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FloridaGardener's Blog
Jul 11

Written by: host
7/11/2010 5:20 PM

I ordered 2 banana plants last week and they finally arrived on Friday. Yesterday I planted them and this is how I did it...

First, I walked off a distance from the house to where I wanted to plant them and marked the spot. I will be planting Musa - Banana Ice Cream (Blue Java), which grows 10-15 ft tall and Musa - Banana Hua Moa, which also grows to 10-15 ft tall. I do not want the plants to rub against the house when they mature and reach their full size so I gave them plenty of room. Bananas grow from rhizomes, so in time they will grow to fill in the space between, but I will probably have a few years before I need to be very concerned about where they are spreading to.

I marked the hole size that I wanted to dig, I just cut the turf a few inches from my center stick. I then lifted the turf and shook the soil from it. I dug and lifted out the soil to a depth of about 1 foot deeper than the root ball is long, then I tested the fit. The hole is wider and deeper than the root ball. Perfect!

Mark where you will put your plant (click to enlarge).Lift out the turf (click to enlarge).Turf removed from planting spot (click to enlarge).Check planting depth (click to enlarge).

While I had my “dug-out” soil in a pile on the ground I took a moment to look at it. You can tell a lot about your soil by just looking at it. The patch of soil circled in red is white which indicates a lack of humus which is essential for plant growth. The gray soil, circled in gray, contains some humic content. Humus is circled in green (little balls of soil composed of very high humic material). Composted cow manure is humus. Banana plants prefer a soil high in humus, but well draining. So a soil mix of half sand and half composted cow manure is excellent for bananas. That is what I used to back-fill my hole for my banana plants.

You can learn alot by just looking at your soil (click to enlarge).Mix the composted cow manure and sand to a 50/50 ratio for  back-fill (click to enlarge).Back filled (click to enlarge).

 

I had some soil left over from digging the hole. I used this soil to build a dike around my plants. A dike is helpful to corral water around the plants if it should rain, but even if watering your bananas with a hose the dike helps to keep the water from running away from your plant and allows it to percolate down to your plants’ roots where it is the most needed.

 Finnally, the plants are in the ground. Notice the soil dike to help retain water (click to enlarge).

Depending on how much rain we receive in the next few weeks, I will wait to put mulch around my plants. The reason is that I can get a better idea of how much irrigation my plants need if the soil is uncovered. Once the plants become established and show obvious growth, I will add a top-dressing of Black Kow (composted cow manure – made in Ladylake, Florida) then put a layer of mulch on top of that.

Something I thought was cool when I was a kid and I just rediscovered today when I planted my bananas is what I call the “lizard tail” on the new leaves. This growth looks and feels like a lizard tail. I think that is really neat. OK, weird, but neat.


 

Today I thought it was time to harvest my onions. Here is what I pulled up (all from a bag of “pearl” onions from Publix that I planted in the late fall of last year):

Florida Onions freshly harvested (click to enlarge)

 

Happy Gardening,

FG

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