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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 11-09-2019, 09:23 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Advice on Strategy Change for Winterizing Banana Tree

I saw many threads on this topic, but mine was a little unique and thought I would start a new one to get some advice. Apologize if my terminology below on the plants are not technical right, but hope it makes sense.

I have had my series of bananas for several years now. I live in NC, zone 7a/b. Each year, I have wrapped my bananas in blankets and bubble wrap, and overmulched at their base with more blankets. I have done this so I can keep the height and not having to start from the ground in the Spring. It is a lot of work, but felt it was worth it. This year, two of my taller ones sprung a flower and fruit, but although cool for the first time, I did not want to lose those stalks.

My issue now is that I have seen quite a few people who have bananas in this area who do nothing like I do for theirs, they just let them die to the ground. But, each year, theirs explode and have much taller trees than I do even though I started with the stalks. Plus, they have many more stalks than I do, more like groves. Now, I do have other plants around my bananas, so maybe that is why I am not getting many more stalks popping up, but I do not get the multiple stalks like they do.

So, the question I need help with is, is it better to let them die to the ground, mulch and winterize than do all the work like I have been doing? I was told by one person to cut the stalk at 12" off the ground at an angle and mulch up to it. Again, I just do not know what to do. My goal is nothing about the fruit. It is about getting the tallest and most plentiful bananas plants that I can get, and ideally as early as I can get them after the first freeze.

Thank you so much for the help.

Tom
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Old 11-09-2019, 11:59 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Advice on Strategy Change for Winterizing Banana Tree

First off your neighbors may have a different type of banana plant than you that just naturally grows faster. Secondly what are doing for your plants during the active growing season? Are they planted in an ideal location? Getting the plants through the winter is a critical milestone but active growth during the season is determined by maximum input of resources (water, fertilizer, sun, good soil).
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Old 11-09-2019, 12:18 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Advice on Strategy Change for Winterizing Banana Tree

Hy Tom,
I agree with Akula's comment. You will find details on my experience in the following posts:
Hello, I am Georges, a new member
I am leaving in the north-east of France, zone 7b.
I experienced, in the past, not winterizing musa basjoo. Often, they died definitely, except old plants with many pups. The bananas which survived had a smaller development that the winterized bananas.
The total heigh of the winterized bananas at the end of the summer is around 12 feets.
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Old 11-09-2019, 07:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Advice on Strategy Change for Winterizing Banana Tree

Quote:
Originally Posted by TommyOBananas View Post
I saw many threads on this topic, but mine was a little unique and thought I would start a new one to get some advice. Apologize if my terminology below on the plants are not technical right, but hope it makes sense.

I have had my series of bananas for several years now. I live in NC, zone 7a/b. Each year, I have wrapped my bananas in blankets and bubble wrap, and overmulched at their base with more blankets. I have done this so I can keep the height and not having to start from the ground in the Spring. It is a lot of work, but felt it was worth it. This year, two of my taller ones sprung a flower and fruit, but although cool for the first time, I did not want to lose those stalks.

My issue now is that I have seen quite a few people who have bananas in this area who do nothing like I do for theirs, they just let them die to the ground. But, each year, theirs explode and have much taller trees than I do even though I started with the stalks. Plus, they have many more stalks than I do, more like groves. Now, I do have other plants around my bananas, so maybe that is why I am not getting many more stalks popping up, but I do not get the multiple stalks like they do.

So, the question I need help with is, is it better to let them die to the ground, mulch and winterize than do all the work like I have been doing? I was told by one person to cut the stalk at 12" off the ground at an angle and mulch up to it. Again, I just do not know what to do. My goal is nothing about the fruit. It is about getting the tallest and most plentiful bananas plants that I can get, and ideally as early as I can get them after the first freeze.

Thank you so much for the help.

Tom
What variety do you have?
Are you Low country?
Photos might confirm that you might doing Waaaay to much for them for the winter.
You and you neighbors probably have a cold tolerant plant .
Basjoos and Orinocos are common in your area for tolerance to shorterm cold .
We just need to find out what you have.
A photo of the flower and fruit will help.
The flower will be a dead giveaway.......look up Basjoo flowers and see if there is a similarity.

Looking forward to your next post

Last edited by cincinnana : 11-09-2019 at 08:18 PM.
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Old 11-09-2019, 09:08 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Advice on Strategy Change for Winterizing Banana Tree

Quote:
Originally Posted by cincinnana View Post
What variety do you have?
Are you Low country?
Photos might confirm that you might doing Waaaay to much for them for the winter.
You and you neighbors probably have a cold tolerant plant .
Basjoos and Orinocos are common in your area for tolerance to shorterm cold .
We just need to find out what you have.
A photo of the flower and fruit will help.
The flower will be a dead giveaway.......look up Basjoo flowers and see if there is a similarity.

Looking forward to your next post

First, thank you everyone. Second, I apologize I forgot to mention my variety. Thought I did.

I have Musa Basjoo. I think I received dwarf versions, but they are still getting up to about 8 to 9 feet if I wrap them during the winter because they start from a higher spot. I believe the person I mention also has the same, that is why it was frustrating seeing her do nothing and they get so big. In regards to position, they get 10am sun and onward.

I did forget to mention that I have another grouping further in the yard. I did not wrap all of them this year and I gained a much larger bunch of stalks and pretty tall plants. I did mulch these quite a bit.

I think my photos should work. One is a little noisy with some grass, the other though is when I posted on here before when a flower popped through.

Thanks so much for the help.




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Old 11-09-2019, 09:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Advice on Strategy Change for Winterizing Banana Tree

Quote:
Originally Posted by TommyOBananas View Post
First, thank you everyone. Second, I apologize I forgot to mention my variety. Thought I did.

I have Musa Basjoo. I think I received dwarf versions, but they are still getting up to about 8 to 9 feet if I wrap them during the winter because they start from a higher spot. I believe the person I mention also has the same, that is why it was frustrating seeing her do nothing and they get so big. In regards to position, they get 10am sun and onward.

I did forget to mention that I have another grouping further in the yard. I did not wrap all of them this year and I gained a much larger bunch of stalks and pretty tall plants. I did mulch these quite a bit.

I think my photos should work. One is a little noisy with some grass, the other though is when I posted on here before when a flower popped through.

Thanks so much for the help.



Basjoos.....let die to the ground and mulch at 8 inches deep.

Early Spring fertilize with a regular garden fertilizer like 16-16-16 ...19-19-19
Feed your mats the same triple 15-19 through growing season and water well.

Your plant will SHINE

Some pros hit the plant with 46-0-0 in early march for Basjoos and Mekongs.

There is a lot to learn on how to get these awesome plants to their potential

https://www.flickr.com/gp/hostafarian/3Evj9C
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Old 11-09-2019, 10:36 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Advice on Strategy Change for Winterizing Banana Tree

Quote:
Originally Posted by cincinnana View Post
Basjoos.....let die to the ground and mulch at 8 inches deep.

Early Spring fertilize with a regular garden fertilizer like 16-16-16 ...19-19-19
Feed your mats the same triple 15-19 through growing season and water well.

Your plant will SHINE

Some pros hit the plant with 46-0-0 in early march for Basjoos and Mekongs.

There is a lot to learn on how to get these awesome plants to their potential

https://www.flickr.com/gp/hostafarian/3Evj9C

Thank you so much...I must admit that I am a tad nervous knowing I have always wrapped them, but knowing I lost a few due to flowering and another that did not survive the winter for the stalk, this is the year to do it and that flickr link was amazing. That is the type of bunched growth I have seen with that other person and what I saw in the one in my backyard. I think I have inadvertently been limiting its more explosive growth by forcing it to grow through that one stalk. I think I am going to clear out a little more space for them to grow in (I have some cannas near them) and hope to have a big Spring.

Once they die to the ground, should I cut the dead stalk and leaves away or just mulch over it? It seems the pictures from that link show it being cut below the mulch line.

Thank you again so much. I love these plants a lot and hoping this may create the jungle and canopy look I have wanted.

Tom
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Old 11-10-2019, 08:31 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TommyOBananas View Post
Thank you so much...I must admit that I am a tad nervous knowing I have always wrapped them, but knowing I lost a few due to flowering and another that did not survive the winter for the stalk, this is the year to do it and that flickr link was amazing. That is the type of bunched growth I have seen with that other person and what I saw in the one in my backyard. I think I have inadvertently been limiting its more explosive growth by forcing it to grow through that one stalk. I think I am going to clear out a little more space for them to grow in (I have some cannas near them) and hope to have a big Spring.

Once they die to the ground, should I cut the dead stalk and leaves away or just mulch over it? It seems the pictures from that link show it being cut below the mulch line.

Thank you again so much. I love these plants a lot and hoping this may create the jungle and canopy look I have wanted.

Tom
In the colder zones like mine and other forum members complete die back is slightly below soil level.

The part gardeners need to grasp is that heavy mulching keeps the soil warmer and the very cold chill out.
Some gardeners will tarp their plants after mulching as added protection from the elements.

Keep in mind for example...if the air temperature is 10 degrees the soil temperature just 6 inches below grade could be as high as 40+ degrees in our temperate zones.
A little deeper and the temperature rises even more to the average temp of 55.

We cut and mulch ....it's fast and inexpensive while enhancing the soil structure.
Mulching blends into the landscape and adds some winter interest too.


Some gardeners like a tidy garden and will cut and cleanup all plant debris as soon as it frosts.

The ones in my garden have not been cut or mulched yet.
It is mostly personal preference... do what you can do
Locally there are a few large professionally kept mats of Basjoos and they are cut to the ground and mulched in October.
You might get residual pop up growth but the subsequent freezes stop that.


For the monster plants you want you will want to start early March with the fertilization.
There is a lot happening underground at that time, remember it's warmer under there.
When you see daffodils the basjoos are stirring.

.
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Old 11-24-2019, 01:23 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Advice on Strategy Change for Winterizing Banana Tree

great info in this thread- do you still mulch even if you are having sporadic temperature - like 80 F on Monday and 55 on Wed ( these are the highs) We got hit with early freeze in TX so the leaves except for a few pups are brown- I have trimmed a few back but was afraid to do too much
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Old 11-25-2019, 09:50 AM   #10 (permalink)
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great info in this thread- do you still mulch even if you are having sporadic temperature - like 80 F on Monday and 55 on Wed ( these are the highs) We got hit with early freeze in TX so the leaves except for a few pups are brown- I have trimmed a few back but was afraid to do too much
basjoos are typically mulched and covered for winter in areas that you get snow on the ground or get a lot of hard freezes.

other varieties require different things. me I expect growth all winter long, so I mulch about a foot around the base, leave the old leaves on except I cut the cigar leaf off when hit by a frost or freeze. new leaves have a lot of trouble growing thru a cigar leaf that has been killed by the cold.
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Old 11-25-2019, 10:50 AM   #11 (permalink)
 
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basjoos are typically mulched and covered for winter in areas that you get snow on the ground or get a lot of hard freezes.

other varieties require different things. me I expect growth all winter long, so I mulch about a foot around the base, leave the old leaves on except I cut the cigar leaf off when hit by a frost or freeze. new leaves have a lot of trouble growing thru a cigar leaf that has been killed by the cold.

Thanks for this comment as I have had this issue before as well. I usually cut the whole top off, but going to keep the leaves as you said. Where do you cut the cigar leaf...just flush?
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Old 11-25-2019, 11:16 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Thanks for this comment as I have had this issue before as well. I usually cut the whole top off, but going to keep the leaves as you said. Where do you cut the cigar leaf...just flush?
flush. the leaves might give some protection, but not much. but 1 or 2 degrees can make a pile of difference after winters over.
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Old 11-25-2019, 12:07 PM   #13 (permalink)
 
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flush. the leaves might give some protection, but not much. but 1 or 2 degrees can make a pile of difference after winters over.
Thanks...but once the 'stalk' falls, it sounds like most are suggesting to cut it about 8 to 10 inches above ground and then just pile mulch on top. Assume this avoids the new leaves being trapped if any come out of that location again, right?

I have mulched all around them about 8 to 10 inches. I just have not touched the stalk/leaves yet as they are still standing and was going to let that go until it falls.

Sorry for all the messages. A little nervous. As I said above, I have always wrapped them and doing my first year of letting them go to the ground.
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Old 11-25-2019, 01:46 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Thanks...but once the 'stalk' falls, it sounds like most are suggesting to cut it about 8 to 10 inches above ground and then just pile mulch on top. Assume this avoids the new leaves being trapped if any come out of that location again, right?

I have mulched all around them about 8 to 10 inches. I just have not touched the stalk/leaves yet as they are still standing and was going to let that go until it falls.

Sorry for all the messages. A little nervous. As I said above, I have always wrapped them and doing my first year of letting them go to the ground.
most have been talking about basjoos, another animal. yes if the p-stem falls cut it. I don't get to anxious until spring and see whats moving and what isn't. I have to many to worry about so I worry about a few. like you each winter is different for me so its hard to tell what to do unless you know which plants you really have to worry about. garbage cans can give a certain amount of protection if their small enough. from what I have seen so far just throwing a blanket or sheet seems like it does more damage than not doing it.

do you know what you have?
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Old 11-25-2019, 05:59 PM   #15 (permalink)
 
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most have been talking about basjoos, another animal. yes if the p-stem falls cut it. I don't get to anxious until spring and see whats moving and what isn't. I have to many to worry about so I worry about a few. like you each winter is different for me so its hard to tell what to do unless you know which plants you really have to worry about. garbage cans can give a certain amount of protection if their small enough. from what I have seen so far just throwing a blanket or sheet seems like it does more damage than not doing it.

do you know what you have?
Yes, I have basjoo. My OP was that I always wrapped them with blankets and bubble wrap, but others near me with basjoo would end up much taller plants than I did and they did nothing to protect them. So, cincinnana above offered some thoughts and I decided to just let them go to the ground this year and just mulch the heck out of them. What I have done so far is completely surround them in 10" of mulch and put blankets around them. I planned to cut them when they fell and then put more mulch on top, but no blanket over the p-stem. In my way back, I did not wrap them and I did end up with more of a large grouping of plants, while the ones I wrapped ended up only being the main p-stem I wrapped with limited new ones popping up. So, I was just mixing it up. I also got flowers this year and a few p-stems are lost anyway.
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Old 11-26-2019, 07:20 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Advice on Strategy Change for Winterizing Banana Tree

yes basjoos is one thing I do not have, each variety acts differently to the cold. cincinnana knows basjoos. and your more inland than I am which makes you colder than I. I normally see very few days below 32.
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Old 11-27-2019, 04:59 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by TommyOBananas View Post
Yes, I have basjoo. My OP was that I always wrapped them with blankets and bubble wrap, but others near me with basjoo would end up much taller plants than I did and they did nothing to protect them. So, cincinnana above offered some thoughts and I decided to just let them go to the ground this year and just mulch the heck out of them. What I have done so far is completely surround them in 10" of mulch and put blankets around them. I planned to cut them when they fell and then put more mulch on top, but no blanket over the p-stem. In my way back, I did not wrap them and I did end up with more of a large grouping of plants, while the ones I wrapped ended up only being the main p-stem I wrapped with limited new ones popping up. So, I was just mixing it up. I also got flowers this year and a few p-stems are lost anyway.
Well......now that you got them tucked in under mulch we/you wait till February /March.
You/I will fertilize early before growth starts.
Use a similar fertilizer or what you can afford.......does not matter much.
We have used triple 12 on up to triple 19 for mats...with a 29-0-0 to a 46-0-0 kicker...

This will be the kickstart of getting taller plants and more vigorous pups each season.
For Basjoos the tallest most giant plants will THE PUPS THAT ARE 3-4 years old.

Click on photo to see more photos of Basjoos
.
Inexpensive Fertilizer for general use on lawns and all plants in your yard.
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Originally Posted by cincinnana View Post
Basjoos.....let die to the ground and mulch at 8 inches deep.

Early Spring fertilize with a regular garden fertilizer like 16-16-16 ...19-19-19
Feed your mats the same triple 15-19 through growing season and water well.

Your plant will SHINE

Some pros hit the plant with 46-0-0 in early march for Basjoos and Mekongs.

There is a lot to learn on how to get these awesome plants to their potential

https://www.flickr.com/gp/hostafarian/3Evj9C

Sorry for the thread bump, but I am preparing for the fertilizer stage of the season and wanted to ask a quick question especially where this is my first year where i did not wrap the trees.

You mention a 16-16-16 or 19-19-19 fertilizer. Do you have any suggestions for ones that work well for you? Do you use a water soluble one or just put down fertilizer pellets and water? And it sounds you just water all around it...I honestly do not know how far and wide my mats go. Also on the 46-0-0, any suggestions on brands there? I just want to do my best to treat these things with the right start they need.

Thanks again for all your help before the Winter. I am pretty nervous, but weather here in NC has not been too bad this year. I was actually getting leaves a week ago, but we are about to get some cold weather here the next two days.
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Old 02-20-2020, 09:56 AM   #19 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Advice on Strategy Change for Winterizing Banana Tree

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Originally Posted by cincinnana View Post
Well......now that you got them tucked in under mulch we/you wait till February /March.
You/I will fertilize early before growth starts.
Use a similar fertilizer or what you can afford.......does not matter much.
We have used triple 12 on up to triple 19 for mats...with a 29-0-0 to a 46-0-0 kicker...

This will be the kickstart of getting taller plants and more vigorous pups each season.
For Basjoos the tallest most giant plants will THE PUPS THAT ARE 3-4 years old.

Click on photo to see more photos of Basjoos
.
Inexpensive Fertilizer for general use on lawns and all plants in your yard.
by
Hostafarian
,
on Flickr
.

I don't actually disagree with Cinci ... But want to point out, in the Triple fertilizers you can get a general blend or a vegetable garden blend. Buy the vegetable garden blend. It has the macro & micro elements need by the plants. The general blend usually do not and used mostly for lawns. ... Of course one can also buy amendments to add the micro elements (tomato tone) to add to the general blends.



I use 15-15-15. The difference between different triples is cost and the strength of the NPK. The lower the NPK, the more fertilizer that will be needed. So the question is will the higher NPK save money for the total amount needed compared to a lower NPK. ... I have found a few brands the higher NPK triple was more expensive than the same lower triple NPK.
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Old 02-20-2020, 10:04 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: Advice on Strategy Change for Winterizing Banana Tree

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Originally Posted by TommyOBananas View Post
Sorry for the thread bump, but I am preparing for the fertilizer stage of the season and wanted to ask a quick question especially where this is my first year where i did not wrap the trees.

You mention a 16-16-16 or 19-19-19 fertilizer. Do you have any suggestions for ones that work well for you? Do you use a water soluble one or just put down fertilizer pellets and water? And it sounds you just water all around it...I honestly do not know how far and wide my mats go. Also on the 46-0-0, any suggestions on brands there? I just want to do my best to treat these things with the right start they need.

Thanks again for all your help before the Winter. I am pretty nervous, but weather here in NC has not been too bad this year. I was actually getting leaves a week ago, but we are about to get some cold weather here the next two days.
Wow ...you have leaves.
I am 50 days behind you.

First, you plants love this cool spring weather weather and a lot is happening underground and out of sight many weeks before your plants leaf out.
Fertilize with the spring rains or water well the summer months.

A farm/agricultural oriented store will have all the fertilizer choices for you....much more than a big box store.

46-0-0 (urea)is an optional VERY early spring high nitrogen boost and is used with care before your plants leaf out. While not really necessary it does give your plant its first nitrogen feeding.
Only to be applied early(cool) and with spring rains to work into the soil.
Brand names vary by region and is sold in 50 lb bags.

The fertilizers for these plants are a well balanced general use granular fertilizer good for all plantings.
You may use triple 12-19 with slight noticible difference .
You/me would not know the difference which fertilizer was used as the season progresses.
I buy end of season(deep discount) and what is on sale and what I can afford....... in a pinch I have used lawn fertilizer with no issues.
Purchase a few years worth if the deal is good.......just keep it dry.
I use the same fertilizers for all the landscape plantings in the yard.


Exceptions are the container plants which get a water soluble type mixture.....nothing special.

Your basjoos will only get so large and size is determined by age and a lot is always happening underground with runners and pups.
Once a few seasons go by you will notice predictable results and growth with your new way to do things you will say "I got this"

Right now daffodils are coming up so that is my que to get out and check things out.
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