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Old 06-13-2006, 01:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Central Florida Banana Enthusiast

Hi Everyone,

I’m a recently retired engineer who volunteers as a Master Gardener through the University of Florida extension service in Highlands County Florida. I have previously grown bananas in south Florida (Zone 10), however, my new home is listed as Zone 9 but I get some extra protection from living on the SE side of a big lake. I have been pretty picky about the cultivars I have selected to plant in my yard, choosing primarily cold hardy varieties that will withstand some wind. The following is a list of the bananas I’m presently growing:

Rajapuri
Goldfinger
Double (Mahoi)
Dwarf Brazilian
Dwarf Namwa
Misi Luki
California Gold
Super Dwarf Cavendish
Dwarf Puerto Rican Plantain

The next varieties will probably be: Red Iholene and Praying Hands

I initially planted the first 4 bananas in a dedicated mulched bed, however, since then I have tried to interplant the rest of them in the landscape, I think I like that better.

I recently made a pilgrimage down to Homestead, Fl to visit the Going Bananas nursery (Don & Katie Chafin). What terrific people they are. I spent the better part of an afternoon there getting a tour of their property and talking about banana culture, what a treat. You might spend a few more dollars for their bananas, but if you have any questions about growing them you can be assured you are going to get the best most accurate information available.

I spend a great deal of time researching banana culture (probably too much, but hey I’m retired), I plan on putting together a banana workshop/clinic in the future for local residents to encourage them to try growing bananas. My favorite information resources are the Australians; I think they are the best source of information on growing bananas in a sub tropical environment. Checkout this Australian government link: http://www2.dpi.qld.gov.au/thematiclists/1079.html, scroll down and you’ll find some good information for the homeowner, the info on fertilizing and sucker management is real good stuff.

Hey folks send me a private message or an email if you ever want to chat about bananas.

Regards…Don

Last edited by CaptDonI : 06-24-2006 at 12:06 PM.
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Old 06-13-2006, 04:05 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Central Florida Banana Enthusiast

Well alright! Another Floridian!!

Welcome to the board, it's great to have you here.
Nice photos in your Gallery!
Make yourself at home.
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Old 06-13-2006, 04:07 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Central Florida Banana Enthusiast

wow what a useful resource you shared with us

A Guide to the new banana leaf spot regulations
The guide to the new banana leaf spot regulations.
Agrilink Tropical banana kit (DPI&F Shop)
Agrilink information kits If youíve ever had trouble locating practical, up-to-date information on any aspect of growing a successful crop, then Agrilink has the answers in one easy-to-follow updateable information kit.
Banana & Queensland fruit flies in bananas
Banana fruit fly occurs in coastal areas north of Townsville. Adult female fruit flies lay their eggs in the fruit and the maggots develop as the fruit matures destroying the flesh.
Banana aphid in bananas
Banana aphid is a minor and frequent pest in northern Queensland where bunchy top does not occur. A more serious pest in south-east Queensland because it is a vector of bunchy top disease.
Banana bract mosaic disease
Definitions of the virus and how it affects bananas.
Banana bunch covering
Banana bunch covering provides protection from mechanical damage in the field, during harvesting and transport to the packing shed; and enhances the life and effectiveness of insecticides applied for the control of bunch pests.
Banana bunchy top virus (DPI&F Shop)
This video describes the bunchy top virus, illustrates the range of symptoms produced and outlines the methods used to control the disease.
Banana flower thrips in bananas
Banana flower thrips are major pests in south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales and minor in northern Queensland.
Banana Freckle
Identify and control Banana Freckle, a fungal disease of banana leaves and fruit.
Banana fruit caterpillar
Minor and sporadic. Usually attacks bunches at the edges of a plantation near scrub or rainforest.
Banana leaf diseases (DPI&F Shop)
The program covers the identification of banana leaf diseases that occur in eastern Australia.
Banana leaf spot disease
Leaf spot or yellow Sigatoka, caused by the fungus Mycosphaerella musicola,is a very serious disease in tropical banana growing areas.
Banana nurseries for pest free planting material
Establishing special planting material nurseries is probably the best way of obtaining clean vigorous planting material for new banana plantations.
Banana rust thrips in bananas
Rust thrips occur in coastal areas of Queensland and Northern New South Wales. This page covers its description, including life cycle, management and control, both chemical and biological.
Banana scab moth
Larval feeding causes superficial scarring on the young fruit. Damaged areas form a black callous, rendering the fruit unmarketable. Major,frequent; occurs in northern Queensland north of Ingham.
Banana streak disease
Banana Streak Virus (BSV), the cause of banana streak disease, was first detected in Australia in 1992 in the banana cultivar Mysore. This page discusses symtoms, cause, implications and control methods.
Banana Topics
A newsletter for Queensland Banana Growers
Banana weevil borer
Usually minor and frequent in northern Queensland but has a greater impact in southern areas. It can become an important pest in poorly managed plantations.
Bananas - Queensland's Horticulture Portfolio
Overview of Bananas, including Seasonality, Varieties, Packaging and Storage Conditions
Bananas: insect and mite management (DPI&F Shop)
This book is a practical, illustrated guide to identifying, monitoring and managing insect and mite pests of bananas in Australia.
Bananas: methods of irrigation
Choosing an irrigation system for your farm can be a complex task. All methods are capable of producing high yields of good quality bananas if they are managed correctly.
Bananas: solving problems in the home garden
Unlike other fruiting plants, home gardeners require an Inspector's Approval to move and plant bananas. This is because the plant can harbour three diseases which, if not kept under control, could spread and destroy the entire commercial banana industry.
Banana-silvering thrips in bananas
A minor pest in south Queensland and Northern New South Wales. This Note covers description, including life cycle, distribution, management and control - cultural, biological and chemical.
Banana-spotting and fruitspotting bugs in bananas
Fruitspotting bug is a pest of avocados, guavas, macadamia nuts, pecan nuts, lychees, mangoes and many exotic tropical and subtropical tree crops, mainly in the south-east of the State.
Banana-spotting and Fruit-spotting bugs in rare fruit
This page contains a description and the management and control methods of Banana-spotting and Fruit-spotting bugs in rare fruit.
Basic requirements of South Queensland bananas
Banana production is a labour intensive industry in southern Queensland. The industry is highly competitive with premium prices being paid for large blemish-free fruit.
Better drainage for banana plantations
Bananas must have good surface and internal drainage for good yields. This article outlines some effects of poor drainage and how drainage can be improved.
Black sigatoka disease (DPI&F Shop)
Black sigatoka is an exotic fungal disease, which now occurs in most banana production areas of the world.
Choke throat of bananas
Choke throat is a physiological disorder of bananas and occurs when the bunch is about to emerge from the top of the pseudostem but becomes trapped at various stages of emergence.
Cluster caterpillar in bananas
This DPI&F Note covers description which includes photos and life cycle, distribution, management and control methods both biological and chemical.
Deleafing of banana plants
How and why deleafing should be carried out to control the spread of sigatoka.
Emerging plant pests - Spiraling whitefly
Spiraling whitefly (Aleurodicus dispersus) is a serious pest of many horticultural crops, and also of an extensive range of ornamentals and shade trees.
Exotic plant pests - black Sigatoka
This page outlines black sigatoka a fungal disease of banana plants, and key surveillance programs carried out in Queensland to monitor this threat to the horticultural industry.
Fallows and rotations in bananas in North Queensland
Some north Queensland banana growers use fallows or rotation crops before replanting of bananas thinking that this will control their nematode problems. However, in many cases, this is not so and would therefore be uneconomic.
Fertiliser recommendations for subtropical bananas
Bananas have high requirements for both nitrogen and potash. Potash deficiency results in poor yields, soft fruit, and weak thin stems.
Following sucker management in bananas
A very important aspect of management in bananas is choosing the correct following sucker to produce the next crop. Properly carried out, this practice will lead to higher yields of better quality fruit.
Fruit piercing moths in rare fruit
This page contains a description and the management and control methods of Fruitpiercing moths in rare fruit.
Fruits in the home garden - Bananas
This DPI&F Note describes varieties, growing conditions, legal restrictions, planting, fertilising, as well as pests and diseases of bananas.
Growing bananas in the home garden (south Queensland)
The banana is a tropical plant and benefits from moderate heat, adequate moisture and protection from wind. This note covers site, soils, variety, permission to plant, planting material, desuckering, bunch covering and harvesting.
Growing tropical bananas: before you start
This is a checklist of the essential things you need to know before you start growing tropical bananas. It will help you make the right decisions. More detail on important areas is provided in the Agrilink Tropical Banana Information Kit.
Growing tropical bananas: common questions
This information has been extracted from the Agrilink Tropical Banana Information Kit and the Agrilink Annual Update 1998-99, which provide information on all aspects of growing and marketing tropical bananas in Queensland.
How to avoid mixed ripe problems with bananas
Mixed ripe is necessary for harvested banana fruit to reach the market place in a hard, green condition to allow controlled, uniform ripening in ripening rooms.
How to minimise maturity bronzing in bananas
Maturity bronzing is a disorder appearing on the skin of banana fruit near harvest. This note discusses methods to manage the disorder.
Inspector's approvals under the Plant Protection Act 1989
These Inspector's Approvals are issued under the Plant Protection Act 1989 to allow for movement within and out of the pest area if certain conditions are met.
November bunch of bananas
November bunch is a disorder of banana bunches caused by cold weather during bunch initiation. This disorder is also known as November dumps in the southern hemisphere and May bunch/shooting in the northern hemisphere.
Nurse suckering: a useful banana crop management option
A system of sucker management known as the nurse sucker technique was widely used in north Queensland during the 1950ís and 1960ís. Nurse suckering helped confine fruit production to the winter/spring period when prices were highest.
Panama disease - the banana industry under threat (DPI&F Shop)
The program covers the development, management and occurrence of panama disease in bananas in Queensland.
Plant spacing considerations for North Queensland bananas
Bananas are planted in either single or double rows in north Queensland.
Preparing land for subtropical bananas
Banana plantations in southern Queensland usually have a productive life in excess of ten years. As it is common for bananas to be grown on north or easterly slopes, it is worth the effort to plan the layout.
Responses - Banana pest and disease control
This page looks at diseases that threaten Queenslands banana industry, along with control and eradication programs in place to protect it.
Responses - Bunchy top control
Bunchy top is a very serious viral disease of bananas that can cause great harm to the Queensland banana industry. This page describes symptoms and effects of bunchy top, and introduces control mechanisms.
Responses - Panama disease control
Panama disease is a serious disease of bananas caused by the Fusarium wilt fungus, which spreads with soil and water movement, and also with infected planting material. This page introduces control and eradication mechanisms in use for this disease.
Review of the Banana Industry Protection Act 1989 - Background
The Banana Industry Protection Act(1989) is being reviewed by DPI&F. This page contains an issues paper which was made available for the review. Industry groups & interested people were encouraged to contribute to the development of final recommendations
Review of the Banana Industry Protection Act 1989 - Report
The Banana industry Protection Act (1989) is being reviewed by DPI&F. This page contains the executive summary of the Report of the Review, It also contains links to the full Report document and to the background issues paper and information.
Spider mite & two-spotted mite in bananas
Banana spider mite is the most important and widespread of the mite pests of bananas. Two-spotted mite has only been recorded occasionally.
Subtropical banana grower's handbook
The Subtropical banana grower's handbook contains over 200 pages of information for growers from Rockhampton to Coffs Harbour. It is authored by representatives from DPI&F, NSW Agriculture and Bananas NSW.
Subtropical banana problem solver
The subtropical banana problem solver provides many quality colour photographs and accompanying text to assist the reader in identifying and managing the problems that can occur with the crop.
Sugarcane bud moth in bananas
Sugarcane bud moth has been recorded damaging bananas in Queensland, northern New South Wales and at Kununurra and Carnarvon in Western Australia.
Ten things to know about growing bananas in Southern Queensland
All known varieties of bananas including Ladyfinger types are susceptible to Banana Bunchy Top Virus. Ladyfinger plants show very clear symptoms of bunchy top compared with Cavendish, Red Dacca and many other varieties.
Tips on growing Lady Finger bananas
Gluts in Cavendish production regularly draw attention to the higher prices that the Lady Finger variety receives. In this article we include some of the information you need to know if you are considering Lady Finger production.
Tropical banana kit
The tropical banana manual applies to growing Cavendish varieties in coastal wet tropical Queensland. This area accounts for about 70% of the Queensland crop.
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Old 06-13-2006, 09:51 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Central Florida Banana Enthusiast

Interesting that you mentioned Australia as a valuable resource for banana information. They are only allowed to grow a few, select varieties of bananas. They also can't grow any musa species, because of the seeds becoming invasive in their mild climate. You can only have a certain number of banana plants on your property also.

Australia is a beautiful country, and the people are great. However, it's a bit too socialist for me. I'd love to visit one day though.
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Old 06-14-2006, 12:15 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Central Florida Banana Enthusiast

Hey bigdog itís so nice to meet you too. I thought this was a garden forum not a political forum. I was sorry to see you put a negative spin on my recommendation to check out the information from the Australian government website on bananas. I guess I should have said it was a good website if you are growing EDIBLE bananas in a SUBTROPICAL environment. I have been monitoring this website forum since it started and have read many recommendations that I feel are not totally accurate. I thought I could make a positive contribution to the forum by providing an information resource that was based on sound scientific research and not the anecdotal opinion from someone with limited experience growing bananas (I include myself).

Everything you said is correct about the control of homeowner grown bananas in Australia, however, you fail to mention the reason for the controls. The Australians have a considerable investment in growing bananas commercially and have put the controls you mention in place to protect that investment. Iím sure the bananas they restrict the homeowner to (7 varieties I believe) have been selected through careful research to protect the commercial crop from diseases (panama disease, black sigatoka, etc.) and at the same time will also do well in a home grown setting. It made sense to me that the cultivars recommended by the Australians should receive serious consideration as varieties that would grow well in my own zone 9 garden. Iím sure you are aware that there are agricultural growing restrictions in our own country that limit the kind of plants we can grow; an example is the severe restrictions on invasive plants in particular. These controls are very necessary and I donít think are part of some socialist conspiracy.

Correct me if Iím wrong but I would think that the same cultural practices that are recommended by the Australian government that benefit edible bananas would also apply to ornamental musa species as well.
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Old 06-14-2006, 09:12 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Central Florida Banana Enthusiast

Don, I did not intend to put a negative spin on your information. The information that you provided us with is a great resource, and I thank you! I just thought it was ironic that it was from Australia is all. Did not mean to get political...besides, I didn't say I thought that it was a communist dictatorship, just a "bit too socialist for me." If I offended any Aussies out there, I surely didn't mean to. Like I said before, it's a great country with great people, and I'd love to visit one day!

I'm sure if you reread my original post, keeping in mind that the intent of it was to show irony, you'll see that I meant no ill will toward anybody.

Thanks for your concern.

- Frank
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Old 08-02-2006, 02:55 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Central Florida Banana Enthusiast

Hello!

Also central Florida nanner lover here....just north of Ocala. I can put full blame on my bud in Alabama for getting me hooked on bananas. She sent me an ice cream pup just for something different in my landscape, and I took to it like a lion to a cub....now I coddle it and water and feed it, and I nearly DIED when I saw pups!! Anyway, I now have several other varieties (thanks, eBay) that I have in pots that I will put in the ground when the weather gets a little less wicked. In really excited to see how they all grow and if I can get blooms and nanners here. What a fun hobby!!

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Old 08-04-2006, 10:25 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Central Florida Banana Enthusiast

Greetings all, allow me to introduce myself. I am Kabby, the so called "pusher" of halo. The supplier of the infamous Ice Cream, the cause of the downward spiral into banana dementia. The reason Kathy's hand is shaped into a permanent claw over her mouse as she bids on ebay.
She has reinfected ME with the banana disease and now I'm scouring the web looking for vendors. She wasn't content to keep her virus to herself, no she had to spread the wealth.
Kathy and I are daylily enthusiasts but that's taken a back burner during the drought. I also collect hedychium gingers and crinum. Looking forward to learning much from this forum!
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Old 08-05-2006, 05:36 PM   #9 (permalink)
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bwahahahaha!!!!!
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Old 02-29-2008, 10:40 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Central Florida Banana Enthusiast

When CaptDonI joined back in 6-13-06, he pointed to a wonderful list of references in Australia. That site has been reorganized and the new link to banana info is: Bananas

But also see post #2 below from Jarred for a list of individual pages. Many are still available and not linked to by the new banana page.

Cheers!
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