Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pineapple Propagation

After a long summer and a lot of planning " A Garden on the Bay" Garden project will soon break ground! Deering Bay Yacht and Country Club has teamed up with Temple Beth Am's 4th graders to plant an garden. The garden will be ready for planting in mid-November. As we continue to creatively try to enhance the Deering Bay Dining room experience, we hope to raise the bar and provide a unique dining experience for our members by growing our own vegetables, herbs and edible flowers that will be incorporated into our evening dining room specials.  The garden vegetables will include: Fennel, Cherry Tomatoes, Golden Beets, Escarole, Bok Choy, Arugula, French Breakfast Radishes, and Carrots. We'll also feature 5 types of herbs and 4 different kinds of edible flowers.

The "Garden on the Bay" project includes my personal favorite activity: the propagation of pineapples. Pineapple propagation is a neat aspect to this project because it combines history, growing, recycling and ecology. After a lengthy web search, I discovered that the pineapple industry flourished in South Florida and the Upper Keys and even on land now considered part of Deering Bay.  Its very possible that your South Florida home was once a field of pineapples, avocado or mango trees. Our next door neighbor, the US Department of Agriculture's Subtropical Horticulture Research Station was even part of the early avocado, mango and pineapple introductions in the 1910s. One article describes a 200+ acre plantation in the Little River area of Miami-Dade as well as large farms in Plantation Key, Del Ray and Key Biscayne.  The land boom and the railroad economy forced the pineapple industry overseas, most notably to Hawaii and the Philippines. Today, growers ship or fly tons of pineapples to the United States and truck them across the country.  This creates an obscene carbon footprint. Two years ago, I began recycling pineapple tops from the Deering Bay kitchen and growing them on my farm with good results.  This November we will include pineapples in our "A Garden on the Bay" project using those very recycled tops.

If you'd like to propagate your very own pineapples from the local grocery store, just follow these step-by-step illustrations:

Step 1.  Remove top, the fresher the top the quicker it will root. Even if the top seems to be rotten, don't give up,  leave it in the  potting soil  you need  patience  to grow pineapple

Step 2. Using a premium potting soil  and a 1 gallon pot

Step 3.  Keep the soil moist. Give it full sun or filtered  exposure. my plants that get shade from an oak tree seem to grow better than full sun plants

In around 4 to 5 months it should be ready to plant.  Space them 12-18 inches apart, I always cultivate the soil well adding peat, compost and fertilizer , pineapple leaves are sharp and scratch the skin when weeding . So mulch  heavy and often

The plant should flower in the  late February and give you  mid June crop. They also flower sometimes in August and give you a December crop

Pineapple tops can take 30 months to grow, patience is a virtue

I use lot of mulch to conserve water and weed control

The valuable " sucker and slips" near the base of the pineapple will give you fruit in 12-18 months, start them in potting soil

The fruit ripens from  bottom to top, be careful  in some cases ants will  come up from below and eat holes in the fruit ..when it turns a golden color its ready to pick!

Grown in South Florida!


  1. Tim, Tess: This is terrific! How did it taste? On a side note, Pineapples were also grown commercially in the area around Boca Raton. It was huge. I know that some Japanese growers were brought in to help. Tim, is this the way that Pineapples are propagated commercially?

  2. The taste of a 'just picked' sugar sweet, sun warmed, ripe, golden pineapple is heavenly. Planting, growing & harvesting your own garden is delicious, healthy and personally rewarding. You learn to appreciate nature's beauty, bounty and challenges.