Woke up this morning to two more hands on the banana. You can see one of them poking out on the right above the bract. The top hand has opened up and I counted 12 fruits on every hand. Not sure how many will actually form, but that's a shiteload of bananas! It doesn't seem to be done yet, either, with a couple more bracts looking to open before it blooms.
This banana plant is a tribute to permaculture. When I first moved here in mid-July of 2015, it was 3 feet tall, planted in pure Florida sugar sand, and I was told I needed to really push it to get it to bear before frost. I fertilized it with Miracle Gro exactly twice and then just started piling on the leaves and tossing every kitchen scrap I had around it. Every time I found earthworms anywhere, I dug little holes around it and tossed them in. I planted a pigeon pea next to it for chop-and-drop and piled other green and brown material around it every chance I got.
By winter, it was up past the roofline. One pup came up, but it got stepped on and covered with leaves and died back down. I was told the main plant would probably die to the ground and come back, so I piled about 6 inches of pine bark and 3 feet of leaves up around it and prayed. We had a mild winter, and all it got was some burned leaves. The trampled and buried pup came shooting back up in the spring and another followed soon after, both beautiful swords suckers that took off growing like mad. It kept getting talller, topping out at about 12 feet. Hurricane Hermine tried her best to blow it down, and it was leaning perilously enough to have to be staked when it got a fruit stalk, but this is what I have now. I have no idea what kind of banana it is, and even though I'm hoping for Ice Cream, I'll be happy with anything.
As you can see, the pup on the left is already reaching the roofline, and will probably be the one to bear next year. I plan to take the pup closest to the house out and move it out beyond the courtyard. I'll keep updating here on the progress.
This is my first permaculture victory in this tiny space where everyone said I couldn't do permaculture. I hope this shows those of you with small spaces in urban areas that not much is impossible when you work with Mother Nature.