Banana Trees

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Banana Trees

Postby chris oak » March 28th, 2021, 9:05 pm

Well my dogs did a great job of killing off about three of my smaller palm trees. They dug around the roots until the palms fell, these were a smaller variety not the gigantic type you see around streets. I decided to try to grow some bananas and read up a bit. Paul Romanowski was nice enough to give me one of his goldfinger bananas in a pot and I'm trying to decide where to plant it.

From what I'm reading, they like a lot of sun, almost 80 to 100 percent but they also can take up a fair bit of real estate. Pauls were in maybe 6 foot rings and I was surprised how big even the smaller species were. I plan on picking up a couple of dwarf cavendish bananas as well to take the place of the other palms. Those of you in so cal, I found out cal state pomona has a agriculture farm where the students grow all kinds of fruits/veggies and they sell banana trees in the spring.

I'll keep you guys posted and will post some pix as well, from what I've read bananas can even be kept in large pots. I also did not know that bananas only fruit once until Paul told me, you basically cut them back after that and the daughter tree underneath takes its place.
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Re: Banana Trees

Postby gringo sushi » March 29th, 2021, 8:13 am

Thats awesome Chris!

Funny, I just went through much of the same learning you describe... recently got a baby Brazilian Dwarf banana in a pot that I'll be planting soon. If I can get it to grow well I plan on trying some of the other varieties that do well in so cal.
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Re: Banana Trees

Postby chris oak » March 29th, 2021, 9:57 am

Edit: I found a place that has a lot of dwarf species and they were cheap, like 10$/plant with flat rate shipping. I ordered 3 dwarfs:
floridahillnursery.com

Todd I came across two great sites that have a billion varities, both are in florida but shipping is like 10$ per entire order!

https://www.greenhousebusiness.com/bananaplants.html
https://www.bananatreesforsale.com/

I called up cal state pomona this am and they don't know if they are going to get any in and said to call back end of april, thats what home depot said as well. I called some of the local nurseries and they will be getting them in about the same time. I'm probably going to wait a week and order 3 plants from one of the online places. Because of the size of available yard, I'm probably only going with musa dwarf cavendish and super dwarf cavendish. Both are supposed to be more managable sized plants with good eating fruit.

I'm clearing out my backyard now, lots of weird native shrubs showing up and they grow FAST, one of the trees is already over 8' this year.
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Re: Banana Trees

Postby Behslayer » March 29th, 2021, 3:36 pm

I've got heaps of Bananas. Literally harvest @ 50-100# every two weeks. Takes a while for them to get to fruit, but here in Hawaii is always warm and once an initial Mother plant fruits, the keiki from that plant are much closer to fruiting. I have 6 different varieties. If you are looking for a very small plant, the Mucu Accuminata (Dwarf Fingerling Banana) is one of my favorites. Whatever you get make sure they are Dwarfs. So much easier to harvest and deal with. Some Dwarfs are still big like 15' tall leaves. The Dwarf Fingerling and Dwarf Cavendish I have are very small. The Cuban Reds are interesting and Delicious. They are a dark red banana until they truly ripen and then they are pink. We sure do eat a lot of Banana Ice Cream over here. So easy to make.

Let the Fruits Ripen until very sugary. Not Brown, but truly ripe. Peel and cut into smaller pieces. Freeze.
Need Vitamixer.
Put in a few table spoons of Vanilla Extract. A cup or so of Soy Milk. Frozen bananas. Blend smooth.
This is your base. At this point it is Vanilla/Banana Flavored. But you can add:
Cherries/Choclate
Peanut Butter/Nutella
Strawberries
Mango
etc...

and have this flavor. Best if eaten immediately. Can freeze and save too.

I'll try take some pics later.
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Re: Banana Trees

Postby Behslayer » March 29th, 2021, 5:17 pm

Few pics from the Garden. These are all Dwarf Bananas. But as you see there is very different heights of "Dwarf" Bananas. The Dwarf Cavendish and the Dwarf Fingerlings are tiny. The bunch of bananas almost ripe on the Dwarf Fingerlings (Mucu Accuminata) is literally only 4-5' off the ground at the Top of the bunch. The Leaves may reach 8'. The Dwarf Apple, Dwarf Vietnamese, Dwarf Silk, Dwarf Cuban Reds all have leaves towering over an 8' wall. But non Dwarf Bananas can be extremely tall. Each of these groves was started with one stalk. Now each mother stalk has produced about 8 kids and those kids produce kids.. After harvesting I let a plant stand for a few weeks to let any nutrients settle back into the soil and then I cut it down low and return it to the ground around the plants. I select which Keiki (kids) I want to keep and either dig out or cut down the rest so that it's not out of control. I'll give away keiki to friends, or plant them on the other end of the property. Here we get Banana viruses, so it's good to spread out your crop incase one particular grove succumbs you will still have more. I dig out the area before planting and remove rocks. The main reason is that I know I'm going to be moving the Keiki around so I don't want them rooting around a big rock.. Put your bananas somewhere that will not block out the sun for the rest of your garden. Bananas are inherently a little messy as I always return all cut leaves and stalks to the ground, so it's not a bad thing to put them in the corner. They are going to take up space. You can control their movement as a group by cutting or moving the Keiki which will spring up around the parent.
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Re: Banana Trees

Postby Behslayer » March 29th, 2021, 5:24 pm

Few other pics from garden today.

Bunch of citrus coming in. Limes, Tangelos, Oranges, Lemons, Grapefruits, Pommelos, that stripey one is a varigated Kalimansi, Lychees love it here, Soursops look like Dino Eggs.. Papayas grow on their own, coffee is fruiting. Growing flowers too. Have many kinds of Gardenias and Jasmines, also another one you can flavor tea with Osmanthum, which is a very unique and incredible smell.
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Re: Banana Trees

Postby chris oak » March 29th, 2021, 7:28 pm

wow jon that's awesome. Would you say the dwarf fingerling is your favorite tasting out of the dwarf varieties?

The goldfinger I got from paul is going to get fairly large so I gave it the largest spot in my yard and just fenced it off so my dogs can't get to it. The florida farms should be getting their other dwarfs ready and I'll probably order three more in a week or two, they are small 10" plants so I'll have to pot them and keep them away from the animals until they get 3' when I can transplant them, hopefully within the year.
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Re: Banana Trees

Postby Behslayer » March 29th, 2021, 11:02 pm

Hi Chris,

All my plants are Dwarf, but the really tiny ones are what I'm guessing what you are talking about. The Cavendish Dwarf I have is probably the Super Dwarf because it's very small. Those haven't fruited yet. It's tough to beat the standard Apple Bananas. The Dwarf Apple Banana are the ones in the photos next to that trellis of Passion Fruit. So the leaves are about 15'high. The Apple Bananas are kind of a perfect all around banana. They grow a Big Harvest. I think the last one was @ #80. compared to the Dwarf Fingerlings which are @30-40#. The Cuban Reds and Vietnamese Banana both fruit heavy @ 100# of bananas. Those Dwarf Fingerlings are tasty. They taste a little like a Cavendish which is like a Store bought banana. But they were sweeter. Apple Bananas have a very different taste from Cavendish. The Vietnamese bananas I have last for a Long time and their flavor gets sweeter as they age once picked. They start off very thick skinned but over time becomes very thin. I think I had some of those bananas staying very nicely ripe in the garage for 2-3 weeks.

Sugarcane grows very quick. That Red Sugarcane infront of some of the bananas is super tasty. I plan to get a Sugarcane juicer. I think those canes got huge in @ 6 months after planting, so you could put them in ground now in Ca. there's many varieties. Super easy to grow sugarcane just cut off pieces and put in ground. Probably some good ones for you. Papaya grows super quick too. In Indonesia we grew Big papayas Bali Gold and Thai Red, 5-8# fruits. Here I grow the Strawberry and Honey Gold papayas. Small, like the size of a large grapefruit or small melon, but they are Very delicious. One tree produces enough for me and my neighbors. Those grow and fruit quickly. It would be a help if you could get them already started and transplant. I bet you could grow a lot of things there if you could cut them back a bit and bring them inside for the Winter. Like a Passion Fruit vine might be a good candidate.
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Re: Banana Trees

Postby chris oak » April 1st, 2021, 5:19 pm

Thanks for the info Jon, I looked around but no one had any dwarf apple banana trees in stock so I just ordered 3 diff dwarf species from FL. When I read up, it looked like there were some in HI but none of the fl dealers had them, I'll have to add that one to the list in case the other three don't do well.

My wife isn't too keen on having banana trees in the backyard and wanted the minature palms we had before. I told her she can choose the next plants but since I do ALL the gardening and weeding, that I wanted to try these first. I'm excited to try growing the bananas, it seems they can grow to fruit in a year and my kid likes seeing the fruits and veggies grow.
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Re: Banana Trees

Postby Behslayer » April 2nd, 2021, 10:37 am

Sounds familiar.. my wife definitely does not share my passion for Gardening, though she always refers to "her" plants when Instagrammering.

Other ones that are Quick to Fruit and I believe do well in colder climates are Figs and Mulberries. My Mulberry tree grows so fast. But luckily, it's branches will hold an arch from "Limb Bending" so I take the branches and bend them just to the point of almost cracking them and hold it for a little while, and then they will retain this Curve, the result is a Drooping plant which is not so tall and easier to pick fruit from. Some people do this by tying rocks onto the branches and letting it happen over time, but with the Mulberry, I can do it very quickly and it will hold form. Figs grow very quickly and after the season in Cold places, you cut the entire plant back to it's main branches and cover it with some blankets (atleast that was what we did back in RI).
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Re: Banana Trees

Postby Behslayer » April 3rd, 2021, 1:15 pm

Morning "Go check on the plants" report came back with a yellow Apple banana sighting, several ripe papayas and lilikoi were also spotted. My helper is looking forward to making coins once these berries turn into cherries.
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Re: Banana Trees

Postby chris oak » April 3rd, 2021, 2:43 pm

Man I wish we had room for a mulberry, mango or papaya tree. I was looking at those too. I think my banana trees will be coming in on monday or tuesday, I'm pretty excited even though I will have to grow them up a bit before transplanting.
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Re: Banana Trees

Postby Behslayer » April 4th, 2021, 9:30 pm

Chris, Papayas are more like Plants than trees. I didn't plant any of the ones I have going. They just popped up. You should have room for Papaya. It's a quick grower. I figure if you could find some started already, you would have fruit before Fall. They keep growing taller. I try to keep some in succession so that when one gets too tall, I cut it down and I have another which is already fruiting. Maybe someone around there has experience with Papaya in Ca? This one plant has yielded literally hundreds of pounds of Strawberry Papayas and it's still going very strong and still isn't too tall. Just now I need a ladder. But that's already been fruiting like this for 6 months or more. Mango and Mulberry are different beasts, but Papayas are temporary tree/plants. I might have a plant for one year, maybe 1.5 years.
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Re: Banana Trees

Postby chris oak » April 5th, 2021, 8:12 am

Thanks Jon, I'm definitely going to try to get a papaya tree going. The florida nursery has a dwarf species as well that only gets 7' tall but they are out of all papaya trees right now. I'll order a couple in the summer and that will give me time to start figuring out a spot in the backyard.
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Re: Banana Trees

Postby Behslayer » April 5th, 2021, 11:46 am

Papayas are not picky and don't get Prime Real Estate. It's not something I actually plant. The birds plant them for me. They spring up all over. If I see one that looks promising, sometimes I'll transplant it to a place I wasn't going to grow anything else in. Like they can grow under a wall or out of a crack in the driveway type thing.. I'm not sure what Zone you are in (Planting Zone) but you could probably learn a lot by google searching "Growing Papaya in Zone ?"
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Re: Banana Trees

Postby chris oak » April 5th, 2021, 2:40 pm

You sold me Jon, I live in 10a. I read up and papayas should do well in my area so I spent all day pulling reeds and trimming down palms. I've got two spots in my backyard that should work well so I'll probably order two dwarf papayas. I still want to transplant some of the bananas if my trees hopefully do well because I have a lot of wasted space with an elevated brick planter.
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Re: Banana Trees

Postby Behslayer » April 5th, 2021, 11:32 pm

You'll get a lot more enjoyment out of those Papayas than you will reeds or Palms. What about other melons? Those must grow well there. These trellises are easy and super effective. I just build mine into the ground without the support wires. very sturdy. Hollis and Nancy got it going on! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pnad7ta20E Over here, the inspector announced the spotting of a Dwarf Fingerling Banana turned yellow. So, we harvested.
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Re: Banana Trees

Postby chris oak » April 6th, 2021, 11:02 am

Turns out that one of the local agriculture schools has all kinds of papayas in stock so I ordered 4! I'll probably pick them up tomorrow. Papaya Bella,
Papaya Red Lady, Papaya Solo Sunrise , Papaya Hawaiian Solo Sunset. They are all smaller varieties that are in pots that I'll transplant when they get a little bigger. I can't wait, my banana tree saplings should be coming in today as well.
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Re: Banana Trees

Postby Behslayer » April 6th, 2021, 10:43 pm

The Oak Family Homestead is growing. One good thing about growing Bananas and Papayas is.. Banana/Papaya Smoothies. Well a funny thing happened when my little helper went on today's property walk.. Some coffee beans were reported red, and yup... you guessed it.. some Yellow bananas were spotted. I think you are beginning to get the picture. But this one was a Fatso. I'd say 80-100#. Those are all Big Apple Bananas. Also harvested a shitload of Turmeric, like 20#.. That stuff is amazing. Put in one little fingertip sized rhizome and few months later it's a Monster.
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Re: Banana Trees

Postby Behslayer » April 6th, 2021, 10:54 pm

Few things I do which I think make a difference if you are preparing places.
-I dig out all the rocks. I dig deep. and then I take my Metal Bar and loosen up everything deeper.
-I bury fish carcasses.
-I have these 10 gallon "Pool Chemical" buckets which seal up super nice. I keep one under the Sink. ALL of our kitchen scraps except actual meat goes in there. Coffee rinds, etc.. This quickly turns into about 50# of scraps every few days. that gets poured into a standard Black Plastic Garbage can with 3/4" Holes drilled through it all over. Bucket of slop. Bucket or two of woodchips. repeat. repeat. Full. Let sit in sun a few weeks stir once or twice. Done. That. Goes into the holes I prepare for the plants.
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Re: Banana Trees

Postby dam » April 7th, 2021, 9:16 am

Damn, Jon just came into this thread and slapped his long dong on the table in front of everybody. :bowrofl: I'm so envious!
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Re: Banana Trees

Postby chris oak » April 7th, 2021, 2:14 pm

dam wrote:Damn, Jon just came into this thread and slapped his long dong on the table in front of everybody. :bowrofl: I'm so envious!


Way to make this thread weird Dam you freak!

All my plants are in, usps was a full 2 days late and the box was crushed but the plants looked okay. My order for 4 diff dwarf papayas were filled too so I picked them up. All were repotted to what the growers recommended which was mostly steer manure/soil mix for the bananas and potting soil/peat moss/soil for the papaya.

Jon do you do avacados out in HI too? I've got a small reed at my house that I just planted last summer. I give it fish emulsion which I'll also give to my new plants in a few days. I bury fish carcasses regularly and between that and adding a shiton of mulch the soil has improved quite a bit.
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Re: Banana Trees

Postby Behslayer » April 7th, 2021, 11:35 pm

Had a scare for a second there and thought I'd possibly uploaded something exposing more than my fruits.

I do have 5 different kind of avocados planted. I tried to offset the fruiting seasons and stick with trees I will hopefully be able to control sizewise. I've been learning a lot about Limb bending. There are a lot of varieties here. Often someone will give me some avocados and it will be a variety I've never tried. I have Malama, Wurtz, Kahulu, Sharwil, and Haas. My neighbor has Ohata, they are big. Basically living here we literally always have Avocados on the table. Always. My trees haven't started fruiting yet, but there's literally avocados growing everywhere.
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Re: Banana Trees

Postby Behslayer » April 8th, 2021, 3:23 pm

PS. If possible I'd like my rank to be switched from "Sea Sniper" to "Long Dong"
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Re: Banana Trees

Postby Andrew » April 13th, 2021, 11:07 am

Chris - if you don't mind sharing, what is the name of the Florida nursery that sent you your trees? We're on the 9a / 9b border and I've had trouble finding the more cold tolerant avocado varieties to put in the yard locally.
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Re: Banana Trees

Postby chris oak » April 13th, 2021, 3:14 pm

Andrew wrote:Chris - if you don't mind sharing, what is the name of the Florida nursery that sent you your trees? We're on the 9a / 9b border and I've had trouble finding the more cold tolerant avocado varieties to put in the yard locally.


Andrew it was from https://floridahillnursery.com/

They don't have avocado trees though. There is a group on facebook that you can join called "Southern California Backyard Avocado Growers", they are an immense wealth of knowledge of where to acquire different species. The home depot by my house brings in about 10 different varieties and if you talk to the manager at your store he can probably order whatever you want.
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Re: Banana Trees

Postby Andrew » April 15th, 2021, 9:21 am

chris oak wrote:
Andrew wrote:Chris - if you don't mind sharing, what is the name of the Florida nursery that sent you your trees? We're on the 9a / 9b border and I've had trouble finding the more cold tolerant avocado varieties to put in the yard locally.


Andrew it was from https://floridahillnursery.com/

They don't have avocado trees though. There is a group on facebook that you can join called "Southern California Backyard Avocado Growers", they are an immense wealth of knowledge of where to acquire different species. The home depot by my house brings in about 10 different varieties and if you talk to the manager at your store he can probably order whatever you want.



Thanks for that tip, Chris. I'm disappointed that they don't have avocados to ship, but the blackberries and figs are tempting. $9 for a new plant? Sign me up! I'll check out that Facebook group. I've been hemming and hawing about planting avocados for a few years now and reminded myself that the best time to plant a tree is last year.
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Re: Banana Trees

Postby chris oak » April 15th, 2021, 12:13 pm

Andrew wrote:but the blackberries and figs are tempting. $9 for a new plant? Sign me up! I'll check out that Facebook group. I've been hemming and hawing about planting avocados for a few years now and reminded myself that the best time to plant a tree is last year.


Yah isn't that crazy? Thats why I bought so many banana plants. I just cleared out some water hungry reed plants in the backyard (two full trashcans full even stomped them down to make more room in the can) and I'm thinking of sneaking in a couple more banana plants since they grow fairly fast, just gotta sneak them by the wife.

Check with your local colleges too and see if they have a working farm for their students. A couple of the ones down here did and I got my papaya plants really cheap too, in fact most nurseries in FL weren't carrying small papaya plants either.
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Re: Banana Trees

Postby Bill McIntyre » April 15th, 2021, 12:32 pm

You know the spearfishing sucks when the most active thread on the forum is about banana trees. :)
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Re: Banana Trees

Postby chris oak » April 15th, 2021, 9:11 pm

Bill McIntyre wrote:You know the spearfishing sucks when the most active thread on the forum is about banana trees. :)


My life is pretty sad, I'm home watching the newborn and have been fixing up all the broken stuff. So far this week I replumbed another toilet flange, pulled all the reeds/weeds out of my backyard and planted the bananas, rebuilt the diaphragms on my sprinklers and rewired them and replumbed the broken ones, and today am working on tearing out a new front door and installing a prehung one. Unfortunately the previous door had all these weird modifications so I had to tear out some of the drywall and the overhead support because the new door is slightly bigger. Next week I have to do some body work on my wifes car where she got hit by some massive piece of metal that got kicked up on the freeway.

I can't wait to go back to work so I can take a break from fixing shidt at home.

Good times although from what I'm hearing it hasn't been very good yet...
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Re: Banana Trees

Postby Bill McIntyre » April 16th, 2021, 7:21 am

Now you’re just making me fill inadequate. About the only thing in that list that I have the skills to do is the weeding and my bad back wouldn’t let me do much of that.
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Re: Banana Trees

Postby Andrew » April 16th, 2021, 5:01 pm

chris oak wrote:
Bill McIntyre wrote:You know the spearfishing sucks when the most active thread on the forum is about banana trees. :)


My life is pretty sad, I'm home watching the newborn and have been fixing up all the broken stuff. So far this week I replumbed another toilet flange, pulled all the reeds/weeds out of my backyard and planted the bananas, rebuilt the diaphragms on my sprinklers and rewired them and replumbed the broken ones, and today am working on tearing out a new front door and installing a prehung one. Unfortunately the previous door had all these weird modifications so I had to tear out some of the drywall and the overhead support because the new door is slightly bigger. Next week I have to do some body work on my wifes car where she got hit by some massive piece of metal that got kicked up on the freeway.

I can't wait to go back to work so I can take a break from fixing shidt at home.

Good times although from what I'm hearing it hasn't been very good yet...


Didn't realize you had a newborn, Chris. Congratulations (belatedly)! I've got three under six, so as far as diving is concerned, my life is pretty sad, too (hence avocado trees, tomato tying, and general household work). :rofl: I feel like I've got line of sight on roping the oldest one into the diving life, so there's light at the end of the tunnel.
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Re: Banana Trees

Postby Behslayer » April 17th, 2021, 11:32 pm

Yes. Gardening is something you can do while watching the kids. It's also important for the kids to atleast have an idea of where their food comes from. Not every kid is going to enjoy weeding, etc., but it's pretty surprising how many kids have had no exposure to growing food.

Chris one thing I been getting into lately is Propagating. Taking cuttings from the different things I see all around me, and also Air Layering friends particularly good fruit trees. I don't have 100% success with the cuttings, but pretty good odds when I cut a bunch of something and then propagate it either just in water or in some good seed starting soil. Like I'll take my kids to swim practice and then walk around the area with some scissors and a wet towel and take cuttings off nice Gardenias or Jasmines, or Croton, Ti Leaves, etc.. I don't see myself buying many plants from here on. Some fruits grow a little like weeds too. Yesterday I saw a big White Guava tree and it had about 50 shoots coming off the roots. so I cut a few of those and I'm trying them in water. That kind of stuff. My yard looks a little like a nursery.

Air LAyering is very cool. Not sure if you've seen that, for example on that same guava tree I scraped off the bark on a nice branch around the diameter. I wrapped it in Sphagnum Peat Moss and wet it down with water and then wrapped it up in plastic wrap. I'll come back to it in 6 weeks and it should have developed roots into the Peat Moss. then I'll cut the branch off behind the Roots and plant this into soil. This is a tree.. It will produce Fruits almost immediately.

Since you have young kids, those Trellis Arches are super cool for kids to see stuff growing on. You could run Sugar Snap Peas now, then co plant cucumbers and beans, then co plant pumpkins on that thing just in the next few months. Super easy to make. 16' x 5' Cattle Panel is $27 at Home depot. Get 4 T Stakes. done.
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Re: Banana Trees

Postby chris oak » April 18th, 2021, 1:20 pm

Yah I'm definitely going to get into grafting soon, maybe as the plants grow. Today I was out checking the new bananas and two are growing well and two were wilting. I was thinking they weren't getting enough light and then noticed that I had planted them in some of my wifes "self watering" pots, those are the ones with the plastic cup on the bottom so it hardly drains! I drilled them out and bunch of water came out, likely I was going to get root rot. I put them in a sunny spot to recover. That's cool that you get to try so many different things on your property, I sure wish I had more room for that.

I just ordered a loquat seedling today, me and my kid pulled a bunch of the other reeds in the front of the house so I might plant it there. My new goal is to only plant things that produce stuff.

I'm thinking of ordering blueberry plants too, the place in florida has some and they should make nice bushes for the side of the house. They also have a thornless raspberry so maybe I'll order some of those as well.
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Re: Banana Trees

Postby Behslayer » April 18th, 2021, 11:00 pm

Blueberries are good if you have space. You need to have a few bushes to make it worthwhile. Raspberries are a different beast. They are not a Bush, rather a vine. You'll want to trellis them on a String or fence. One bush every few feet and then trellis up the vines so it becomes a long fence of Raspberries.
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Re: Banana Trees

Postby Andrew » April 19th, 2021, 2:41 pm

Blueberries are good. I find that once they've set fruit for the season you need to net them or you'll be feeding the birds at least 1/2 of the ripe crop unless you've got so many in the ground that it doesn't really matter (i.e. the crop loss relative to what you'll ultimately consume). I've noticed that the local farm which does a pick-your-own on boysens, blackberries, etc. has reasonable success using reflective streamers to deter birds, but they've also got several acres under cultivation, so it's a different calculus. I feel the same way about the cherry trees.

I have a Blenheim apricot that is finally coming into its own this year. I'm jazzed for fresh apricots. We had a "preview" year last year with moderate fruiting but the tree is doing well and has set a pile of fruit already. My job will be to keep the squirrels and deer away from it.
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Re: Banana Trees

Postby Behslayer » April 23rd, 2021, 12:12 am

This is a typical harvest from one papaya tree every two days. These are Delicious. They grew wild, I didn't plant them.
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