Introduction: How to Grow Pineapples
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Pineapples are wonderful fruit. Not only are they delicious, but they are also very easy to grow. All you really need to start growing your own pineapple farm is a pineapple and some dirt (and a pot if you live in a colder climate).
Step 1: Obtain a Pineapple...
Go to wherever you like buying fruit from, whether it be a supermarket, farmers market, or from a guy selling fruit on the side of the road. Buy a nice looking pineapple. Make sure it's nice and ripe. Take the fruit home, and move on to the next step...
Step 2: Cut and Eat...
Take your pineapple home with you. Rinse the fruit off, then place it on it's side on a cutting board. Take a knife and cut off the leafy top part of the pineapple, along with an inch or two of the pineapple's meat. Set this aside while you proceed to eat the rest of the pineapple
Step 3: Figure Out Where to Plant Pineapple...
Your leftover pineapple top from the previous step is all you need to grow a pineapple. A pineapple is a fruit, so therefore it can produce seeds, but from what I understand seeds are rare in domesticated pineapples. I've personally never gotten any seeds in any of my store bought or home grown pineapples. Because of the lack of an overflowing supply of seeds, using the cutting from the top of an eaten pineapple is the ideal way to go.
For the planting itself, I have found that putting the pineapple top directly into the ground works best. There are other techniques to planting pineapples, such as trimming all of the remaining fruit away leaving just the base of the leaves, then letting the top dry out for a few days, then putting the pineapple top in a glass of water until roots start growing, then finally planting the pineapple top into the ground. I have experimented with these extra steps and haven't had too much luck. Trimming all of the fruit away just seems to kill the pineapple plant, even before it is planted. Root sprouting in water resulted in some very moldy pineapple plants, which ended up no surviving. So with all of these extra steps that you could try, sticking the pineapple top directly into the ground seems to work best.
If you live in a warmer climate, you can plant your pineapple directly into the ground. Where I live, there is an occasional frost each winter, but that's about the worst of the cold weather. My pineapple plants handle that just fine. If your winter weather is any worse than the occasional freeze, plant your pineapple in a pot where you can take it inside.
When you pick out a spot (or pot) for your pineapple, make sure it has room. The plants grow to about five feet across and get spiny leaves, so take that into consideration when deciding where you plant your pineapple.
Step 4: Plant Your Pineapple
Once you have decided where to plant your pineapple, dig a hole in the dirt. The hole only needs to be deep enough to cover the fruit still attached to the pineapple's leaves. Place the pineapple in the hole, and cover with dirt, leaving the pineapple leaves exposed above ground.
If you're planting in a pot rather than the ground, the same applies with the only difference being that your dirt is contained within the pots walls.
Step 5: Water and Forget...
Once your pineapple is in the dirt, water the plant.
If you are growing your pineapple in the ground, you can basically forget about it for a while. Pineapples are very much maintenance free plants. After the initial plantings, I never go out of my way to purposely water my pineapple plants. It can't hurt if you do water your pineapple plants more often than when it rains, but the plants definitely won't die if you forget to water them every few days. My plants have lived several years with this let-them-be attitude and are now on the third season of the plants producing fruit.
If you are growing your pineapple in a pot where you bring the plant inside during colder weather, I would definitely water the pineapple more often.
Step 6: Wait...
Pineapple plants grow slowly. After about a year, you will definitely notice the growth in your plants. It took somewhere between 2-3 years for my plants to start producing fruit.
The fruit will start forming in the center of the pineapple plant. It starts out looking like a large bright red and yellow flower. The flower eventually transforms into the normal looking pineapple fruit that everyone is familiar with.
While you're waiting for the plant to produce a fruit, be on the lookout for animals living among the pineapple leaves. It seems tree frogs seem to enjoy resting among the plants...
Step 7: Harvest
Let your pineapples get ripe on the plant. They taste better that way, rather than the store bought pineapples that get ripe on the shelves. When the outside skin of the pineapple starts changing from brown to yellow, go outside with a saw and cut through the stalk supporting the pineapple. In this process of waiting for the opportune moment to pick your pineapple, be careful of the neighborhood squirrels. They also enjoy nice ripe pineapples, so if you don't beat them too it, you may go outside one morning and find your pineapple half devoured.
Take the pineapple inside and enjoy eating your home grown fruit. Enjoy it, and save the top so when you're finished you can make your pineapple plants multiply...
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