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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 02-09-2009, 12:49 PM   #161 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

I can't help but think, that Frank's (bigdog) way is probably the easiest and most efficient. No rotting, no air ventilation problems...
Since I'm in the zone where I need to plan overwintering, not just leave bananas outside, I will try next winter both methods, when I have enough bananas and enough spare ones.
I'll let you know then.
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Old 02-11-2009, 03:49 AM   #162 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

heck here in a month and a half it will be time to wake the nanas up for spring.
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Old 02-17-2009, 01:02 AM   #163 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

What kind of luck are people having with Ensete Maurelli - Red Abyssinian when using this method?

Last year I stored about 6 one year old plants and all made it except two. They were all stored bareroot at about 10C. On the ones that lived the stems stayed red/green all winter despite no leaves or watering. The two that died kind of lost their color and eventually rotted.

This year I have a couple of the same plants now two years old and being stored in the same way. These two are now losing their color and I expect they'll be rotten come spring. The stems on these ones are about a basketball's diameter.

I did place them upside down to try and drain some excess water out in the fall but there is just so much water in these things, they are huge! Anyhow I'm wondering if there is anything I can do to save these plants.

I'm wondering also if storing them hanging upside down might help. It just seems there is so much water in the trunk of these plants. Some of it must seep back to the corm and start to rot once the plant goes dormant. Does that make sense?
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Old 02-17-2009, 07:05 PM   #164 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

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A man would have duct tape all around it, uneven edges, plastic hanging from top and bottom, blowing in the wind, 3 different colors of plastic, etc, etc.
Wait, I got lost. I thought that we were talking bananas and now you describe my car. Can we stick to a subject here, guys?
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Old 02-17-2009, 07:25 PM   #165 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

KJ ,
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Old 02-17-2009, 08:20 PM   #166 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

Quote:
Originally Posted by sunsetsammy View Post
What kind of luck are people having with Ensete Maurelli - Red Abyssinian when using this method?

Last year I stored about 6 one year old plants and all made it except two. They were all stored bareroot at about 10C. On the ones that lived the stems stayed red/green all winter despite no leaves or watering. The two that died kind of lost their color and eventually rotted.

This year I have a couple of the same plants now two years old and being stored in the same way. These two are now losing their color and I expect they'll be rotten come spring. The stems on these ones are about a basketball's diameter.

I did place them upside down to try and drain some excess water out in the fall but there is just so much water in these things, they are huge! Anyhow I'm wondering if there is anything I can do to save these plants.

I'm wondering also if storing them hanging upside down might help. It just seems there is so much water in the trunk of these plants. Some of it must seep back to the corm and start to rot once the plant goes dormant. Does that make sense?
Sammy, all I can tell you is my experience with Ensete bananas. I have given no thought whatsoever to them rotting in the way you mention. I've stored them standing up in pots, and they started growing in the spring. I've stored them bareroot lying on their side and they grow in the spring. I've done this with E. glaucum, E. ventricosum, and E. 'Maurelii'. I've even had them start growing under the house! In my humble opinion, Ensete and Musella are the two easiest genera to store in this manner. Musa cultivars and species vary widely. M. acuminata types don't do as well as M. balbisiana types in my experience. The bigger the pseudostem, the better chance you have. Also, with the less likely to store well cultivars, you may want to keep them a bit warmer than the others (maybe wrap them or throw a blanket over them, store them in a warm corner, etc.); you'll also want to cut all of the leaves off of them. With Orinoco, I've gotten away with leaving 2 or even three leaves on a pseudostem to give it a headstart in the spring, but this doesn't work well with some others. In fact, it can be quite devastating to them. When in doubt, I cut ALL of the leaves off.

If you think about it, a banana plant is about 93% water, so you don't want it to lose this water! That is what makes up almost all of the pseudostem. I suspect that you have something else going on if they are rotting. Check your temps with a thermometer. How humid is it where you are storing them? Where are you storing them? I can't imagine that the water from the pseudostem is causing them to rot.

Frank
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Old 02-23-2009, 03:19 PM   #167 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

Quote:
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Sammy, all I can tell you is my experience with Ensete bananas. I have given no thought whatsoever to them rotting in the way you mention. I've stored them standing up in pots, and they started growing in the spring. I've stored them bareroot lying on their side and they grow in the spring. I've done this with E. glaucum, E. ventricosum, and E. 'Maurelii'. I've even had them start growing under the house! In my humble opinion, Ensete and Musella are the two easiest genera to store in this manner. Musa cultivars and species vary widely. M. acuminata types don't do as well as M. balbisiana types in my experience. The bigger the pseudostem, the better chance you have. Also, with the less likely to store well cultivars, you may want to keep them a bit warmer than the others (maybe wrap them or throw a blanket over them, store them in a warm corner, etc.); you'll also want to cut all of the leaves off of them. With Orinoco, I've gotten away with leaving 2 or even three leaves on a pseudostem to give it a headstart in the spring, but this doesn't work well with some others. In fact, it can be quite devastating to them. When in doubt, I cut ALL of the leaves off.

If you think about it, a banana plant is about 93% water, so you don't want it to lose this water! That is what makes up almost all of the pseudostem. I suspect that you have something else going on if they are rotting. Check your temps with a thermometer. How humid is it where you are storing them? Where are you storing them? I can't imagine that the water from the pseudostem is causing them to rot.

Frank
Hi,

Thanks Frank!

Hopefully these guys will make it through the winter cuz they were my favorites this year. I realized my theory probably didn't make sense but it's been a long winter and I my banana brain won't stop even without any sunshine........
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Old 04-29-2009, 01:52 AM   #168 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

Well it's official!

The 4 ensetes that I mentioned above are indeed rotten. I started chopping off the pseudostem looking for some fresh leaves and there was a black spot in the middle right down to the corm. The corms themselves were totally rotten too.

I just don't get it? Last year I had great luck with all my bananas but lost almost half of my cannas and EE's. This year I kept the storage shed a little warmer and drier by sealing off the windows and vents with plastic. I figured it would help with heating bills and keeping the dampness out would help prevent rot. (Here on Vancouver Island we have some damp winters.) Anyhow so far I've had excellent success with the cannas and EE's but now all my ensete's rotted.

My wifes parents kept an ensete underneath their house in a garbage bag full of sawdust and the thing started growing under the house. They claim it doesn't get colder than 50F and is actually quite damp down there.

Maybe it is the dampness/humidity that keeps these things fresh for longer. Weird how the cannas and EE's would make it in my shed but not the ensetes.
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Old 07-12-2009, 01:39 PM   #169 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

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Yeah...the neighbors aren't even going to see it coming .

Ok, here is the rest of the thread that I should've included into the original post. Here is the crawl space door that they ALL went into.



And here is a few shots of the bananas stored under the house. Don't ask me how many there are...I don't know!




You can see that there are two rows.




Way too much fun .

I'm hoping for 8 bunches of MATURE, ripe bananas next year. We'll see...


Maybe its a little early but is this methode realy a succes?
It works for Basjoo, Helens hybride and monkey fingers?
better 2 get info early hehe
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Old 08-19-2009, 07:02 PM   #170 (permalink)
 
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Joy Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

okay everybody.what do i do for the winter?my basjoo isnt even a year so i think im going to bring it in for the winter.should i leave it in the pot? do i store it in the garage for winter? if i bring indoors how often do i water it??? help would deeply be apreicated.
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Old 08-22-2009, 02:34 PM   #171 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

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Originally Posted by Jack Daw View Post
I can't help but think, that Frank's (bigdog) way is probably the easiest and most efficient. No rotting, no air ventilation problems...
Since I'm in the zone where I need to plan overwintering, not just leave bananas outside, I will try next winter both methods, when I have enough bananas and enough spare ones.
I'll let you know then.
Frank's method of storing the pseudo stems in the basement over winter was also my motivation to do so, three years ago.
I did it this way with different varieties. Such as ice cream, misi luki, FHIA-18, cardaba, sikkimensis.
Then I was told as lower the room temperature as better. I kept them in my garage at 2 to 5 degrees Celsius. They all rot, except the sikkimensis.
A year later I did the same with dwarf orinoco and dwarf brazilian, but at 8 - 10 degrees Celsius. They came through with even a bit of a green leaf.
The problem with this method in my opinion is, that they take too long to get back a good root system. At least in my climate.

Now, I have a dwarf brazilian and a dwarf orinoco planted out in a iron basket. When the growing season is over, I will dig out the basket and put it in a dark room of my basement at 10 degrees without water for 5 - 6 month. I'd like to leave at least three leaves on them.

What do you guys think about it?
Has anybody else made any experience with over wintering musa dwarf brazilian in the basement?

Marcel
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Old 08-22-2009, 02:58 PM   #172 (permalink)
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Thumbs up Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

I would go for it Marcel. The only way in northern climates we can eventually come to what is most successful is with logical thought and trial and error. Sure some will be lost along the way. In the end if all of us keep trying we should be able to come up with a few methods for success. It's one of the best facets of the org.
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Old 08-22-2009, 03:17 PM   #173 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

For sure I will go for it!
I only wonder, if there has anyone ever over wintered dwarf brazilian in the basement.
I know many people do it with dwarf orinoco, but myself I am not that convinced of d.orinoco. It is very hardy, but slow rooting, and take long to get back into growth.
D.brazilian make more leaves in one season in my climate. That is my personal experience.

Marcel
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Old 08-22-2009, 03:22 PM   #174 (permalink)
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Question Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

You just made me wonder if anyone's tried using the method I do with plumeria? Just bring it in for the fall when temps dip too low and leave it dry in a pot full of soil. I usually water lightly once a month or maybe not, it goes dormant and I "wake it up" by watering a month or so ahead of time while it's indoors. The plumeria flowers every year and seemingly suffers no ill effects. I may sacrifice one to try this way.
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Old 08-22-2009, 03:37 PM   #175 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

Are the plumerias planted in the ground? Or only in pots, that you bring inside?

Marcel
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Old 08-22-2009, 04:04 PM   #176 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

For the past 10 or so years just in pots.
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Old 08-22-2009, 04:47 PM   #177 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

Boys, I gave it a lot of thought and thanks to some PK, DB, GN, SDC and RP observations I found out several important factors.
But I owuld like to say how happy I am, that someone's willing to share his ideas on this. Ever from the beginning I considered BigDog's technique interesting, but wanted to prolong the duration of active growth by about 2 or 3 months (November, March and April), leaving the plants with ideal 60 to 70 days of active rest.
This can not be however done keeping them bare-root.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maesy View Post
For sure I will go for it!
I only wonder, if there has anyone ever over wintered dwarf brazilian in the basement.
I know many people do it with dwarf orinoco, but myself I am not that convinced of d.orinoco. It is very hardy, but slow rooting, and take long to get back into growth.
D.brazilian make more leaves in one season in my climate. That is my personal experience.

Marcel
Marcel, as I read it, I slowly find out that you might have one or more other, different problems.
- the plants root easier, when the soil has almost sand consistency, thus if you work on it in the spring it should be much more ideal for the naners. If and when you work with the soil, I suppose it's in the autumn, as a part of the next spring prep. This is however not sufficient, because the frost, rain and snow will melt it into one solid piece of mass, so unless you fertilized it, it won't have much of an effect.
- the second thing is that our soils are so rich and good, that it's bad (literally, southern soils can't compare to ours and we have to come out from this assumption). They have excellent water holding capacity (!) (one short rain can stay in the upper soil even many days during very hot weather (30+°C/85+°F) and we have to minimize this element in favor of another attribute: heat capacity (optimal would be: easy to heat up, slowly cool down). Therefore I think that several preparative steps in the early winter will be necessary. So for starters:

a) I read somewhere that Frank heats up the soil in early spring with black plastic covers, now this is a great improvement, but not sufficient. To keep the banana growing at normal pace (so that it doesn't sit in the soil inactive 2, 3, 4 weeks) we would have to have the temperature soil at least those 8°C we keep them stored at (to eliminate the few days of shock they would come through).
This temperature is also good from one other reason, which is fruiting.
But we can cross this bridge once we come to it.

b) Heating up the soil wouldn't be a problem, if it didn't freeze so deeply. Now bare with me, because I think that freezing to 5 or more cm is healthy. It is what makes our soils so fertile. Lots of bugs, insects, ... and other animals (and some bacteria) die at this temps, so it would be a natural clean up. They also work as fertilizer, because many new soil bacteria colonies start working in the spring and so do another animals.
I experimnted with microculture heating system this year. A complicated name for something so stupid. Rotting hay. I put about 300L (80gallons) into the shade of my garage (constant year-round temperature there is about 8-14°C/45-58°F). I took a large pile of mowed grass from my yard (small pieces, my mower cuts it into tiny pieces) and put it into my garage (late winter/early spring temps) and waited. Then I measured up the temp. Decaying hay produced the more heat than I expected, a pile that I had was way too hot in the epicenter, more than 45°C (115°F). The outter layers were almost as cool as the surrounding area, 8°C.
Now if we move even larger piles over the areas that we know for sure will be a banana area in the future, we might ensure, that during the worst freezes (-10°C, -14°C...) the temps will be idle and once the worst forsts are over (usually within a week here), the hay will produce enough heat to warm up the soil to certain levels. Combined with black plastic bags over the hay (like a very small tent) might also do even more warming up.
This cover could be putin the place on the day, when the temps should fall below -5°C (so called frost threshold).

c) fertilizer/compost should be released to the soil in advance as well, along with some sand. Black soils with some sand should hold the temperatures well enoughfor us.

d) now the worse part, inner prep and end of season prep.



And we continue...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob View Post
You just made me wonder if anyone's tried using the method I do with plumeria? Just bring it in for the fall when temps dip too low and leave it dry in a pot full of soil. I usually water lightly once a month or maybe not, it goes dormant and I "wake it up" by watering a month or so ahead of time while it's indoors. The plumeria flowers every year and seemingly suffers no ill effects. I may sacrifice one to try this way.
Bob I was thinking more of a combination. It is a great idea to start the plant sooner (e.g. in March in here) and then, as the temps get idle outside, plant it out.
I also assume that there are 2 ways of doing this:
Either keep the plants in soil and dry, cold conditions for 2 months, or store them bare-root.
What Marcel described could be efficient, but I think that the cage itself is not that good idea. For a small plant, a cage would take too much soil along with the roots rendering it useless, because the ideal banana soil would simply go to small pieces once he pulls the soil out and the roots would be without any soil left. Large corms could aslo have problems and dare I say it, they would make it impossible for you to replace the cage with bigger. It takes maybe 2 or 3 well placed pups each year.

I was thinking how to counteract this problem and the solution once again exists. Bags. There are materials, like Zelta (sorry, don't know the English name), which have larger eyes (designed for storing potatoes). These holes or eyes hold the soil, but release the water from the soil.
It would eliminate the problem with corm getting to large, simply open the side of the bag.
And it really works, Christmas trees are sold here in those bags. Now consider that they are harvested and supplied in October and they still live and are in perfect shape in December.

How to put the bag in and out? Now that's what I'm thinking about these days, but I will solve this mystery eventually. The problem's not really in putting it there, but pulling it out. It will have to be large enough to consume the entire corm AND surrounding soil, but that would make the plant incredibly heavy. How to pull it out, so that I don't damage the bag (solid textile from 2mm thick fibres)? Now that's a question. One solution would be to tie it to the p-stem and carry it all with a hand truck.

If you think, that the roots could grow through the bag, you're right. The bag limits only the soil, slowly growing roots can get through, making tight holes for themselves.

Any ideas to my plan? There's lots of possible failing points, but I think it has some foundations.


----

I will do this with my bananas, Dwarf Brazilian..., but surely not this year, there simply isn't any reason to do so. There will be a harvest this time next year. Hopefully.
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Old 08-22-2009, 05:31 PM   #178 (permalink)
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Bananas Brindando Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

Interesting stuff Jack, I'd like to see these bags, haven't heard of them but the idea is good. Like I said if we all keep trying the solution should reveal itself. Good thinking.
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Old 08-22-2009, 05:37 PM   #179 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

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Interesting stuff Jack, I'd like to see these bags, haven't heard of them but the idea is good. Like I said if we all keep trying the solution should reveal itself. Good thinking.
That Zelta material was roughly translated by my programs as duck or taurpaulin. It is the same material that our army uses to knit the inner layers of special military outfits. Strong, tight, if not improved by other material, not the least waterproof.
The bags can be really large, I can remember my parents buying crout and potatoes in it (20+kg).
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Old 08-22-2009, 05:41 PM   #180 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

Jack,
I always mix the planting hole with sand, gravel and rotted compost before I plant the bananas. To warm up the soil as you suggest and use black plastic foil is a good idea, but only gives you an advantage, when also the air temperature is at a minimum of 12 - 15 degrees Celsius.
According to the d.orinoco, more than once I have planted bolt corms in pots and into the ground, and it always takes months for them to get going. That's why I started to try something out that isn't disturbing the root system as much as digging them out and force them every year again to start rooting from the beginning. The iron basket has only small holes, just big enough for the roots to grow through. I tried it last year with musa FHIA-18 and musa sp.yangtse. And it worked. But the FHIA-18 rot in my garage. This one needs a warm winter place like a living room or warm greenhouse.
My first thought was also the kind of bag we use for potatoes. But after a half a year in the ground, that probably has also rotted to 50%.

Marcel

When I read in your Musa 'Pahari Kela' report, I can see, that your average daytime and night time temperature are at least two to three degrees warmer than ours.
And that is a big different!
Unfortunately we don't have that many warm summer nights, that make the bananas grow like crazy! This summer we had only two or maybe three nights with at least 20 degrees.
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