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Member Introductions This is the `tell us about yourself` category. Please make an introductory post here, let us know a little about yourself. A perfect place to break the ice.


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Old 09-25-2010, 10:48 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Hello from Milwaukee!

Hi everyone!

After reading a few posts I finally jumped in and joined the group. Just a quick into, I have been growing tropicals here in Milwaukee for about 15 years, with elephant ears and bananas being my main interests. What I really enjoy doing is pushing the limits with anything that I can keep outside over winter here. I have grown Musa Basjoo outside for the last 10 years (flowered in 06) with protection, along with a couple elephat ears (also mulched). I have a couple new bananas I'm going to try this winter, although I'm not 100% sure what they are so when I figure out how to post pics I'll post them for IDing on here. I have also grown a few Ensete and Musa from seed over the years.

Well thats it for now. Thanks for letting me join this great group of people! I hope to learn a lot here.

Eric
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Old 09-25-2010, 11:20 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hello from Milwaukee!

Welcome Eric!!

I'm in Zone 8a, Central Texas...

Good to have you here with us!! ~Cheryl
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Old 09-25-2010, 12:15 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hello from Milwaukee!

Welcome to the site! It's a virtual encyclopedia for growing in all climates. Def props for your success with Basjoo banana plants! What type of elephant ears are you growing?
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Old 09-25-2010, 12:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Hello from Milwaukee!

Thanks for the welcome Cheryl and Cory!

For elephant ears I currently have C. Thailand Giant Strain, Diamond Head, Big Dipper, Black Pearl, Pink China, regular green form, Jack's Giant, Ruffles and I think a few others that I forget at the moment. I have had others in the past but I tend to give some away, lose them to rot etc. And I only pick up ones that really stand out for me.

Black Pearl and Pink China come back no problem with mulch, although the Black Pearl seems to grow better for me, much more vigor. They are the only two I leave outside at the moment, although I plan on trying a couple others this winter. My Thailand Giants had a great year since we had high dew points all summer. The biggest leaf maxed out at almost 7 feet. But now the cooler, drier weather has slowed them down.
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Old 09-25-2010, 01:28 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hello from Milwaukee!

Welcome Eric I live in Milwaukee too --east side. I would gladly swap nana pups for EE's. What side of town are you at? We had a very hot & humid summer --great for the plants.
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Old 09-25-2010, 02:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hello from Milwaukee!

Hi Eric, welcome aboard.
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Old 09-25-2010, 03:03 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Hello from Milwaukee!

Thanks Patty and Mediahound!

Patty send me a message. We can probably work something out.

Eric
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Old 09-25-2010, 04:31 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hello from Milwaukee!

Thanks for the information, Eric!
I'm a noob at growing most things but I'm def all about bananas and elephant ears. That Thailand Giant sounds incredible! We usually have tons of humid here in the summer so I will def try one of those.
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Old 09-25-2010, 06:17 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Hello from Milwaukee!

You're welcome Cory! I think it would do really well by you, with all that heat and humidity you get. I put mine in a raised bed, all compost and manure. I didn't fertilize it that much, just a bit here and there, but they do like it. The other thing is tons of water. And you should do really well. Any questions let me know.
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Old 09-25-2010, 07:09 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Old 09-25-2010, 07:40 PM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Hello from Milwaukee!

Hey there from someone up here in Marshfield,WI .. I am curious on how you winter your elephant ears as I have Jacks that have to be dug up soon and also some Borneo giants that I have potted and inside a heated shed.. I also have 6 large banana's that I just brought inside and had to cut down to about 6ft (9ft ceiling) and just started getting into potted palms also..Would love to hear from you and how you winter yours..thanks and good to see ya on the .org'
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Old 09-25-2010, 07:40 PM   #12 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Hello from Milwaukee!

Welcome Eric!

I'm originally from about 15 miles outside Milwaukee. Great to have more Wisconsin people here!
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Old 09-25-2010, 08:21 PM   #13 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Hello from Milwaukee!

Thanks everyone for all the welcomes! It is great to know there are other WI people here, and former ones.

Timmko well here is what I do, for the most part. For elephant ears I keep most in pots and put them in the basement where they go somewhat dormat. Many won't survive outside over winter here. I water sparingly to avoid rot, but if I let them dry out too much they will dry rot too. So it can be tough getting some through the winter. Some don't form tubers big enough to allow them to be unpottd during the winter. Others that do form bigger tubers, like your Jacks, can be unpotted or left in the pot, and again just water on occasion. I found trying to keep them going through the winter by a window wasn't worth it, and spider mites were a big problem. The ones I unpot I clean off all the soil and let the tuber dry and cut the petiol down to about 6 inches or so. For any bananas I drag them into the basement in pots or just drag the upotted banana down there. But I try to stick to most things I can keep outside.

For the elephant ears outside I just cover them with about 6 inches of straw and leaves. They are about 4 feet from a foundation so that helps also. This winter I'm trying a Thailand Giant and Big Dipper that aren't near a foundation. If they don't make it I don't really care. I just want to see how they trial. If they make it great if not I have others. They will get covered much more, a bit similar to the basjoo but scaled down. If you want to know more let me know.

I saw you might get frost tonight. I hope you got everything in.
Eric
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Old 09-25-2010, 09:15 PM   #14 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Hello from Milwaukee!

Welcome Eric. Glad to see another person close to me! I'm not the only insane person I guess!

Are you growing any palms, or just bananas and elephant ears? I started with the tropicals in 2008 and have come a long way since then. Some of the things I'm growing:

Musa basjoo
Musa orinoco
Ensete maurelii
Black Magic elephant ears
Caladiums
Castor bean
Trachycarpus fortunei
Phoenix sylvestris
Assorted potted stuff

And of course... pics











If you don't grow palms, hopefully I can convince you!
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Old 09-26-2010, 07:31 AM   #15 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Hello from Milwaukee!

Welcome Eric to Bananas dot Org, from the Sunshine state!!
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Old 09-26-2010, 02:42 PM   #16 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Hello from Milwaukee!

Tim no don't grow any palms right now. You probably will cringe when you hear this but I had bought one earlier in the year to try, I forget the name, put it aside and it died on me from lack of watering. The bananas and elephant ears take up all my time, and worrying about the first Japanese Beetle I found this year! Do you keep any of that out during the winter? Or do you take it in? The first palm looks settled in. Your yard looks great and I love your grass! So jealous. Very very impressive.

Short list:
Musa Basjoo
Musa Thai Black
Musa Saba
Enstet snow banana
Musa yunannensis
Many forms of colocasia
Cannas

Started musa seed recently

No palms yet. I'm quickly, or already, run out if room. Once I get more time I'll get more pics up.
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Old 09-26-2010, 02:55 PM   #17 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Hello from Milwaukee!

A very warm welcome, Eric, from the beautiful state of Maryland. I have a sister-in-law who teaches at the Vet School at the U of Wisc-Madison, and lives in Fitchburg. Beautiful country.
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Old 09-26-2010, 09:43 PM   #18 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Hello from Milwaukee!

Quote:
Originally Posted by eric27 View Post
Tim no don't grow any palms right now. You probably will cringe when you hear this but I had bought one earlier in the year to try, I forget the name, put it aside and it died on me from lack of watering. The bananas and elephant ears take up all my time, and worrying about the first Japanese Beetle I found this year! Do you keep any of that out during the winter? Or do you take it in? The first palm looks settled in. Your yard looks great and I love your grass! So jealous. Very very impressive.

Short list:
Musa Basjoo
Musa Thai Black
Musa Saba
Enstet snow banana
Musa yunannensis
Many forms of colocasia
Cannas

Started musa seed recently

No palms yet. I'm quickly, or already, run out if room. Once I get more time I'll get more pics up.
Hi Eric,

The first palm has been in the ground since July 2008. I overwinter it outside. The other palms I planted this spring and will be overwintering them outside also. Everything else comes in and today was the day I dug everything. Frost tonight! Yippee!
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Old 09-27-2010, 08:00 AM   #19 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Hello from Milwaukee!

wxman what kind of palm is it, how do you overwinter them and how big should they be in order to do so. I would love to try this. Thanks for giving me some hope!! lol
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Old 09-27-2010, 10:30 AM   #20 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Hello from Milwaukee!

Trachycarpus fortunei, or Chinese Windmill Palm. I overwinter it by putting a box over it that is double layer poly with 1 1/2 inch foam on the outside. I then put a space heater inside set at 40 degrees F. It is probably overkill but I don't want to take any chances. Supposedly the palm is hardy to zone 7b or 5F.
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