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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 09-02-2021, 07:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Gros Michel fruiting in Central Florida

Hey all, I'm excited to say that my Gros Michel has sent up a flag leaf, earlier than I was anticipating!

All the sudden I've got delusions of grandeur after previously resigning myself to never being able to taste homegrown GM fruit!

To be fair, I'm sure someone has fruited it in Central Florida, but I've looked and looked on the forum and can't find any examples, so I figure I'd share my experience!


I got it as a tissue culture plant from sddarkman619 in April of 2020:



I grew it in pots all last year. Knowing this variety's legendary sensitivity to cold, I kept it in the garage over winter. This is what it looked like on a rare-ish 75 degree day at the end of December:




I planted it in the ground February 25th, literally the first day the 10 day weather report showed it wasn't going to get below 50 degrees again. It had limped through winter without getting enough sun, so it was kinda pathetic looking at this point.




I've heard Gros Michels can get to 15' or more, and mine is only about 8', but it seems to match the descriptions of the type. Here is a pic from July of the early morning sun catching those wide open bright red petiole margins just right:




And here it is with the flag leaf today, September 2nd:




I know it's still going to be a fight to get fruit off of it before it gets cold again. We've probably got right at 3 months left before it gets too consistently cold for banana growing. I've heard GM types ripen relatively fast, though, thankfully. Does anyone have experience with the cycle time of this type?

Also, if you have any tips for fertilizers/best practices/etc. for really pushing a plant once it has fruited, definitely let me know! Thanks!
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Old 09-03-2021, 07:59 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Gros Michel fruiting in Central Florida

Quote:
Originally Posted by 75north View Post
Hey all, I'm excited to say that my Gros Michel has sent up a flag leaf, earlier than I was anticipating!

All the sudden I've got delusions of grandeur after previously resigning myself to never being able to taste homegrown GM fruit!

To be fair, I'm sure someone has fruited it in Central Florida, but I've looked and looked on the forum and can't find any examples, so I figure I'd share my experience!


I got it as a tissue culture plant from sddarkman619 in April of 2020:



I grew it in pots all last year. Knowing this variety's legendary sensitivity to cold, I kept it in the garage over winter. This is what it looked like on a rare-ish 75 degree day at the end of December:




I planted it in the ground February 25th, literally the first day the 10 day weather report showed it wasn't going to get below 50 degrees again. It had limped through winter without getting enough sun, so it was kinda pathetic looking at this point.




I've heard Gros Michels can get to 15' or more, and mine is only about 8', but it seems to match the descriptions of the type. Here is a pic from July of the early morning sun catching those wide open bright red petiole margins just right:




And here it is with the flag leaf today, September 2nd:




I know it's still going to be a fight to get fruit off of it before it gets cold again. We've probably got right at 3 months left before it gets too consistently cold for banana growing. I've heard GM types ripen relatively fast, though, thankfully. Does anyone have experience with the cycle time of this type?

Also, if you have any tips for fertilizers/best practices/etc. for really pushing a plant once it has fruited, definitely let me know! Thanks!
Looks like a nice growing plant
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Old 09-03-2021, 11:06 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Gros Michel fruiting in Central Florida

Thanks for the photos. That's a big one to get to flower regardless of the time of year. You have great variety of plants and are having terrific success this year. Keep us updated on the development. Congratulations.
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Old 09-03-2021, 11:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Gros Michel fruiting in Central Florida

A healthy dose of water soluble K is about all you can do to push the bunch along, leave on as long as you can before it starts regularly getting into the 40s and definitely harvest before any potential of frost. They can ripen at pretty much any stage of maturity as long as they start filling out.
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Old 09-05-2021, 04:53 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Gros Michel fruiting in Central Florida

Congratulations!
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Old 09-05-2021, 05:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Gros Michel fruiting in Central Florida

Congrats. Last I checked we are expecting a el Nino pattern, which prevents freezes. I bet they should finish.
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Old 09-17-2021, 09:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Gros Michel fruiting in Central Florida

Update: 9 hands. I'm a little worried that this bunch is gonna be too big to ripen as quickly as I need it to.

Does anyone know of any data regarding how much trimming hands/removing the male bud can speed up ripening?

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Old 09-21-2021, 11:45 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Gros Michel fruiting in Central Florida

This is simply amazing.
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Old 09-22-2021, 01:41 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Gros Michel fruiting in Central Florida

Remove the bud and the lower 2-3 hands to push along the rest. The more you prune the larger the others may be able to get, but you want to balance it with having an ample amount of fruit. Also, bagging it can speed it along.
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Old 09-22-2021, 09:44 AM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Gros Michel fruiting in Central Florida

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Remove the bud and the lower 2-3 hands to push along the rest. The more you prune the larger the others may be able to get, but you want to balance it with having an ample amount of fruit. Also, bagging it can speed it along.
Thanks, Gabe! It's good to get your confirmation that removing the bud will help them fill in more quickly - it makes sense to me intuitively, but some people are adamant that it doesn't make any difference.

And good tip about bagging! I wouldn't even have considered it otherwise.
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Old 09-22-2021, 09:48 AM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Gros Michel fruiting in Central Florida

Very nice. Last year this story wouldn't have meant much to me because of my limited knowledge but today I am very excited for you. Great work.
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Old 09-22-2021, 10:52 AM   #12 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Gros Michel fruiting in Central Florida

Be careful when bagging your bunch. I used a giant clear plastic bag and left the bag open on the bottom for air circulation. Unless you have a specialized bag condensation needs to be monitored. Higher day temps can cause condensation which can lead to fungus and damage to the bunch.
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Old 09-22-2021, 12:21 PM   #13 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Gros Michel fruiting in Central Florida

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Be careful when bagging your bunch. I used a giant clear plastic bag and left the bag open on the bottom for air circulation. Unless you have a specialized bag condensation needs to be monitored. Higher day temps can cause condensation which can lead to fungus and damage to the bunch.
Thanks! Yeah, based on a little research going through old posts it looks like fashioning a bag out of frost cloth seems to be the way to go.
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Old 09-22-2021, 03:50 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Gros Michel fruiting in Central Florida

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Originally Posted by 75north View Post
Thanks, Gabe! It's good to get your confirmation that removing the bud will help them fill in more quickly - it makes sense to me intuitively, but some people are adamant that it doesn't make any difference.

And good tip about bagging! I wouldn't even have considered it otherwise.
Removing the bud only, especially after it has grown for some time, does next to nothing. The key is to remove the bud AND lower hands of fruit right as they are exposed. It's really the extra fruit that is a significant energy sink for the plant, but when removing those and trying to get every possible advantage, with one clean cut you can remove the lower hands and the bud at once. Make sure its a clean straight cut with a clean knife, and let the wound dry out well before bagging to reduce risk of possible infection.
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Old 01-28-2022, 04:31 PM   #15 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Gros Michel fruiting in Central Florida

I've got Gros Michels




They've definitely got that classic shape!

I had to harvest them before the predicted freeze this weekend. They aren't quite as filled out as I would like but they should ripen up just fine. Honestly, when it flowered in early September I said I thought we had 3 months of banana growing weather left, and I luckily got nearly 5 months before cold forced me to take them down. And in fact, they are significantly more filled out now than they were at 3 months, despite intermittent cool/cold temps that aren't normally associated with Gros Michel growing. I'm very excited!

Last edited by 75north : 01-28-2022 at 10:20 PM.
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Old 01-29-2022, 11:31 AM   #16 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Gros Michel fruiting in Central Florida

They look nice. Please give us a taste report.

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Old 01-29-2022, 08:02 PM   #17 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Gros Michel fruiting in Central Florida

Congratulations! I want to see the taste report also.
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Old 01-30-2022, 11:36 AM   #18 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Gros Michel fruiting in Central Florida

Congratulations! Look as filled out as any of the Cavendish I've seen at Publix. Good job!
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Old 02-12-2022, 10:19 AM   #19 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Gros Michel fruiting in Central Florida

I just remembered I hadn't updated this with a taste report!



To me, the Gros Michel is slightly better in every way compared to a homegrown Cavendish. I compared the two side-by-side again this morning and the GM has more "banana" flavor with none of the extra slight grassy notes that are present in the Cav.
Additionally, there is just a higher concentration of flavor in the Gros Michel. I would say that a homegrown Cav is itself significantly more flavorful than one from a grocery store, but taking a bite of the Cavendish after eating the GM, it tastes like it has been diluted somehow. The GM also has a very subtle hit of acidity that really nicely balances out the sweetness.

Texture wise, the GM is juicier and creamier and sort of melts in your mouth as you eat it. This is, to me, a big area of improvement over both homegrown and (especially) store-bought Cavendishes, which can have that dry and pasty texture that isn't very pleasant.

I have noticed that as they get slightly overripe the distinctions between the GM and Cav shrink (Gabe mentioned this in a comment on my Instagram a week or so ago and he is absolutely correct). The GM actually does get somewhat pasty when it starts getting significant brown spots on it. At this stage I would say that the two aren't notably different.

Overall though it is really good. Definitely among the best bananas I have tried, and a clear winner for me in the "bananas that taste like a banana" category. There's nothing weird about it flavor-wise - it doesn't taste like apples, or berries, or pineapple, or (thankfully) banana candy - but it is just a really good banana, and I'm very glad to have been able to try it.

Last edited by 75north : 02-12-2022 at 10:24 AM.
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