ASK THE GARDENERS. Questions & Answers

Q In one of your columns, you mentioned J.L. Hudson of Redwood City, CA 94064 and Nichols Garden Nursery of Albany, OR 97321 as sources of tomatillo seeds. I have found another seed company that has tomatillo seeds, as well as lots of unusual and heirloom varieties. It is Seeds Blum, Idaho City Stage, Boise, ID 83706. Its catalog also gives instructions for planting and recipes for eating the unusual vegetables and fruits. G.B.

Sacramento, Calif.

Thank you for sending along the name of this seed company with the interesting catalog. We welcome names of seedsmen who handle unusual plants, especially the edible ones.

Q I am intrigued with the thought of growing tropical fruit in the sunroom.

I already have breadfruit (artocarpus) growing there and would like to add a banana tree that would not grow too tall. Do you know of any sources where I might obtain a dwarf banana?

P.J.

Council Bluffs, Iowa

At one time we were given a Dwarf Cavendish that was about six feet tall and bearing a bunch of creamy yellow bananas, which were quite delicious.

As soon as the bananas were harvested, the main stalk started to die down, and new growth came up from the rhizome (underground stem). The leaves were very attractive, and we anticipated another crop.

Jack Frost caught us off guard, in early autumn, before we had moved it back to its winter quarters on our sun porch. The banana is actually a large, handsome perennial herb of the genus Musa.

The indoor Citrus and Rare Fruit Society, 176 Coronado Ave., Los Altos, CA 94022, has given us these names of suppliers: Garden World, 2503 Garfield St., Laredo, TX 78043; The Banana Tree, 715 Northhampton St., Easton, PA 18042; Pacific Tree Farms, 4301 Lynwood Drive, Chula Vista, CA 92010.

Some suppliers may list as many as 15 varieties for indoor culture. Undoubtedly, there are other suppliers in other areas of the United States, since unusual fruits are becoming quite chic, both for eating and for ``plantscaping.''

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