Banana Circles for Cold Climates

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by Pakanohida, Apr 26, 2013.

  1. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    Has anyone ever done one? I found a fruiting Banana that can survive frosts outside. Any suggestions out there?
     
  2. annette

    annette Junior Member

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    Hi Pak

    I'm trying to remember where I saw it, but there was a guy in Tasmania that grew them. He had them planted very near a big brick wall and said that the heat captured in the wall during winter and summer made it possible. He also had lots of other plants around it to increase the humidity around the bananas. I'm thinking a mulch pit would raise the temperature. I'll see if I can find it.

    Ok it was on gardening Australia a while back and the article below is an update. YOU CAN DO IT!

    https://www.themercury.com.au/article/2011/06/05/235491_tasmania-news.html
     
  3. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    Thank you very much for the info!!! :bow:

    I have so much fun things to plan and think about now. :)
     
  4. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    yes planting near a wall especially for you a southern facing wall, or even solid fence would help. a frost resistant fruiting banana maybe yes if it is above at least 1.7mts and no cold front comes along, over here i've seen bananas up to 3 meters high suffer from frost.

    we've planted ours high on our property and are prepared to cover them for frost, they are new plantings.

    len
     
  5. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Location:
    inland Otago, NZ
    Climate:
    Inland maritime/hot/dry/frosty
    Might want to follow up to see if that guy got his trees to fruit. I've seen fruiting banana trees in the South Island of NZ but always in hot houses. I don't know if the fruit ripen (do they need heat over a certain time?).

    I wouldn't have thought of Tasmania as a cold climate (more temperate), but Pak, does Tassie match where you live?

    Interesting project to try. I just posted something about lifting cold that runs down hills in the frost thread https://forums.permaculturenews.org...nths-a-year-and-40C-heat!&p=102629#post102629
     
  6. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    Musa intinerans var. xishuangbannaensis ‘Mekong Giant’ PPAF

    A cold hardy bannana that grows to 15' tall each year in USDA Zone 6

    Size 15–40’ tall by 4–8’ wide
    USDA hardiness Zones 6–11
    Sun / Shade Full sun.
    Soil Average garden soil.
    Moisture Average to waterlogged in southern, coastal areas.
    Disease and Pests None known.
    Landscape use Borders, urban gardens, containers, specimens.
    Market appeal / Uniqueness Mekong Giant grows much taller than other hardy bananas, reaching 15 feet in zone 6. In more southern climes, it can reach 40’ tall with trunks up to 20 inches in diameter.
    Propagation Methods Tissue culture.

    Garden Notes:

    This new selection gets its hardiness honestly, for it was selected from seedlings whose native range goes from the northern most point of the Tibetan Plateau, to southern, tropical regions along the Mekong Delta into Vietnam and Cambodia. The fruits are purple and the trunk is streaked red to purple, creating a perfect accent to the lush, deep olive green tropical foliage.

    What is really odd about where I live is not only daily wind issues from living dead center in the roaring 40's... but the mountains in Oregon make for interesting climate shifts. Where I am, right now it is 48f, climbing to roughly 75f today again. The "central valley' which is 1 hour east of me will hit the upper 80's, but once you cross the next mountain range into Eastern OR.... they are still freezing, & frosts. In fact I think I snowed there last week or earlier this month.

    Being close to the coast, and above a river valley has afforded me the ability to garden year round for food.
     
  7. keenlean&green

    keenlean&green New Member

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    I know this is an old thread, but it makes me wonder... why are we so keen to try a banana circle in cold climates? If permaculture is about cycling energy etc, it also makes sense to grow things that require as few as possible external inputs ie- why cant we grow plants appropriate to our soil and climate?! Yes, here in Melbourne we can grow a range of subtropical things, but for most of them, there is little doubt that they require more maintenance or input than cool temperate species. There are plenty of species that would offer the same benefits. Don't throw away good ideas for the sake of them, but don't be afraid to be creative, explore and adapt. As one example amongst so many ways to adapt and interpret, my grey water system first goes through to oak tree roots and mycelial network; the fungi deal with the lipids, resins, complex molecules and solids that come from the kitchen, urine, bathroom, laundry and coffee water. I get shitake and other mushrooms and excellent leaf mould and timber later, then water freely drains into a) reed beds which have more bacterial remediation capacity, and I can harvest reeds for use around the house and garden and provide habitat, then onto rest of fruit trees, and b) to provide nutrient to 'hydroponic; leafy greens c) to azolla/ duckweed pond which turns into chook feed and mulch. So many possibilities.
     
  8. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Hi keen....,
    I bought some seed for a cold tolerant banana type this year because I absolutely love bananas and if I could actually grow my own, I would be in heaven!
    Your grey water system sounds very well thought out and multi functional! Mine is nonexistent at the moment due to most of the garden being higher than the house.( and that I havent yet figured out how to make it work so its safe). So any ideas of how to del with that would be greatly appreciated
     
  9. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    Paka, what ever happened to your Mekong giant banana? Did you get it? How is it working out?

    I have been bitten by the Banana bug to try some. From the descriptions it sounds like the flavors can be magical and very different from the ones in the stores. I actually got some seeds, which are quite fussy, but what the heck, I'll give it a try!

    Mischief, did you get your seeds to germinate? How did it go?
     
  10. Bryant RedHawk

    Bryant RedHawk Junior Member

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    After reading this thread, I talked to my wife and we are going to put in at least three Mekong Giant Bananas this year or next, depends on the completion of other parts of the farm.
     
  11. dreuky

    dreuky Junior Member

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    Don't know whether I will be successful but when we move onto our new block I am going to try bananas mainly because a fresh picked banana tastes just out of this world compared with the ones picked green in Q'ld and then trucked down to me in Adelaide and ripened in some gas.
     
  12. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    there are a bazillion kinds of bananas that many of us in the colder climates will never eat because they do not travel well. so go wild folks and tell me all about it as i would love to hear about various banana varieties. : )
     
  13. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    Bryant, you saw how tall a Mekong Giant banana is? They aren't talking about giant bananas, they are talking about giant plants, 40 feet tall in the right places. They cannot be cut at the top to fit into an 8 foot greenhouse. They mean Mekong, as in Mekong Delta of Vietnam, deep jungle, hot sweaty place day and night, monsoon rainfall, does not freeze.

    This is a good forum that discusses different kinds of bananas, some are frost hardy but need protection, some are dwarf sized plants, which are happier in a greenhouse, but can have regular sized bananas.

    https://www.bananas.org/f15/mekong-giant-banana-18716.html

    The nurseries in my area say they have banana plants in the spring, (make sure they are eating bananas, not landscape plants) I don't think they mean early spring.
     
  14. dreuky

    dreuky Junior Member

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    That is one hell of a banana plant! What are the names of some dwarf bananas that can produce normal size bananas? What size plants are ladyfinger and goldfinger
     
  15. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    dreuky, here's the list I've been making for Hardy Bananas, which seems to be the term they use. From what I've been reading, the flavors of these bananas is richer and more flavorful than the one found in the grocery stores, some having a bit of strawberry or raspberry or pineapple thrown in as well. I have learned with other fruits go for flavor, not for size. After reading some of that forum that I put the link to, just getting bananas at all is tricky. But the flowers on some are just beautiful. Some also have seeds, which may add a lot of work. Some are red, some are "blue", some are cooking bananas.

    Also, what they mean by "dwarf" sometimes just means not 40 ft/12 meters, and would still be too big for my greenhouse.

    I'm sure some folks on this forum grow bananas, maybe they will give us beginners advice.



    Hardy Bananas -

    Nam Waa banana
    dwarf orinoco prolific "orito" disease resistant
    dwarf brazilian, takes longer to fruit
    goldfinger
    cardaba
    Dwarf lady finger (not full size lady finger)

    Jamaican Red Dwarf:
    Jamaican Red banana tree produces a spectacular yellow color that forms after the first frost. The Jamaican Red Banana tree is widely heralded for its superior quality fruit that is tender, moist and sweet with a custard-like texture.The red color of the Jamaican Red banana tree makes a great unique addition to your landscape
     
  16. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Dreuky,
    my Ladyfinger banana plants are about 5-7 metres tall and 400mm through at the base. The full banana bunches range from 15-35 kg. Cavendish or Williams require a permit to grow here and are about half as tall as the LF's and the bunches get up to 40 kg. The biggest jobs in maintenance are de-trashing, de-suckering and bunch de-belling and bagging. I probably do a maintenance run after every storm and about every 3 weeks otherwise. If you don't de-trash then banana grubs, weevils and beetles can build up and kill off your plants here.Bananas are gross feeders and will get all sorts of attacks if they are not fed well and looked after. It is really windy here in the late winter with temps down to 6 C and 30 knot winds, so we have them on the NE side of a 2 storey house with tree wind breaks back to 50 metres. They fill fruit quickly here in the late spring, summer and autumn. Each stem gets a wheelbarrow of sheep manure and or poultry litter three times a year. 6-8 stems and followers keep 14 people in bananas for about 8 months of the year. Each stem suckers and grows to maturity, flowers and a bunch is harvested over about an eight to ten month time span. We only let one follower sucker grow to replace the stem which is cut down and removed when the bunch is cut. Each mature stem and follower sucker is about 2 metres from the next. Trash build-up, starvation, under-watering and over crowding are the bananas enemies. My family have been growing them like this in this district for over a hundred and twenty years.
     
  17. Bryant RedHawk

    Bryant RedHawk Junior Member

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    Thanks for that info and link sweetpea. I'll be checking into which ones will work best for us. Where I plan on putting them, the height might not be a huge problem, but I would like some that I can get to easier. Wolf announced this weekend that I don't have to rush on the bananas, she has other orchard items at the top of her new list.
     
  18. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    Curramore1, thanks for nitty-gritty. I've been reading the forums, and know about the suckers and the cleanup, but you've got good details on the long-term living with the plants as heavy feeders. I never heard that a sucker can be 2 meters from the producing part of the plant, that's going to shock the pack rats in my greenhouse! They are going to faint, anyway, when something this delicious shows up! Ha! I hope tomatoes and bananas are compatible since they are going to have to coexist!

    Bryant, you know, on a 40 foot banana tree, I can just picture a bare-footed native shimmying up it with a machete to drop the bunch of bananas! Only my local fire department can handle that harvest! :)
     
  19. Bryant RedHawk

    Bryant RedHawk Junior Member

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    I have a pole saw that can be extended with separate sections, but at this point I am just trying to make a list of bananas to give a go. Those 40' Mekong are now off that list. :)
     
  20. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    I use a length of bamboo with a curved knife attached to cut the trash off, but you just fall the stem to harvest the bunch and after cutting a small scarf at the base you put a fork stick to support, cut the back cut at the base and gently lower the falling stem. When it is within reach you cut the bunch off, then chop up and remove the rest of the stem with your bush knife. The following sucker has now grown to a fair size and will bell in a couple of month and the cycle continues. It doesn't matter how tall they are, they are all fallen to cut the bunches off. The only time a ladder is needed is to cut off the bell after all the female flowers have finished and to then bag the bunches to protect them from damage by birds, bats, etc. and it provides a more humid environment when the bananas fill. I don't really think that they are suited to greenhouse growing, unless you make a very tall one.
     

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