Banana (Musa, various species)

The humble banana is no great beauty, but can be a pleasant enough component of the garden if you trim off yellow leaves and keep it well watered. Bananas are hardy and require little maintenance.

I have the luxury of gardening for a hobby, but if I were dependent on fruit for income or sustenance, the banana would be higher on this list. Bananas can tolerate lengthy periods of drought, laugh in the face of flood and heavy rain, are nutrient dense, and a familiar taste world-wide.

For best results you should cut banana plants back to the ground after harvesting, otherwise fruit yield will be low or cease altogether. You will have constant growth of suckers growing around that accelerate to replace anything you cut down. Return you banana skins to your compost along with your morning coffee grounds to replenish the potassium and other nutrients consumed from the soil.

Besides the fruit, banana trees are valued throughout the world for their leaves (used to wrap food for steaming and/or to wrap food for sale at markets). The inner part of the trunk is also used as a cooking ingredient in some regional cuisines.

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