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Modesto's Backyard Banana Farmer

The Modesto man teaching neighbors to grow tropical fruit on YouTube!

MODESTO, Calif. — The smell of fresh tropical fruit is strongest in the months of September, October and November. Guavas, papayas, lychees and of course bananas all ripe for the picking. No, this isn’t a description of a Hawaiian jungle. These are tropical fruits growing in Modesto, California in Jeff Earl’s backyard.

Water, wealth, commitment and health. That is the motto in Modesto and Jim Earl is capitalizing on each one of the cities agricultural qualities. Around here Jeff Earl is known as the banana man for good reason. “I have produced 150 pounds of Bananas without even trying,” said Earl.

It may be hard to believe, but all of Earl’s fruit production takes place on his 4,000 square foot lot in North East Modesto. “Hardly any fertilizer, just a little water and that’s it! I don’t know why more people don’t grow them,” said Earl. There is actually a good reason more people don’t grow them. 

Few people have the experience and know-how that Earl has.  “Yes. 40 years of trial and error,” explained Earl.

Earl got into cultivating tropical fruit when he was 18 years old. After experimenting with hundreds of different species of fruit he found the right plants that grew in fluctuating temperatures of the central valley. 

“Nothing gets protected," said Earl. "Everything takes the winters and full sun.”

Earl is not one to keep secrets about experience growing tropical fruit. Every week on his YouTube page he shares tips on how to grow, care for and even eat tropical fruit. 

Just in case you are wondering Earl purchased all the fruit seed legally from distributors in the US. And one of the perks of living in the same neighborhood as Jeff is that he plants extra fruit in his neighbor’s yard.

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