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Fruits of Labour Fun

Photo: Jayne with her friend Natalie from Orana Galway Accommodation with their banana harvest.

For the past five years at their Orana supported accommodation on Shierlaw Street, Jayne, Lesley, Michael, Wayne and James have been harvesting bananas in their own backyard thanks to Andrew, their Client Coach, who first planted three banana palms.

With the help their other Orana Client Coach, Helen, and other staff members they have grown their banana crops.

All housemates get together to fertilise, water and weed the garden with the support of the staff.

Teamwork is the name of the game in this backyard bonanza, where they follow health and safety protocols like holding the ladder for the staff who cut fruit from the trees. They also remove dead plants and rotten fruit to keep everything tidy. They have developed their landscaping and gardening skills over the years and now have a big banana plantation to maintain.

Previously, Orana’s Netley External Services crew would visit to assist with the gardening and mulching, but this Orana quintet wanted to become more self-sufficient and took matters into their own hands.

It has also become a social occasion for these guys, who have enjoyed the responsibilities and furthered their knowledge about the environment together.

This season yielded a particularly fruitful crop with more than 100 bananas of Goldfinger and Cavendish varieties being cut from the trees. At the end of the process, it was exciting for everyone to see the size of the fruits of their labour after observing them at shop stands in the past.

They waited for the large haul of bananas, filled with healthy nutrients, to ripen before sharing them with friends and family.

As well as being eaten in their natural form, they also slice and dice bananas before blending them, sometimes with raspberry and passionfruit, and enjoy refreshing smoothies. Using skills they developed at Orana’s Cooking with Confidence Capacity Building program, they make banana muffins and also like creating frozen sorbet too.

While they are now growing garlic, an even more fertile future is on the cusp for these green thumbs. There are plans to build a vegetable garden bed to extend their gardening repertoire to include citrus, figs and other crops which they can use to cook.

The enthusiasm of this Orana team also extends to maintaining their indoor plants as well. Lesley keeps a keen eye for detail with the in-home watering requirements and has become a great gardener.

Well done guys! Keep enjoying your healthy foods!

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