Guest blog by Ja’Daiza Johnson, Commons Leader in Residence
This year the Greenhouse appears much more tropical than usual. The 20 banana trees that now live on the Mezzanine balcony are the reason! The trees are all different shapes and sizes, ranging from babies just sprouting through the soil up to those that are over six feet tall which take three to four people to carry. These plants require plenty of warmth (which is in short supply outdoors these days) and attention. The temperature cannot drop below 50 degrees for an extended period of time and they need plenty of water to thrive. An interesting method we use to keep the banana trees happily hydrated is using party tray tops. The tree pots all sit down in a plastic party tray top which acts as a water reservoir, allowing the plants to have more fresh water for an extended period of time. The trees belong to Martin Pedraza who works with the Marketview Heights Collective Action Project to grow trees and donate them to people in the community to add uniqueness and beauty to the Rochester area. He is well versed and knowledgeable about banana trees and has been growing them for quite some time. He approached Chris Hartman and the Commons team to see if we might give his plants safe harbor during the winter. We are excited to have the trees living with us for the next few months, and hope to see them flower.