Adam grew a giant pineapple and sent me photos:
Looks like a blue ribbon winner to me. I asked him his method and he replied:
“I started the top in a glass of water until the roots grew, then I put it in a HUGE pot (20/26gal) with my own “mel’s mix” + rock dust/worm castings. Then I watered it about twice a week. Then I waited about 20 months.”
Let’s break down what Adam did to grow this pineapple.
Pineapples can be started in water; however, I find it easier just to pop them in the ground wherever I want them to start.
You can start your own pineapple plant from the top of any store-bought pineapple. Commercial growers start pineapples from slips, which are side-shoots from the main pineapple plant.
Like a lot of things, you don’t have to do it the “right” way to have success. No matter how you grow a pineapple, if it works, you did well.
We used to have little ones growing all over the place in North Florida.
Nothing like the beautiful one Adam grew, but we didn’t work at all for them. We just stuck tops in the ground and in pots.
Let’s look at how Adam got his to grow bigger.
“Mel’s Mix,” for those of you not familiar with the term, is the mix of “perfect” growing medium recommended by Mel Bartholomew in his always popular book Square Foot Gardening.
Mel’s Mix is comprised of three things in equal parts:
2. Finished compost
3. Peat Moss
I’ve made this mix before, long ago, when I built some square foot gardens for my wife. It’s hard to get wet, but once you get it soaked, it holds water well and grows some nice vegetables.
Note that Adam also used a big pot. A big pot gives your plant plenty of room to sink its roots deep and get what it needs.
Rock Dust/Worm Castings
Rock dust is an excellent source of a wide range of trace minerals. Though the big three macronutrients plants need are Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium, when they have abundant trace elements they do better. Your growth is limited by the thing you’re missing.
By adding rock dust, you cover your bases. I use lots of seaweed for the same reason – I want those micronutrients!
As for the second ingredient – worm castings. They’re like “Ever So Much More So” from Homer Price. Even a sprinkling goes a long way.
Worm castings are like magic. They’re loaded with good microbiology as well as micronutrients. Worm castings and “worm tea” are just about the best thing you can add to your garden. They’re expensive, but they work miracles.
Eventually, I would love to set up a worm bin like this one:
I was never very good about harvesting the castings, but the tea is good stuff and takes zero work.
I’m not surprised that Adam grew this big pineapple considering what he added to the soil.
Water and Wait
Pineapples are not needy plants. They’re happy with little water and little care, but when you water them regularly and feed them on good stuff, they reward you with faster growth and bigger fruit.
I’ve had people tell me “I don’t want to bother with pineapples – they take too long! Isn’t it gonna be like, three years before I get a fruit?”
It doesn’t have to take that long, as Adam’s 20-month pineapple demonstrates, but even if it did take three years, so what? Are you going to be dead by then? Sticking pineapple tops in the ground and waiting isn’t a big deal. I’ve jammed tops in the ground all over the place. Eventually, you get pineapples all the time.
My previous landlord did that and we ended up with piles of them from plants we did nothing to maintain.
Just think ahead a little bit and you’ll be rewarded. Adam’s daughter was certainly happy her dad had some patience:
That pineapple is almost as big as she is!
Plant a pineapple top, feed it and water it, then enjoy fresh pineapple. They taste amazing right from the garden and are one of the easiest plants you can grow. Even up north, pineapples will grow in pots and produce. Start saving those tops, kids.