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Traditional Plantain Planting Method


[The first step to plant plantains is to extract the suckers from around the main plant.]

The first step to plant plantains is to extract the suckers from around the main plant.


[Here we see three suckers waiting to be planted.]

Here we see three suckers waiting to be planted.


[We need to cut the top part of the sucker, so that it doesn't have any leaves left.]

We need to cut the top part of the sucker, so that it doesn't have any leaves left.


[We also need to take out the old and broken roots from the sucker. Here we see the hole, which should be around a foot in depth.]

We also need to take out the old and broken roots from the sucker. Here we see the hole, which should be around a foot in depth.


[After planting the sucker, we need to fill the hole with soil.]

After planting the sucker, we need to fill the hole with soil.


[The sucker must be in a straight position. After a few days it will begin to grow new leaves.]

The sucker must be in a straight position. After a few days it will begin to grow new leaves.


By:

Marino Jaén Espinosa
2013-09-09

A plantain is a type of fruit very similar to a banana. However, plantains need to be cooked before people can eat it. This fruit originally comes from Africa and South and Southeastern Asia, but was introduced to the Americas during colonial times, probably together with the first African slaves.

The plant where plantains grow looks like a palm tree, with a single, though not woody, shoot and the leaves sprouting from the top. The main plant sprouts suckers around it. When planting plantains, instead of using seeds, we need to use these suckers.

The first step of the planting process is to extract a sucker and then cut its leaves and the old and broken roots. Then, we need to place the sucker in a hole measuring about one foot of depth. Then, the hole is covered in soil.

After a few days, the shoot sprouts new leaves. Nine or twelve months later, the plant produces a cluster of several dozen plantains. When harvesting this cluster, we need to cut down the main plant, so that the surrounding suckers have a chance to grow and produce fruits themselves.

In future articles, we will describe how plantains are used to prepare several traditional Panamanian dishes.


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