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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 07-16-2009, 08:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default How do I feed banana plants on a shoestring budget?? Eleanorís VF-11

Hi friends, my question involves the reality that I don't need bargain nutrients, I need bargain basement nutrients. I really need to find the cheapest way to feed my new banana plants. I just today planted my new Praying Hands rhizomes. My quest for a cheap plant food led me to the local Orchard Supply Hardware store. There I purchased Eleanor's VF-11. The slogan says "seems like magic." This was on sale for $14.99 for a one gallon bottle (reg price $16.99). The label does specify that it is beneficial for banana plants. There is a recommendation not to use in conjunction w/ other products, stating that "it wants to work alone." My questions are as follows: Is this product adequate for banana plants? Does anyone know of anything cheaper? I would appreciate any feedback regarding this product and/or concerning feeding banana cheaply. Here is the web: Eleanor's of California
Here is the label:
[IMG][/IMG] [IMG][/IMG]
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Old 07-16-2009, 09:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do I feed banana plants on a shoestring budget?? Eleanorís VF-11

You essentially paid $15 for less than 5 grams of N, about 1 oz of P and less than one oz of K. It is working like a miracle!

You would do much better with a slow release fertilizer like Dynamite or Osmocote with minors--something like 18-6-12 and would get a lot more of what your plants need for less than $10.
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Old 07-16-2009, 09:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do I feed banana plants on a shoestring budget?? Eleanorís VF-11

Given the contents of the product, it is not a fertilizer but instead a nutrition supplement.

The ratios of nitrogen to phosphate and potash are 1 - 5 2/3 - 3 2/3. It will stimulate enough root growth to absorb the micronutrients and plant hormones. This will be a benefit to plants that have no other source of nutrients. Otherwise the ratios are a poor choice for most plants.

The price of the product is ridiculously high. At 0.15% nitrogen, you are paying approximately $1200 per pound of nitrogen. A water-soluble fertilizer from a "big-box" store is usually $15 to $25 per pound of nitrogen. A discount or wholesale supplier has complete fertilizers with micronutrients at around $10 per pound of nitrogen.
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Old 07-17-2009, 01:24 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: How do I feed banana plants on a shoestring budget?? Eleanorís VF-11

For three years, each work day I drove past an ugly industrial building on the railroad tracks just outside town. I saw trucks and workers come and go. They had no sign. Had no clue what they made or did. Completely by accident a month or six weeks ago I found out it was a fertilizer plant, and yes they sold retail! As far as I know it is you-pick-up, no mail order.

Pelleted 12-4-12 "palm fertilizer" with minors is something like $29 for a 50 Lb bag. (Plus tax, etc.)

"Greenhouse grade" (soluble, but a little dirty) potassium nitrate (13-0-44) in 50Lb bags for $45. At a teaspoon per gallon, it lasts and lasts...

(It is possible I have those prices reversed, but I don't think so.)

If you want a custom mix, you have to buy 5 tons. I'm not there yet.
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Old 07-17-2009, 01:45 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do I feed banana plants on a shoestring budget?? Eleanorís VF-11

is that worm tea?
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Old 07-19-2009, 12:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do I feed banana plants on a shoestring budget?? Eleanorís VF-11

Last fall i grabbed 4 bags of 10-10-10 (40lb) bags someone was throwing out! Can't get any cheaper then that. The stuff was really old and some was kind of wet, but i don't care.
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Old 07-19-2009, 12:27 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: How do I feed banana plants on a shoestring budget?? Eleanorís VF-11

ummmm....anyone heard of compost????? you know, the kitchen scraps that you throw out everyday......doesn't get much cheaper than that....FREE...
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Old 07-19-2009, 06:06 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do I feed banana plants on a shoestring budget?? Eleanorís VF-11

Let me second the compost, if you don't throw plant materials away you don't loose the nutrients, plus clean kitchen scraps should be looked at as plant (and worm)food. You can always "spike" it too with whatever fertilizers present themselves inexpensively or free such as stable sweepings or store bought AND your soil will have more microbial activity that invigorates the roots more than anything.
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Old 07-19-2009, 06:06 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do I feed banana plants on a shoestring budget?? Eleanorís VF-11

Quote:
Originally Posted by kikoricco View Post
ummmm....anyone heard of compost????? you know, the kitchen scraps that you throw out everyday......doesn't get much cheaper than that....FREE...
1 full pound of composted, dried kitchen scraps is equivalent to only 1 Tablespoon of a water-soluble complete fertilizer (e.g., 20-6-16), the retail cost of which is 5 cents.
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Old 07-19-2009, 06:38 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do I feed banana plants on a shoestring budget?? Eleanor’s VF-11

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard View Post
1 full pound of composted, dried kitchen scraps is equivalent to only 1 Tablespoon of a water-soluble complete fertilizer (e.g., 20-6-16), the retail cost of which is 5 cents.
But, that 1 pound of finished compost is very beneficial to the soil. Not comparing the two, just stating the obvious. That one pound of compost at the land fill does nothing for "your" soil, and it is free.
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Old 07-19-2009, 08:22 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do I feed banana plants on a shoestring budget?? Eleanorís VF-11

Quote:
Originally Posted by momoese View Post
But, that 1 pound of finished compost is very beneficial to the soil. Not comparing the two, just stating the obvious. That one pound of compost at the land fill does nothing for "your" soil, and it is free.
Compost is an excellent element of soil mixes: I use it myself. If you add it to the surface, it should always be covered with a thick layer of mulch. For difference between compost and mulch, please see Info:Fertilizer - Bananas Wiki.
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Old 07-19-2009, 10:07 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do I feed banana plants on a shoestring budget?? Eleanorís VF-11

Lowe's in my area sells torn bags of fertilizer for 1/2 price when available. That's the cheapest I've found.
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Old 07-19-2009, 10:51 PM   #13 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: How do I feed banana plants on a shoestring budget?? Eleanorís VF-11

How about burying some dried banana peels in the soil around the plants, for some added potassium!

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Old 09-01-2009, 05:55 PM   #14 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: How do I feed banana plants on a shoestring budget?? Eleanorís VF-11

Elenor's VF-11
Well, I decided that my bananas needed a little more sustenance then Eleanor's VF-11 could provide. However, I did buy another bottle of this mild product, as I feel that it is a great foliate spray-nutrient. I also maintain some vegetables in deep-water-culture. Eleanor's VF-11 is a clear/clean liquid fertilizer that seems perfectly suited for DWC and other hydroponics setups. My banana plants seemed to maintain consistently hearty growth, while using Elenor's VF-11. The high price-tag and low-level nutrients makes this product inadequate for a cheap all-purpose plant food. I also maintained the plants under 24/7 lights, which may have contributed to maximum plant growth.

Alaska Sprayable All Purpose Plant Food
My quest for a cheap plant food from a "Big Box" store led me to buy a soluble plant food called Alaska.

[IMG][/IMG]

I have been using Alaska for about two weeks now. I do feel that I can see even more rapid plant growth in that short time (hard to say, I have only been growing the Praying Hands for about six weeks total). This product is made with all natural ingredients like fish, bone and blood meals, sulfate of potash, and ferrous carbonate. The packaging bills this product as "the all natural alternative to commonly used synthetic fertilizers." Do you think they are referring to Miracle Grow? As you can see, the front of the package does not state that you can "use on" fruiting plants. However, the back label does specify a product-mixture especially for fruits. When mixed with water, this product becomes a black and frothy mixture that is somewhat stinky/pungent, needing frequent remixing. I use a water can with spout holes to provide some aeration to the water. There is a handy tablespoon measuring cup provided for easy measuring.
This product is produced by the Lilly Miller Brands company (Clackamas, Oregon) Here is a link to the site - Lilly Miller :: Alaska Brand
I purchased the product at my local Lowe's hardware store for $9.99. The dry powder came in a five pound box. I did see this product on Lowe's website for the same price.
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Last edited by FamilyManDude : 09-01-2009 at 09:28 PM. Reason: Corrected word misuse.
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Old 09-01-2009, 06:20 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do I feed banana plants on a shoestring budget?? Eleanorís VF-11

I just bought a 40 lb bag of 10-0-10 from Walmart for about the same price-- 8 times as much N and abour 20 times as much K. The 3 new bananas I bought in July have grown from about 10" to over 3 ft in a little over a month after being fed a small handful every couple weeks.
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