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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 06-20-2008, 11:12 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Fertilizer Question

I Have 0-0-50 Sulfate Of Potash And 27-0-0 Ammonium Sulfate. Would This Be Okay For Bananas. Would I Combine These 50%-50%.thanks For The Help.
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Old 06-20-2008, 05:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fertilizer Question

It will be fine. You may want to add a few other nutrients such as iron, phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium.

The main nutrients are potassium and nitrogen.
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Old 06-20-2008, 05:36 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fertilizer Question

That was good to point out that trace elements were not present in the pure chemicals which would normally be found in more general fertilizers.

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It will be fine. You may want to add a few other nutrients such as iron, phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium.

The main nutrients are potassium and nitrogen.
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Old 06-20-2008, 07:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fertilizer Question

Quote:
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I Have 0-0-50 Sulfate Of Potash And 27-0-0 Ammonium Sulfate. Would This Be Okay For Bananas. Would I Combine These 50%-50%.thanks For The Help.
Both of those are very high in Sulfur which can make your soil very acidic and fry your plants. Assuming that your sulfates are rated 20% available Sulfur, I would use:
4 ounces Ammonium Sulfate
3 ounces Sulfate of Potash
2 ounces Agricultural Lime (20% Calcium Oxide)
per mature Musa or Fruit Tree in the ground. In a pot I'd use one-fourth of that or less.

If you don't have an electronic scale you can get one for about $15 from a kitchen store, like this one:

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Old 06-20-2008, 07:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fertilizer Question

Richard,
You show off, you! Nice tomato!
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Old 06-20-2008, 11:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fertilizer Question

rinse it in cold water, grab the salt shaker and take a great big bite. the tomatoe juice dribbles down your chin and you wipe it off with your sleeve. dab a littlemore salt and take a bigger bite......nice tomatoe richard!!!
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Old 06-20-2008, 11:53 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fertilizer Question

thanks, that's from last year's crop of Cherokee Purple tomatoes. But I was really just trying to post a handy picture of my scale. Glad you liked it!
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Old 06-21-2008, 12:28 AM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Fertilizer Question

Of course - we knew that! lol! great tomato!

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Old 07-03-2008, 07:49 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fertilizer Question

Chong sent me a sample (Thanks!) of "Champion 17-4-28 High Potash Plus" fertilizer -- an SQM brand. It is water soluble. I have fed it to my orchids and bananas (in pots) and they seem very happy with it so far. It appears to be available in Canada and the mid-West U.S., but hard to find in southern California.

Both Chong and I have in-line fertilization tanks that are attached to our irrigation systems (fertigators), so water-soluble products are of great interest to us. We have also discovered "Grow More 20-5-30" which has a nice array of micronutrients. The retail price here in San Diego CA is $40 per 25 lb bag.

For comparison purposes, that's ($40 / 25 lbs) / 20% N = $8 per pound of Nitrogen. Does anyone know of a similar product that is less expensive?
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Old 07-03-2008, 08:23 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fertilizer Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard View Post
Chong sent me a sample (Thanks!) of "Champion 17-4-28 High Potash Plus" fertilizer -- an SQM brand. It is water soluble. I have fed it to my orchids and bananas (in pots) and they seem very happy with it so far. It appears to be available in Canada and the mid-West U.S., but hard to find in southern California.
Here is my chance to ask a dumb question. Why is regular lawn fertilizer not considered "water soluble". Are there fillers in it that genuinely do not break down in water? Would the bottom of your tank end up full of muck?

Another question: where did you purchase, or how did you make your fertigation systems? I am interested in these for both banana and citrus, but have never tried them. I already have a drip system in place.

Comment on micronutrients: When citrus are grown in the ground, micronutrients are typically not a definite need, unless your soil has proven historically deficient. I do not know if this is the case with growing bananas, but I would think it is somewhat similar, since both bananas and citrus are heavy feeders. I do not know if sunfish is growing in the ground or in pots.

Comment on acidity: It is fun to get a cheap pH meter, and test your soil periodically. In Central TX, (where I grow all manner of things with varying degrees of success) the soil is naturally very alkaline (as is the city water), so acidic fertilizers and acidic amendments (such as peat moss) can be very helpful in keeping the pH in that "sweet spot" of 5-7 (at least for citrus and according to FAO, bananas as well).

Cheers,

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Old 07-03-2008, 08:48 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fertilizer Question

Quote:
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Here is my chance to ask a dumb question. Why is regular lawn fertilizer not considered "water soluble". Are there fillers in it that genuinely do not break down in water? Would the bottom of your tank end up full of muck?
When a fertlizer is not water soluble, it does not mean that it won't break down with water and other minerals over time. A water soluble fertilizer is one that immediately dissolves in water, up to a given number of grams or pounds per gallon or liter.

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Another question: where did you purchase, or how did you make your fertigation systems? I am interested in these for both banana and citrus, but have never tried them. I already have a drip system in place.
You will find them both online and at a commercial irrigation or agricultural supply house. In selecting a fertigator, you need to consider (1) how often you wish to fertlize, (2) how many grams or pounds of fertilizer you wish to deliver each feeding [as a rule, you need net 1 pound Nitrogen per mature semi-dwarf fruit tree or banana per year], (3) what capacity tank that will require, and (4) what flow rate that will require. If you need more help with that let's start a Fertigator thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by endeitz View Post
Comment on micronutrients: When citrus are grown in the ground, micronutrients are typically not a definite need, unless your soil has proven historically deficient. I do not know if this is the case with growing bananas, but I would think it is somewhat similar, since both bananas and citrus are heavy feeders. I do not know if sunfish is growing in the ground or in pots.
Depending on the plants and soil, micronutrients need to be replaced every 1 to 2 years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by endeitz View Post
Comment on acidity: It is fun to get a cheap pH meter, and test your soil periodically. In Central TX, (where I grow all manner of things with varying degrees of success) the soil is naturally very alkaline (as is the city water), so acidic fertilizers and acidic amendments (such as peat moss) can be very helpful in keeping the pH in that "sweet spot" of 5-7 (at least for citrus and according to FAO, bananas as well).
Cheers,
Ed.
This thread might also help: your pH meter might be broken if ...

Anyone happen to know an answer to this question:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard View Post
...
Both Chong and I have in-line fertilization tanks that are attached to our irrigation systems (fertigators), so water-soluble products are of great interest to us. We have also discovered "Grow More 20-5-30" which has a nice array of micronutrients. The retail price here in San Diego CA is $40 per 25 lb bag. For comparison purposes, that's ($40 / 25 lbs) / 20% N = $8 per pound of Nitrogen. Does anyone know of a similar product that is less expensive?
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Old 07-03-2008, 10:46 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fertilizer Question

Great info, Richard. Does the estimate of 1-2 years for micronutrient depletion assume that no natural amendment, such as compost, has been added as top dressing?

I will look into the fertigation systems more closely and then start a thread, so I will be more likely to have relevant questions to ask.

Good thread on pH meters. I actually have that same pH meter that you show with the probe submerged in seaweed extract. It has performed faithfully (good enough for me, at least) for a couple of years now. I got it at Lowe's.

Just for fun, I called the local greenhouse supply this evening. They carry Jack's 20-10-20 water soluble fertilizer:

this one

for 37.99. Not as good an NPK as yours (although the micros look OK to my untrained eye), and about the same price.

Cheers,

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Old 07-04-2008, 12:08 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fertilizer Question

Quote:
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...
Does the estimate of 1-2 years for micronutrient depletion assume that no natural amendment, such as compost, has been added as top dressing?
...
For many soils and fruiting plants, mulch is necessary to provide an environment for effective uptake of micronutrients -- unless perhaps you are delivering them by foliar spray.



There is a long history in my family of using seaweed extract as a summer foliar spray for this very purpose. When I built my garden here in San Diego, I purchased a fertigator so that I could neutralize my alkaline water and provide micronutrients as well. Until recently, all of my major mineral components have been supplied by granulars and meals (e.g., alfalfa). Now that my fertilizing needs are equivalent to about 100 fruit trees, I'm looking for something less labor intensive -- hence the search for inexpensive water soluble fertilizers.

I have long known two basic facts about the requirements for a mature semi-dwarf fruit tree (or its equivalent, e.g., 2 mature tomato shrubs or berry bushes): it needs 1 pound of available Nitrogen per year - and heavens not all at once, and it needs a useable source of potash, about 1.5 pounds per year. Until recently I had acheived this without questioning the phosphorus requirement, but knowing that some subtropicals do not tolerate high phosphorus. So earlier this year inkcube pointed out that (1) the P cation moves very slowly through the soil, (2) plants are slow in P uptake, and (3) post-harvest analysis of banana fruit shows a P to K ratio of about 1:24. The good news is that bananas also ignore surplus P, so over doing it doesn't hurt the plant -- but rather wastes your money and eventually pollutes the waterways and oceans with excess phosphorus. In fact, I wonder if all these high-phosphorus fertilizers are just a way for chemical companies to sell their hazardous phosphorus waste instead of paying for its disposal.

Anyway, I concluded that the "ideal" N-P-K for bananas would be 16-1-24, and then went off to read the publications from various agricultural Extension resources about minerals lost in the harvests and pruning of other fruits. It turns out that an N to P ratio of about 4 to 1 is plenty. This is interesting, because that ratio is low enough for most phosphorus sensitive plants as well. So when Chong came across a 20-5-30 water soluble fertilizer, I started thinking differently about my fertlizer choices in the past.

Well, if you read this long winded explanation and didn't get bored, you earned another garden geek gold star for the week.
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Old 07-05-2008, 07:49 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fertilizer Question

Richard,

I think you make an excellent point about P requirements. The local extension is forever trying to convince people to use "no-phosphorus" lawn fertilizers, since much of the P ends up in the creeks and other stormwater runoff catchments (and then into the lakes where we then fight the algae and hydrilla pressure). I think they would have more success if any of the local big box stores actually offered bulk, low-phophorus fertilizers at a similar price to the cheapo stuff.

I have never tried seaweed extract as a fertilizer or foliar spray. Do you apply it with your fertigation system? The irrigation on my orchard, veg. garden and bananas is strictly drip up to this point, so I would have to foliar feed manually.

Anyway, I think I have dragged this thread far off into the wilderness. Thanks again for the interesting information.

Ed.
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Old 07-05-2008, 08:54 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I didn't know that phophorus was hazardous to our water ... and that it contributes to algae in lakes and ponds. We continually fight the algae in our stock pond. I've been able to look up some good articles on it.

I love it when something in someone's thread just pops out at me with information like this!

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Well, if you read this long winded explanation and didn't get bored, you earned another garden geek gold star for the week.
I get that gold star too!
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Old 07-05-2008, 11:29 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fertilizer Question

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Well, if you read this long winded explanation and didn't get bored, you earned another garden geek gold star for the week.
i dont know about anybody else but i didnt find it boring!
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