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Main Banana Discussion This is where we discuss our banana collections; tips on growing bananas, tips on harvesting bananas, sharing our banana photos and stories.


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Old 09-26-2008, 10:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Agri-Starts

I just started looking into these guys tonight since my wife and I have considered trying to market and sell hardy bananas here on a small scale. There's certainly interest in them around here and most folks seemingly have no clue how many types we can grow here in central SC. My family does a lot of garden and flower sales (mostly a family thing that's grown over the years) and I think it has potential to sell hardier bananas too. Maybe even some Alocasia too, but that's a later thing.

I've heard a lot of good things about Agri-Starts. I assume that since you have to buy in trays of 72 that you'd almost immediately want to transfer all the small 72 bananas into larger 4-6" pots for maturing. While I'm fascinated by the TC process and have done a lot of reading on it, I certainly don't want to built my own lab, even on a small scale. I think it'd be much more cost effective to go to a whole seller like A-S.

Anyone have thoughts or tips they can share on this? Or thoughts on the company in general when buying small scale like this? I figure we're a good year or so away from trying this idea out, and would like any advice from others who might have tried similar ventures.

Also, I'm surprise more folks don't try this on eBay (or maybe they do). You see a lot of sellers with 4-6" potted bananas going for $3-6 a plant. That's a decent mark up I think considering.
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Old 09-26-2008, 11:52 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Agri-Starts

John, you may want to PM Sandy to make sure she sees this post as she's been selling TC bananas. I bought some of hers when she held a sale a couple of months ago.

I'm sure many of the eBay banana sellers do get TC plants fro Agri-Starts. I think the biggest potential would to TC something that they aren't doing (yet), but that's just my $.02.

Check the old posts on Siam Ruby here. Brian is a member here and he's the guy that got Agri-Starts to put that into TC and it did very well until the market got somewhat saturated and it's still doing better than most varieties.
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Old 09-27-2008, 12:00 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Agri-Starts

Thanks Harvey. Can you give me a heads up on Sandy's username? I'll definitely send her a PM. I appreciate it.
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Old 09-27-2008, 12:03 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Agri-Starts

Sure, Bananas.org - View Profile: sandy0225
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Old 09-27-2008, 12:17 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Agri-Starts

Sandy0225 is her ID............. she uses a different lab than A-S, plus some from them I believe.
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Old 09-27-2008, 01:11 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Agri-Starts

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Sandy0225 is her ID............. she uses a different lab than A-S, plus some from them I believe.
Do any of you know of any other TC Lab than Agristarts? The only other one that I know of is Oglesby International. I have bought from both of them before, and Oglesby only does TC on Musella and SDC-which they hold a Copyright on, as far as bananas go.

Agristarts prices have gone up 25% over the last year. And I used to deal with Ashley before, but her name isn't there anymore.(She's still on the office contact list, but not on the Availability order page.) She was pretty accommodating when it comes to buying small orders.

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Old 09-27-2008, 01:21 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Agri-Starts

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... While I'm fascinated by the TC process and have done a lot of reading on it, I certainly don't want to built my own lab, even on a small scale. I think it'd be much more cost effective to go to a whole seller like A-S. ...
Correct. I found Agri-Starts (along with another local TC firm) very easy to communicate with via email, given a day turn-around per message. They were also willing to propagate TC's from a fruit-producing cultivar sent to them, provided you pre-pay for a couple of trays up front. This is very reasonable considering most of their business comes from orders of 10,000 to 1 million plants.

I've had great success "growing on" TC's by first putting them in a 4" peat pot with a soil-less medium for a few weeks under artificial light, then planting the whole peat pot in a 15 gallon pot under 40% shade (cheap plastic screen door material). I feed them 10-20-30 fertilizer during this period, then take the shade off and start them on 20-5-30. The corms have gone from pea-size to potato-size in 4 months.
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Old 09-27-2008, 01:32 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Agri-Starts

Don't remember off hand whom she said.
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Old 09-27-2008, 06:53 AM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Agri-Starts

JC,
Just wanted to let you know that Agri Starts will let you split a tray if you don't want 72 plantlets of the same variety. Half trays are the smallest quanity you can order, if my memory is correct.
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Old 09-27-2008, 08:59 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Correct. I found Agri-Starts (along with another local TC firm) very easy to communicate with via email, given a day turn-around per message. They were also willing to propagate TC's from a fruit-producing cultivar sent to them, provided you pre-pay for a couple of trays up front. This is very reasonable considering most of their business comes from orders of 10,000 to 1 million plants.
So you can send them a banana plant that isn't being TC'd and they will TC it for you, just as long as you buy a few trays up front. That sounds like a really good deal, I wonder if they then reserve the right to use it for themselves afterward?
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Old 09-27-2008, 10:38 AM   #11 (permalink)
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So you can send them a banana plant that isn't being TC'd and they will TC it for you, just as long as you buy a few trays up front. That sounds like a really good deal, I wonder if they then reserve the right to use it for themselves afterward?
I'm confused by your question regarding "reserve the right". Labs are interested in acquiring plant varieties that are commercially viable (bananas or otherwise). Buying a quantity up front covers their labor cost of extracting viable tissue and placing it in their collection. From that point, generating a few trays has essentially no overhead cost for them. On the otherhand, if you are referring to plant patent rights, they cannot legally TC (asexually reproduce) a patented plant without written permission from the patent holder, often involving royalty payments. Some TC companies exist exclusively to reproduce plants for patent holders. If you have a plant that you think is worth patenting, you should do that first.
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Old 09-27-2008, 10:48 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Agri-Starts

JC derrick, I hope that works out for you, sounds like a good idea. Maybe M.sikkimensis, and M.lasiocarpa would be some good picks, also that cold hardy heliconia 'Fire and Ice' is pretty nice.
Thanks Richard, that makes sense. I don't have any that I can patent, but maybe a couple that would be worth TCing.
After checking out their web site I noticed that Heliconia 'Fire and Ice' is TM. How can they do that with a wild found H.schiedeana species that was collected in Habitat, and they seem to have done something similar with M. 'Siam Ruby". From what Gabe said in a earlier thread, someone is making alot of money from Royalties off that plant.
Sorry for hyjacking, just got me thinking.

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Old 09-27-2008, 10:49 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Agri-Starts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy4ut View Post
JC,
Just wanted to let you know that Agri Starts will let you split a tray if you don't want 72 plantlets of the same variety. Half trays are the smallest quanity you can order, if my memory is correct.
Thanks Randy, that would be even better for us. 72 of one variety to start might be too many of the same type.
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Old 09-27-2008, 10:53 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard View Post
Correct. I found Agri-Starts (along with another local TC firm) very easy to communicate with via email, given a day turn-around per message. They were also willing to propagate TC's from a fruit-producing cultivar sent to them, provided you pre-pay for a couple of trays up front. This is very reasonable considering most of their business comes from orders of 10,000 to 1 million plants.

I've had great success "growing on" TC's by first putting them in a 4" peat pot with a soil-less medium for a few weeks under artificial light, then planting the whole peat pot in a 15 gallon pot under 40% shade (cheap plastic screen door material). I feed them 10-20-30 fertilizer during this period, then take the shade off and start them on 20-5-30. The corms have gone from pea-size to potato-size in 4 months.
So I'm looking for this type of pot? What kind of soil mix do you use? I use a combo of perlite, vermiculite and a nice organic topic soil for my larger potted plants, but these are so much smaller.

Also re: the peat pots. Assuming I tried my hand at eBay again (it's been a while), do you think I could forgo the peat pot step and go directly to a 4-6" pot with soil for some plants? I probably would want to keep any eBay plants small - under 16"

The peat pots idea is great though for the local market where they will want bigger plants though. Thanks for the great tip on that. My growing season is long enough that if I start in late March or early April I bet I could have these ready at a nice size by no later than the end of July or start of August.
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Old 09-27-2008, 10:55 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Agri-Starts

John they spilt!

from there site:
AGRI-STARTS, INC.: Shipping
Product is shipped in 72 cell-packs unless indicated.
Assorted trays fees are $18.00 per 72-cell pack tray.
An Assorted tray is only sold in increments of:
18-18-18-18
24-24-24
36-36
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Old 09-27-2008, 10:58 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Agri-Starts

18-18-18-18 would be perfect to get us started. I'm definitely going to have to start thinking about this next spring. I'm sure I can find several hardy types from their list. Thanks for all the help guys.
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Old 09-27-2008, 10:58 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: Agri-Starts

Just out of curiosity, how long does it take them to TC a plant?
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Old 09-27-2008, 11:10 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: Agri-Starts

Here is where Gabe talked about it only few weeks!

My home tissue culture progress
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Old 09-27-2008, 11:31 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCDerrick View Post
So I'm looking for this type of pot? What kind of soil mix do you use? I use a combo of perlite, vermiculite and a nice organic topic soil for my larger potted plants, but these are so much smaller.

Also re: the peat pots. Assuming I tried my hand at eBay again (it's been a while), do you think I could forgo the peat pot step and go directly to a 4-6" pot with soil for some plants? I probably would want to keep any eBay plants small - under 16"

The peat pots idea is great though for the local market where they will want bigger plants though. Thanks for the great tip on that. My growing season is long enough that if I start in late March or early April I bet I could have these ready at a nice size by no later than the end of July or start of August.
Steuwe and sons has great square pots that are good for conserving space. They are used alot by palm tree growers, but I was thinking about ordering their MT46 for banana plants- http://www.stuewe.com/products/minitreepots.html
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Old 09-27-2008, 11:32 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Just out of curiosity, how long does it take them to TC a plant?
It depends on the company and the type of plant. When I inquired of AgriStarts about bananas, they said 3-4 months.

Quote:
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So I'm looking for this type of pot?
In my experience, peat pots are much cheaper at a local nursery than online when you include the shipping charges.

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What kind of soil mix do you use?
I use a commercial soil-less mix, mainly because it is pre-sanitized. For example, Jiffy Mix is sold right next to the Jiffy Peat Pots at most nurseries and big box stores.

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... do you think I could forgo the peat pot step and go directly to a 4-6" pot with soil for some plants? I probably would want to keep any eBay plants small - under 16"
Your customers will appreciate receiving a hardy corm of significant size. You can always chop off the pseudostem to 16" length for shipping. If you are just going to take TC's and "grow them on" individually for sale as larger plants, I suggest you consider the long troughs used in hydroponics -- but without the corms immersed in aquaculture. Use a natural or artificial "sand" as if you are growing carrots indoors.
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