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Our first pineapple

March 18, 2011

When we moved to Queensland, I had never thought about how pineapples grow. I figured they grew on trees but I didn’t know they were kind of a tree in themselves. Should I be embarrassed about that? Kind of like kids who think bottles of milk grow on trees I guess! Then, when John Palmer told us we could throw our pineapple tops into the garden and they would grow into new pineapples, I didn’t really believe that it would happen. I would half-heartedly throw our pineapple tops into the garden just to get rid of them – too bulky and spiky for the compost bin, ditto the rubbish – may as well add to the jungle that is our garden and forget about them, maybe they’ll break down eventually.

The other day, John Palmer (affectionately referred to as our garden angel), popped in to knock the seed heads off a few noxious weeds, say hi to the kids (which usually means teach them about an edible weed in the garden and then sing them a song), praise the parts of the garden that are growing really well, and be on his merry way. But this time, there was a surprise: “Your first pineapple is ready” What?? He showed me where it had grown completely unbeknown to me. It had already fallen off its perch. In case you didn’t know (and I certainly didn’t!!), the new pineapple grows on TOP of the old pineapple top. What a strange and fascinating fruit. And you know what? I swear it was the best pineapple I have tasted in my life – no joke. John says you need 100 pineapple plants in your garden to be able to eat them regularly when they are in season. Yum yum. I will be religiously putting pineapple tops in the garden from now on.

Update: one important point I forgot to mention is that pineapples grown from old pineapple tops take 2 and 1/2 to 3 years to grow!! So don’t be expecting pineapples to come popping out of your old tops in a hurry. It really is a matter of throw it into the garden and forget about it. Even more awe-inspiring and something to savour slowly and enjooooyyyy. Slow Food at its best I say.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. Julia permalink
    March 18, 2011 11:05 pm

    oh my goodness – I can taste it by just looking at the photos!!!

  2. Dee permalink
    March 19, 2011 7:53 am

    Congratulations !
    I used to grow them & they were the best pineapples ever!

  3. March 19, 2011 8:52 am

    Great post! Last year, I stuck a pineapple top in the veggie patch just for the hell of it. By the end of the growing season, it hadn’t done anything and I assumed I was doing something “wrong” so I turfed it. It seems I should have stepped back and let mother nature do her thing… I’ll be chucking a few pines in the bushes from now on!

  4. March 19, 2011 9:21 am

    we’ve been “planting” pineapples for a few years now and yes they take years to grow! but they are divine. some of the delicious pineapples that we’ve had from the farmers markets are often sold without their tops so they can’t be propogated. we have been planting them amongst the plants to try to deter the possums from eating everything. enjoy your slow food!

  5. Rebecca permalink
    March 20, 2011 2:07 pm


  6. christina houen permalink
    March 23, 2011 8:47 am

    it looks delicious! I saw it in the garden a few weeks ago, when it was still green. What a fertile climate we live in. I’ve tried to grow pineapples from tops in WA, but it is too dry and the soil too poor for them to grow over there.

  7. September 3, 2011 12:41 pm

    My Dad was a pineapple farmer (retired now) when I was growing up. Pineapples loves spewy soil and yes growing from tops takes time, but there is also another way. you will notice after a while that your pineapple plant has thrown suckers from the bottom. Break these off and replant them, they will fruit much faster. so you get the tops off your fruit and also the suckers from your plant so in a few years you have a lot more than you started with. Also it is ideal to grow pineapples and pawpaw in 2 areas then when you resow your pineapples put them in the old pawpaw bed and vice verse. The reason being that the pineapple loves the soil the pawpaw leaves and the pawpaw loves the soil the pineapple leaves. They are real good alternate crops and this also keeps the mealy bugs and nasty’s from building up which really wreck pineapples.
    Happy growing.

    • September 4, 2011 7:42 am

      Wow, that’s interesting information – thanks very much Anne!

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