Ripe bananas?

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by Benjy136, Apr 2, 2014.

  1. Benjy136

    Benjy136 Junior Member

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    I live in South Carolina, US of A and have grown some impressive banana trees and they fruited last Summer. They started bearing in the middle of Summer and were not fully ripe when the first frosts came in. I also noted that there were about a dozen at the upper part of the stalk and only flowers lower down. I cut the stalk off just before the frost which would have damaged them. They never ripened where I hung them in my temperature-controlled shop. Only got yellow and brown and not very tasty. sort of woody.
    The ones that bore, of course, died, but the daughters that were left were insulated by bales of straw that I stood on end, tied around them and then covered the whole shebang with plastic (translucent). The daughters are now starting to emerge through the dead outer skins. They should get an earlier start with the fruit, but how will I know when it's time to remove the bananas?
    Or, will they ripen on the tree if the season is long enough?
    PS Last year's trees were about 6 meters tall and the bananas were about a good span long.

    Thank you,

    Benjy136
     
  2. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    They will ripen on the trees. I know when mine are ready as the birds start to eat them! If you want to keep them all to yourself by bagging them you'll need to learn how to identify they are ready by how filled out they are. I haven't mastered that yet and use the birds as my ripeness detector.

    Hopefully someone who can tell just by looking at them can tell us both!
     
  3. aroideana

    aroideana Junior Member

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    they are gross feeders so the more compost and manure you can give them the better ..
    hopefully you can get some tasty fruits this season .. fruit will usually round out and can be picked then
    try a few from top of the bunch , place in a plastic bag with an apple or another ripe banana
    this should ripen it in a few days
     
  4. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Thanks aroideana.
     
  5. Grasshopper

    Grasshopper Senior Member

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    The trick with ripe bananas is trying to eat them before they get too ripe.
    I hang a bunch from a rope outside my lounge room window and keep hacking hands off
    Frozen in smoothies and baked goods gifts to the neighbours and friends will get through them.

    I need to try banana wine if I get too much
     
  6. Benjy136

    Benjy136 Junior Member

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    Thank y'all (That means all of you in southern US of A) for your advice. Being where I am, they have a fairly short season to work with. When I am as sure as I can be here, that the last frost for this season is over and done with I'll remove the straw bales and give them a good dose of composted chook manure and straw. My sprinklers will make sure they have water. I have a two-year-old pineapple plant fruiting in our greenhouse that I'll also put out in the garden at about the same time. ECO, the Yakons are looking good. Most of the birds won't show up in force to work on my corn until the bugs and flowers start appearing a little later on. My biggest threat right now is Mr. twitchy-tail and his family. I keep threatening to use those squirrels for target practice. There are just too many Hickory trees in the immediate area.

    Thanks again,

    Benjy
     
  7. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    I believe squirrels make good compost starter too. You could put them in your banana circle to kick the growth along...
     
  8. aroideana

    aroideana Junior Member

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    I just had 2 bunches blow over . 1 Mona Lisa & a Ducasse . cut all fruit off and let bleed [sap] out on the grass .
    then packed lots into a large Esky .. they ripened up in a few days .. fruits from same bunch just in a tray are still green as .
    I had lots of near ripe Ducasse [ Sugar ] fruits in the4 esky giving of ripening gases .
    Mona Lisa were very angular and could have hung on the stalk for another month , BUT they still tasted great ... I do not understand how this works ..
    but the flavour is still the same ... you would get much more fruit if it reached maturity ..
     
  9. Benjy136

    Benjy136 Junior Member

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    Oh! I forgot to mention that the pineapple has fruited and almost as big, now, as the store-bought one I used the crown of to start it. The plant also has, what look like, future plants coming out from hiding between the "leaves?".
    Hey! The only pineapple plants I've ever seen growing were in an Elvis movie. What do I know?

    Thank you, Thank you.
    Benjy has left the building
     
  10. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    A note from Elvis to Benjy. "Hey Benjy. Twist those suckers right off like I twist my hips. Then plant them in the ground. Love them tender and they'll grow new pineapples for you."
     
  11. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    View attachment 2486 The best advise I can give you as a fourth generation banana bender is :
    1. Only have one sucker following the flowering stem and have a good 1.5 m at least between flowering stems. Cut all other suckers off a put a dollop of kero on the stump. Make sure that you only plant disease free stock to start with in the sunniest spot you can find on a gentle slope. We have them facing NE here or they will not grow properly. Your sunniest aspect will be different to ours.
    2. Regularly cut all trash and yellowing leaves off the trees and remove them away from the stems to reduce fungal and other disease spore build up. Do not allow long grass and weeds to grow under your bananas, chip off any competition and mulch regularly.
    3. Cut the bell and bottom of the stem off the bunch when the female flowers are finished and only the small flowers are arriving. The bell is good to eat Thai style and only takes nutrients which should go into filling the bananas..
    4. Bag the bunches when you trim the bell. to increase temp and humidity around the bananas and to deter bird attack.
    5. Feed the plants from before bunching leaf appears with plenty of water, potash, and rich sources of nitrogen and phosphorous. I use a large wheelbarrow barrow of sheep poo and wee from the night fold per banana stem, the ashes from the fireplace and 100grams per stem of inorganic KCl as our soil here is so deficient and I don't know of a really good, reliable source of the required K or potassium locally. Bananas need potassium to grow good fruit. Your leaves and stems readily tell you what the plant lacks. My Lady Finger stems reach heights of 7-10 metres with a girth of 30-40 cm to throw a 30 kg filled bunch in about 80 days from the end of flowering. I only allow bunches to grow from September to April here as they will not fill after mid autumn and before the spring equinox. I cut the stems down and feed to livestock over the winter.
    6. Cut the bunch when the lowest banana fruit are filled. They will start out triangular and will round out and fill from the top of the bunch to the lowest hands when ready to cut. If your fruit won't fill in time to get enough starch to ripen, then cut the bell off when there are only 3-4 hands of bananas, so there are less hands to fill.
    7. You can start to remove filled hands from the top of the bunch while on the stem if you like heights, to let the lower hands get more nutrients to fill. Also, if you cut a hand off every week, you spread out the harvest.
    8. Cut the stem right off when you harvest a bunch and remove the stem away from the stand. I feed mine split to the cows and pigs as a treat. This also lessens pest number build ups of banana weevils and the like.
    9. Ripe persimmons, Monsteras, other ripe bananas if kept in a confined space with the hands will hasten ripening once cut. The hands will ripen faster off the bunch too.
    10. Tricky growing in such a short season, do you have any extra lighting as well as a greenhouse?
     
  12. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Now that's a great tip! Thanks Curarmore.
     
  13. Benjy136

    Benjy136 Junior Member

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    After the length of time it took this one to fruit and the space it takes up in my greenhouse, I'm not sure I want to start another one. If I did, I'd have to keep it in a container in the garden so that I could move it inside before the first fall frost and then move it back outside at this time of year. Or build a "cold frame" around it in the garden. Then I'd have to set up some kind of heating system...........Too much trouble.............unless.........................I could build the enclosure partially inside a "compost pile" and keep feeding the pile all Winter, using the heat generated to keep the "cold frame" from getting below freezing..................then there would be the ants,,,Hmmmmmmmm Think I'll go to my shop and play in my woodpile until this fever blows over.

    And then there are the Yak(c)ons. The one that I put out in the garden last summer has come back and has several leaves looking very healthy. Do you have any info about good companions for these blokes?.......Oh!......Right......The shop.

    Uncle Benjy
     
  14. Benjy136

    Benjy136 Junior Member

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    Thank you Curarmore.

    When the flowers stopped turning into hands, I guess I should have cut the bell off then. The plant only had time to make about four hands last year, but it was still a novelty for this area. When the "trees" fell over I cut off the whole stem, hacked off the bell and hung the stalks in the shop. Mostly they just dried out and hadn't much taste. I ended up chopping them up and giving them to the chooks. They went wild over them. The two trees that bore and then died, I cut up with a machete and the chooks made short work of them also.

    If I cut down all but the two I'm leaving standing, where will next year's trees come from? I would think I need to start a couple for next year, as we don't have as long a growing season as is required for fruiting in their preferred habitat.
    Even though the trees go dormant during the winter and I have to cut off the tops and cover the trunks, the plant seems to remember that it is old enough to fruit when the warm weather gets here. Nice pic, by the way.
     
  15. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Hi Benjy,
    next year's stems would have to come from some potted up, saved suckers. Only take the ones with long, pointy leaf shapes, the broad leaved ones look good but will not grow as quick or bear fruit as quickly.
    Thanks for the pic compliment. This bunch weighed in at 22 kg. The Lady Finger bananas here get up to 35kg a bunch and Cavendish up to 45 kg.
    I trade or give away about a bunch like this a week at the moment. We are in for a damp, cold snap this weekend so any bunches not filled by now and not cut will probably only go static and end up with woody fruit after this weekend if the forecast weather continues.
    My Yacon grows well beside Queensland Arrowroot and a choko vine in a semi shaded damp spot. Tried some recently cooked, but like sweet potato I preferred it raw. Crunchy little sucker.
    Time to cut some firewood and shake the mothballs out of the winter woollies here.
    Enjoy your spring weather, while we enter the colder season here.
     
  16. Benjy136

    Benjy136 Junior Member

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    Thanks, Curramore1

    I guess I'll have to break off a small "daughter" and pot it in the greenhouse in a large bucket and hope it doesn't get too tall for my greenhouse this winter. The banana group was more a status symbol or novelty, anyway. I could make that plot of ground be more productive with a couple more blueberry bushes and not as much trouble as the bananas. Thank you for all the "good oil", though. I'm thinking about putting a couple of "Paw Paws" there anyway. They have a tropical look and are cold weather hardy. NOT papaya, but Paw Paw. A native American fruit.

    Have a nice day (night?)

    Benjy
     

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