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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 09-09-2008, 02:05 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Ice Cream flower/ frost

My Ice cream banana just produced its first flower on September 1st and our normal first frost occurs about the second or third week of November. The second hand is now visible. I read somewhere that it takes 90 days from flower to fruit so this looks like it will loose the race to completely fruit. What are my options if any? Can the cold hardy Ice cream banana take a couple of frost and still produce the fruit?
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Old 09-09-2008, 02:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Ice Cream flower/ frost

There are some ideas posted in my thread at My Mystery Busy Bee Banana.

I have seven hands on this banana now and think I'm going to cut the bud off the flower in a day or two, remove some hands, and possibly even remove many fingers down to 50 or so, hoping these can then mature faster. You don't have that many fingers yet so that may not be necessary. You might also construct an inexpensive temporary shelter for it, even just something directly above your banana to prevent frost (i.e., no sides). Just 4 poles and some poly film on top might extend your season a few weeks.

Good luck!

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Old 09-10-2008, 11:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Ice Cream flower/ frost

I wouldn't leave the bunches out during anything more than a brief, superficial freeze/frost. If it's forecast to frost then cover the bunch with a towel or other cloth covering so the frost can't settle on the fruit.

If I have late-flowering bananas (after Labor Day), I cut the bunch(es) down the day prior to the first freeze and place them on top of the refrigerator. Usually sometime in January they suddenly turn yellow and are quite tasty. I have done this with 'Orinoco' and the only downside is that, if the fruit are very immature, there may be a "core" running down the center of the banana. This can easily be worked around while eating, and the flesh is still delicious. I'm sure you could also use the ethylene gas/apple-in-a-bag treatment if you're in a hurry.

Congratulations on your 'Ice Cream' bloom, I've waited three years with mine here in my 9a garden, and though my clump has turned into a gigantic thing 15-20 feet tall and 6' wide at the base, with stems persisting from last season, still no flowers/fruit. I personally have found 'Ice Cream' to be a disappointment here for that reason, and also because its trunks tend to rot out in winter here more than other types. 'Orinoco' is a dependable bearer, and one that's far superior to even that is 'Belle.' This monster-strong plant was a mere 6" tall pup in June 2007, grew like a weed and the trunk stayed up and firm through 23F and 15 hours below freezing (plus two other good mid-20s freezes), and a large bunch of bananas emerged from the largest stalk this July, 13 months after planting the pup. It is now a large, impressive clump and I look forward to tasting this Philippine variety.

You don't say what part of the country you're in, but I can say that here in the Gulf states, the warm nights usually ripen bananas pretty quickly compared to chilly-evening areas like coastal California. In the latter climate it can certainly take them longer than 90 days to ripen.

Last edited by mnorell : 09-11-2008 at 08:29 AM. Reason: factual corrections
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Old 09-11-2008, 08:22 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Ice Cream flower/ frost

Thanks for the advice. I now have three hands showing and the fourth is about to become visible. This banana flower seems to develop much quicker than my other bananas.
I live on the gulf coast of Louisiana and Gustav just devastated my Orinoco bananas. I have them propped up trying to mature the fruit as much as I can.
The survivors of Gustav were the dwarf Orinoco, dwarf Brazil and Grand Nain. The looser was the Williams Hybrid which was completely uprooted. I am done with the Williams since it is just too cold sensitive.
Again, thanks for the advice.
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