and over a dozen plants. If you add in the ratoons (offshoots) that will have to be replanted soon, we’re up to 25+ potential pineapple plants. It’s practically a mini-plantation now. Watch your back, Dole. I’m coming for you.

Pineapple Collage - Aug2013

In my head I call them Eenie, Meenie, Miney & Mo. This is Mo (below).

Pineapple Close-Up - Aug2013

Judging by our last pineapple harvest in 2011, I’m guessing these are still at least 4-6 weeks from fully ripe which means late September or possibly even early October. But that’s okay, because we got another surprise this month – a new batch of bananas – and they’ll be ripe at about the same time.

Bananas - Aug2013

{sniff….sniff…} I smell daiquiris!

21 Comments

Filed under Miscellaneous Thoughts, Things I Love

Pineapple Update: Day….Heck, I forget.

Our first pineapple, along with the sprouts she spawned.


Honestly, I’ve lost track of what week this is in our “sprout to fruit” home-grown pineapple saga. All I know is that it has been a while since I’ve posted an update, and we’ve had significant changes this week. That’s right. Our baby pineapple is about to fully mature. She’s just starting to take on a yellow hue that indicates she’ll be ripening in the next few weeks. We’re so excited!

We called the kids and we’re tentatively planning a get together in mid-September to harvest our first pineapple – just in time for Lilly Bug’s second birthday. If you remember, Jonah called “dibs” on the first pineapple. He has his heart set on a pineapple upside-down cake, and he hasn’t let me forget it. That boy has the memory of an elephant.

So stay tuned, kids. In a few weeks, we may be harvesting and dissecting and baking with the grandbabies. When we do, I promise to snap photos so you can see us celebrating the life and sacrifice of our first ever pineapple. It took us six and a half years to get here, but I have a feeling it’s going to be worth the wait.

22 Comments

Filed under Miscellaneous Thoughts

Pineapple Update: Day 75

Ahhh...my baby pineapple is a young lady now!

It’s time for another pineapple update! Day 75 brought a big maintenance issue to light. As you can see from the photos below, the three shoots that sprouted from the bottom of our pineapple are really starting to crowd the fruit.

Front & back shots of new shoots crowding the fruit

Those three new shoots were getting so large the pineapple fruit had no room to grow. After consulting my favorite Hawaiian Ag site, I cut off the three shoots and replanted them. Fingers are crossed that these will indeed sprout and create new pineapple plants. That’s what the agriculture site promised, and that’s what I’m holding them to. If they root like they should, we will now have FIVE (5) baby pineapple plants. Move over, Mr. Dole…there’s a new pineapple plantation in town! Except that we have no land outside our yard, no employees, and no access to the Pacific trade winds. Oh, well. You can’t win them all!

Spike (top right) has three new siblings

16 Comments

Filed under Miscellaneous Thoughts

Baby Pineapple Update: Day 40

The Grand Dame & her Little Prince - hanging out on Day 40.

Today is Day 40 in our adventure to grow our own pineapple. So far, it’s been glorious. The biggest surprise, besides how fast she’s growing, is the rows of gorgeous purple flowers. I never expected that. In fact, I had no idea it would bloom all around the pineapple. It’s really beautiful. Here’s a close-up of the flowers so you can see them in all their glory:


And now, here’s a photo of the pineapple I got for Mother’s Day. It came from the grocery store. In fact, it is the pineapple we used to create Spike – pineapple plant #2. Notice those golden pentagon shapes on the sides of the pineapple? See those little brown pointed tags sticking out of each pentagon? That’s where the purple blooms emerged and then died back. Who would have guessed?

The store-bought pineapple that birthed Spike.

How cool is that? I had NO idea that those little shaggy brown things on the side of a pineapple used to be gorgeous purple flowers. I’ve learned so much from our pineapple plant. I really have. And because of it, I have a much greater appreciation for every pineapple I see in the grocery store, and for the people who grow them. I wonder if they name their pineapples, too?

Here’s the gratuitous 3-panel shot so you can see how she’s doing. As you can see, the shoots are bulging from the base of the pineapple fruit. I keep expecting them to pop out onto stalks any day now. They’re fascinating. Since we’re hoping to get at least one more pineapple from this plant, we’ll have to cut at least one of the shoots off once they fully emerge. According to my trusted Hawaiian Ag website, I should be able to plant the shoots to create additional plants. Then we’ll have a full-fledged pineapple farm (of 3-4 plants). Okay, it will be more like a pineapple “patch” but I’m okay with that. Overall, things are progressing beautifully. Maybe I’m just a proud pineapple mommy, but I think my baby is turning into one gorgeous little lady. “Who’s a pretty girl?”

To see them up close, click on the photo. To return, just hit your “back” arrow.

16 Comments

Filed under Miscellaneous Thoughts

Baby Pineapple Update: Day 25


Just wanted to give you a quick update on the baby pineapple’s progress. It’s Day 25, and I am blown away by how quickly she’s growing. Yes, I said she. I have decided our first baby pineapple should be classified as a female, since she has the potential to spawn 2 more pineapples after this one, as well as additional plants from the shoots that will be emerging soon. Her name, therefore, shall be La Piña Saparot, a combination of names suggested by readers Toffee Marshmallows from the United Kingdom and Patricia DeWit from Thailand. The name may be redundant, since both words mean “pineapple”, but as the mother of my future pineapple farm, she deserves a name so nice you say it twice.

Click on the photo for a close up, then hit the “back” arrow to return to the post.

This week, the stalk supporting her is growing taller, and the “buds” for future shoots are starting to bulge from the stalk. There are three of them, and according to the Hawaiian Ag Site, we will need to cut some of them away in order to promote the growth of a second pineapple fruit (known as a ratoon). The good news is that those shoots, called suckers, can be planted to create new pineapple plants. The biggest news of the week is the flowers that are starting to bloom from the base of the pineapple. A few rows of these purple/blue flowers should gradually bloom over the next 2 weeks. Once they die back, the fruit begins to flourish and eventually ripen. I can’t wait to see how she progresses!

On a separate note, we thoroughly enjoyed the pineapple I received from the kids on Mother’s Day. You know… the one I used to punk readers into thinking the baby was fully grown? Well, I made sweet & sour chicken for dinner last night with big chunks of my Mother’s Day pineapple, and it was delicious. The good news, however, is that we planted the top and started a new pineapple plant. One’s a novelty, but two’s a farm. I think I will call this one Spike.

15 Comments

Filed under Miscellaneous Thoughts

“I want my baby pineapple!”

Six years. That’s how long it has been since I lopped the top off a fresh pineapple and planted it in the ground. For six years, I’ve dreamed of eating pineapple grown with my own two hands. It’s not an impossible dream. Remember… I live in Houston, and we’re considered a sub-tropical zone. I grow bananas in my back yard. It shouldn’t be a stretch to grow a pineapple. Logistically.

I have a special relationship with my pineapple plant. I’ve nurtured and protected it for six long years. I’ve babied it. I’ve watered it. I’ve even moved it inside when temperatures dipped close to freezing and wrapped it in a warm blanket. I’ve treated my pineapple plant better than some people treat their pets (shame on them, by the way). I also talk to my pineapple plant. In the beginning, it was “Good morning, pineapple plant!” After a few years, it was “Lookin’ good!” But for the past year, it has been “I want my baby pineapple!” Someone (me, I guess) failed to tell my pineapple plant that the average wait time – from planting to producing – is about 20 months. That’s what the Ag Department for the state of Hawaii says. And when held to the Hawaiian standard, my pineapple plant is a late bloomer. A very late bloomer.

And that makes this announcement even sweeter. On Easter Sunday, The Complete Package looked down into the center of the pineapple plant and declared it “with child.” That’s right, friends. We are expecting! We kept the faith. We kept watering. We never gave up. And after 6 long years, it may finally happen. We appear to have a pineapple bloom sprouting. Check this out:

I’ll be posting occasional photos as our baby grows. If you’re a pineapple expert and this bloom is NOT a baby pineapple, please feel free to leave a comment telling me I’m an idiot. It won’t be the first time. Or even the second. But until then, I remain eternally optimistic.

25 Comments

Filed under Miscellaneous Thoughts