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Old 01-01-2013, 03:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Growing in Costa Rica

I am in the process of planting fruit trees on about 1/3 of an acre on our place. Much will be bananas ans platanos (plantains). I'm looking for various varieties available in country.
We can only identify the platanos as maduro and cuadrado specifically but the bananas still need identification.
The names I provided are the common names used in Costa Rica.
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Old 01-01-2013, 03:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Growing in Costa Rica

Hello, Welcome & Happy Growing. Post pic's once you get a flower and there are many willing to help. :^)
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Old 01-02-2013, 06:36 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Growing in Costa Rica

spent couple of years in Guanacaste,and did travel all over CR about 15,000 k total..so what region are you in??patacones in portagolpe are to die for
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Old 01-02-2013, 07:34 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Growing in Costa Rica

We are just on the west side of Ciudad Colon in Barrio San Bosco.

The biggest problem that I am facing is that the plants will produce a few hand and quit producing fruit. Much like this...



We experience this with every variety of Musa on the place, mostly guineo cuadrado but also the two varieties (unknown) of banana.
Anybody have any idea what I can do to improve production?
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Old 01-02-2013, 08:02 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Growing in Costa Rica

Picture posted above is 100% normal. Bananas first put out female flowers that form fruit then switch to male flowers that do not become fruit. They typically fall off and leave the exposed rachis like in the pic above.

This is just banana genetics and such. If you want bigger bunches, certain varieties produce larger bunches. Also, proper fertilization and mat management (removing all but a few pups from each plant) can produce more and larger fruit.
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Old 01-02-2013, 08:26 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Welcome ! Pura Vida Costa Rica
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:51 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Growing in Costa Rica

Welcome! That looks like great production to me. It is normal to see fruit, then a bunch of dead flowers that fall off.
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Old 01-03-2013, 07:14 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Growing in Costa Rica

Quote:
Originally Posted by LilRaverBoi View Post
Picture posted above is 100% normal. Bananas first put out female flowers that form fruit then switch to male flowers that do not become fruit. They typically fall off and leave the exposed rachis like in the pic above.

This is just banana genetics and such. If you want bigger bunches, certain varieties produce larger bunches. Also, proper fertilization and mat management (removing all but a few pups from each plant) can produce more and larger fruit.
We are in the process of removing all of the pups and transplanting them into a "banana garden".
I guess I am going to have to look for varieties that normally produce more fruit before becoming "sterile".
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Old 01-04-2013, 05:03 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Growing in Costa Rica

I'm a complete newbie: everything I know about bananas is from reading on here in the past couple weeks. But here's my take on plants "becoming sterile". The above-ground "banana tree" (pseudo-stem, or p-stem for short) is just one cluster of leaves from the corm (roots and underground stem). Each p-stem produces only one bloom, which only produces a limited number of hands. The same plant does produce more fruit, just not from the same pseudo-stem.

The pups you want to keep are the ones that grow directly from the corms, called "sword suckers"; they grow quite tall before starting to spread out their leaves. The ones to get rid of may grow a little farther from the previous p-stem, or may grow from cut bits of corm; they're called "water suckers" and they start looking like little banana plants right from the time they come out of the ground.
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:30 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Growing in Costa Rica

Quote:
Originally Posted by LilRaverBoi View Post
Picture posted above is 100% normal. Bananas first put out female flowers that form fruit then switch to male flowers that do not become fruit. They typically fall off and leave the exposed rachis like in the pic above.

This is just banana genetics and such. If you want bigger bunches, certain varieties produce larger bunches. Also, proper fertilization and mat management (removing all but a few pups from each plant) can produce more and larger fruit.
Thanks for the information that it is a genetic issue. I will purchase plants of a better genetic strain. We have plenty of room for more.

We are fertilizing once a month with 15-15-15 NPK and removing the scions once they reach 18" and planting them to enlarge our "banana plantation".

One problem that we have is poor soil. It is a volcanic clay and impervious necessitating digging out a half meter (50cm x 50cm x 25cm deep) of soil and replacing it with "tierra negro" for each plant.

The fruit trees require digging down a full meter for avocado, mango, etc.
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:49 PM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Growing in Costa Rica

One of the more experienced people here can tell you the specific numbers, but I'm pretty sure 15-15-15 isn't what you want.

Also, I recall someone with poorly-drained soil getting told it can be better to make a mound of good soil on top of the impervious soil, instead of digging out a hole. A hole in poorly-drained soil is like a pot with no hole in the bottom: it fills with water, which has nowhere to go.

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Old 01-05-2013, 12:16 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
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In my opinion, you are doing things backwards.

First, you are placing the corm in "tierra negro" and only giving the roots a 25 cm distance to grow from the corm. Roots will actually prefer to grow 750 - 900 cm from the corm. I plant in a hole filled with sandy soil and amend the surrounding soil, starting at about a 50 cm distance from the corm. The roots tend to stay near the soil surface, so amending the top 15 cm is most important.

With only 1/3 acre you will need to carefully plan your planting area, especially if you are also growing fruit trees. If you plant bananas in the wrong area they can be moved, but fruit trees are a bit more permanent.
The top 15cm is good soil. That was the only thing the previous owners did right for what they were doing - creating a lawn.

the tierra negro has a high content of sand and the preferred fertilizer would be 20-5-30. I also have a source of chicken manure by the cubic meter, do you recommend that as an amendment?.

Have I erred in placing the plants only 1 meter apart? Should that be two meters apart?

I think the fruit trees are going to be my biggest problem since the area I am planting them is 6 meters deep in volcanic clay.
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Old 01-05-2013, 12:23 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
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One of the more experienced people here can tell you the specific numbers, but I'm pretty sure 15-15-15 isn't what you want.

Also, I recall someone with poorly-drained soil getting told it can be better to make a mound of good soil on top of the impervious soil, instead of digging out a hole. A hole in poorly-drained soil is like a pot with no hole in the bottom: it fills with water, which has nowhere to go.
Your point regarding the hole being similar to a pot is well taken.

It rains here from mid-April to mid-November Mounding might be a better idea. I'll have to experiment with that and see what happens.
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Old 01-05-2013, 05:15 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Growing in Costa Rica

2-3 meters apart is probably a much better plan. 1 meter is definitely too close.
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Old 01-05-2013, 06:59 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Ain't nothing wrong w/ a lil chicken poo for some nanners now. :^)
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Old 01-05-2013, 08:47 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
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With only a 1/3 acre,

a 3 meter spacing allows for 150 banana plants

a 2 meter spacing allows for 330 banana plants

a 1.3 meter spacing allows for 800 banana plants

I am at 18 degrees north and Costa Rica is at 10 degrees north.

I am a farmer and grow tall plantains using a 1.3 meter spacing.

4 African Rhino Horns & a 4 Foot Square

More Plants - More Fruit - More Money

When planning a planting area you should consider the height and shape of the plants.

I would plant the mango trees on the northern border and avocados to the south of them

using a staggered planting pattern and a little common sense.
That's only the beginning but I am planting primarily for family consumption. If there is enough excess we might consider the local feria. There are six boys in the Tico family living with us and they know what I intend and are willing hands.

The avocados will be Hass because of their longer fruiting season.

I have a lot of slope that is primarily forest right now. I am planning to plant Papaya on the norther edge of the forest and Pejibaye at the crown of the slope.

We started everything out all wrong but the information that I am gathering here will help to correct that. I am importing a cubic meter of black soil from a reliable source and the chicken manure by the cubic meter as needed.

I also have a Kemp chipper/shredder that we brought down with us to provide compostable material and sand is ailable in what they use here to make concrete, it's heavy in what I call dirt.

If everyone contributes their ideas I will decide what is possible for our property.
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Old 01-06-2013, 01:24 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
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More Plants - More Fruit - More Money
Yes, but there has to be a law of diminishing returns.
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Old 01-06-2013, 05:23 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waggoner41 View Post
I am in the process of planting fruit trees on about 1/3 of an acre on our place. Much will be bananas ans platanos (plantains). I'm looking for various varieties available in country.
We can only identify the platanos as maduro and cuadrado specifically but the bananas still need identification.
The names I provided are the common names used in Costa Rica.
I know that praying hands and Saba variety grow there as well. Try to get a red banana from some where. They are great.
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:28 PM   #19 (permalink)
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LOL PR....you always amaze me with the technicality of your growing/production.
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