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Cold Hardy Bananas This forum is dedicated to the discussion of bananas that are able to grow and thrive in cold areas. You'll find lots of tips and discussions about keeping your bananas over the winter.


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Old 12-16-2009, 03:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
Location: Northwest Colorado
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Default Advice on Getting Started

I want to try to grow a banana starting this summer. As I see it, my biggest challenge will be dealing with night temperatures that are quite cold throughout the season. I plan to build a hot-tent sheeted with spun-bonded row cover or a combination of row cover and film plastic to hot things up as much as possible. I hope to be able to raise night temperatures by about 20 degrees. If necessary, I can place a few gallon jugs of hot water in the tent every evening.

As far as overwintering, I have a makeshift cellar that should meet the temperature and darkness requirements. I'm less certain about dryness. Gladiolas, which most people recommend storing dry, come through fine if the corms are buried in the sand at the bottom of the cellar. If, however, they are stored out of the sand like potatoes, they mold and rot and die by spring. So, might bananas be better off buried to the top of their corms? I could also only partially bury them. The sand is more damp than actually wet. I also wondered if swabbing them with peroxide solution to kill mold spores would be beneficial.

My last question involves cultivars and sources. I recognize I may be attempting something I can't achieve. As such, I'm not sure if I should try to get the best variety I can on the chance it fruits someday, or the cheapest so I'm not out as much if the whole poject is a wash. I'm not even sure what "the best variety" means. I've mostly been looking at Raja Puri. The hype is certainly there, but after seeing something here about their tendency to choke, I'm not sure. I can also see that the dwarfest cultivars would be easier to build tents around and easier to overwinter. Without further information, I'm still leaning towards Raja Puri. That just leaves actually getting a plant. One nursery that I called only ships between October and February. Another couple say on their websites that they don't ship after April. In my climate, I'm really not comfortabl getting live plant material before mid May at the very earliest, preferably early June. I did find one source that ships within a few weeks during a season that works for me. I guess I should talk to them about ordering now for later shipment.

If I can get a plant through one winter, I hope to expand the project a bit. With more than one plant, I could experiment with cultural methods in order to fine-tune growing bananas here. For instance, I might reduce the heat-tent method to wrapping the pseudostem and draping a sheet over the leaves at night. Any thoughts, advice, or tweaks of my proposed methods would be most welcome. If you know specifically that something I'm planning won't work, please save me the trouble of finding out for myself. Thank you in advance.

Last edited by ten2685 : 12-16-2009 at 03:44 PM.
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Old 12-16-2009, 03:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Advice on Getting Started

Quote:
Originally Posted by ten2685 View Post
I want to try to grow a banana starting this summer. As I see it, my biggest challenge will be dealing with night temperatures that are quite cold throughout the season. I plan to build a hot-tent sheeted with spun-bonded row cover or a combination of row cover and film plastic to hot things up as much as possible. I hope to be able to raise night temperatures by about 20 degrees. If necessary, I can place a few gallon jugs of hot water in the tent every evening.

I'm not sure what spun-bonded row cover is but a simple plastic film greenhouse does almost nothing in terms of heat retention during the night. It'll keep the wind, rain, and snow off and that's about it.

Even standing in my greenhouse on a hot day if the sun goes behind a cloud you can feel the temperature drop instantly.

At the end of a hot day if I close up all the vents I can keep the temperature above what is outside for a short while. However once night comes the temps are the same.

There is a ton of good info on overwintering at the top of this forum. I don't know how cold your winters are but there are people here in Canada who are having sucess so you should be able to as well.
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