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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 06-12-2009, 08:07 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Default Re: We all have a story about how we got started, I'd love to hear yours!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lorax View Post


I can't be unserious all the time.
Quit posting this ..... everyone's going to think it's me.......and it's not funny at all!!!!!!!
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Old 06-12-2009, 08:21 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Default Re: We all have a story about how we got started, I'd love to hear yours!

It could be you.... if you gained about 50 lbs and grew a beard....
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Old 06-12-2009, 08:23 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Angry Re: We all have a story about how we got started, I'd love to hear yours!

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It could be you.... if you gained about 50 lbs and grew a beard....
Don't speak to me!!!
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Old 06-12-2009, 08:28 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Default Re: We all have a story about how we got started, I'd love to hear yours!

Aww. Now what do I have to do to make that up to you? It's not as bad as some of the things I've said about you, you know...
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Old 06-13-2009, 12:25 AM   #25 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: We all have a story about how we got started, I'd love to hear yours!



Lorax and Bob - you two are hilarious!

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Old 06-13-2009, 05:49 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Aww. Now what do I have to do to make that up to you? It's not as bad as some of the things I've said about you, you know...
OK now I've slept on it and it's not even close to some of the pointed words of wit that seem to flow effortlessly from your fingertips...
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Old 06-14-2009, 03:21 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Default Re: We all have a story about how we got started, I'd love to hear yours!

Alright...just to warn you...this will probably end up being a novel. I'm incapable of writing small passages, especially when telling stories!

I grew up on a farm outside a small town in Iowa (Mount Vernon for you Iowans out there!). My dad grew corn and soybeans and we always had a ridiculously huge garden (200+ tomato plants, 15 10' rows of green beans, 15 zucchini plants, etc etc etc for a family of five....did I mention ridiculous?). Anywho...I was always big on plants and gardening. I got a job around the age of 12 working over the summers for a friend of the family at her farm. She was a biology professor at Cornell College and used her time off during the summer to grow fresh vegetables (mostly organic at the time but I think she may be certified organic now) for people in the area. She had several acres of garden and grew just about every type of vegetable I could think of (and some I could not). One summer, something happened to the banana that was in the Cornell greenhouse....it 'died'...not sure exactly what the full story is. But she took the roots to her farm, cut it in pieces and threw it in the compost pile. Low and behold, they grew into about 7 banana plants. When fall came, she dug some of them up to take back to the greenhouse and asked me if I wanted a couple, knowing I loved plants (and had been ogling them all summer!). Naturally I agreed. I kept my banana plants for years. They stayed in my room over the winter and were planted in the garden during the summer. They had to be cut off at the base several times cause they readily outgrew my 7.5 ceilings inside. No clue what kind they were...they were totally green, full sized, and had pups with no leaves (just a big cone about the size of a golf ball) that would grow into a new plant once I cut the parent plant off.

When I went off to college, I didn't want to risk my mom killing them, so I sent them back to the greenhouse at Cornell. One winter, after a big ice storm, the entire city lost power for about a week and they froze. But apparently one of them did produce bananas before that happened. Since then, I had always wanted to get more, but never had a good place to grow them (living in small, shared dorm rooms with east windows). After college, I got accepted into Optometry school at UMSL in St. Louis. My room here is pretty big and has south-facing windows. I decided it was time to get back into growing bananas. I bought two (SDC and an Ice Cream) and got back started again. Two turned into three when I bought a Ensete Maurelii online, and that turned into 5 after I found a Siam Ruby at a nursery and an Ensete Superbum online. At this point, they are outside on a patio area, but since they will have to come indoors when winter nears, I think I need to control my addiction....but gosh, I still want more!

Yeah, sorry for the novel, but I DID warn you!
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Old 06-14-2009, 03:46 PM   #28 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: We all have a story about how we got started, I'd love to hear yours!

I didn't mind how long your post was, because it was very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

: )
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Old 06-14-2009, 03:47 PM   #29 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: We all have a story about how we got started, I'd love to hear yours!

It was back in 2006 or 2007 i had heard of Banana plants and i knew they were cold hardy where i was so- Musa basjoo) i was out one day with my mother. we were on our way to a festival. We passed a flower shop with hundreds of tropical s outside. I yelled stopp!!!!!! and ran over to then.There in the back was a somewhat tall banana, only one . So I said Mom Mom can i get it? it was only ($20) The plant was close to 5'2 and no pups . I ended up getting it and that winter Dec (i got it in Sept) back when i had no idea how to care for them over watered it and Rotted The following summer i was at Dominion now called Metro and i was walking in and saw cold hardy banana sign and it started all over again. And to this day im still collecting banana plants . Oh what fun . And when I'm a legal age I'm a commin down there to the sunshine state to live. Im so sick of these cold long winters. living there would give me a hole year for the growing season which is exactly what i would like.
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Old 06-14-2009, 04:23 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Cool Re: We all have a story about how we got started, I'd love to hear yours!

((Sigh)) Where to begin...

It was a dark and stormy night...

I am an avid Home-schooling Mother of 5 children, aged 20(graduated, now college), 14(8th grade), 9(5th grade), 5(1st grade) & 3years old(PS).
My husband & I seek to educate in a highly interactive, hands on applicable based atmosphere.
These kids want to do everything, LOL! We just put in a NP205 into our old Ford, a double stick, new front & rear driveshafts...everyone got in on a piece of that!

In our never-ending quest to find new & interesting projects to teach the children, we decided to put in a garden, with something besides your standard plants.
I have always had an annual & perennial bed & roses...my husband has had his Salsa Garden, and general vege's...we needed something more exciting!!

So there we are...perusing the internet for exotic stuff to grow...and 'Voila!'...BANANAS!!!

The kids about lost their minds... The littlest loved the musa dasycarpa, she loves PINK!! (We aren't growing any currently & will look towards that in the future.)
We started researching what bananas would fit in & not overwhelm our little 1/3 acre plot, we have a strange layout & had the pool to consider. We have next to no East or North yard, most of our free space on the West side & the front of the House faces South with crappy water lines buried lines that we have to watch out for in front yard.
So we decided on the Dwarf Orinoco's based on their attributes(and our limitations), capable of growing in Zone 7, 4-6 ft. tall, a fruiting banana(yummy) & capable of being grown containerized.

And so it began...a journey into the unknown...

So here we are!!! Learning from the information here, and LOVING the interactivity & friendliness of the people here on the Forum!!

Have a great week-end All!! Enjoying the thread!! ~Cheryl
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Old 06-14-2009, 05:09 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Default Re: We all have a story about how we got started, I'd love to hear yours!

Alright, another homeschooler! I did 9-12 at home, and it was infinitely better than anything I got in the public schools....
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Old 06-14-2009, 08:24 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Default Re: We all have a story about how we got started, I'd love to hear yours!

Here is my novella. Its a long winded and rambling yarn:

I live in Charleston which sits on a peninsula nestled between the Ashley and the Cooper rivers on two sides and Charleston Harbor on the third. The water seems to be able to moderate the temperatures some from the standard USDA zone map.

Being a relatively old city, the genteel residents have adorned their houses with ornate gardens and unusual plants from the days back when the city was settled. One of the plants that seemed to do well was the Banana.

Downtown Charleston has many secret fenced gardens and protected courtyards. The protection has allowed banana plants to do extremely well, often overwintering with very few leaves lost. When one has successful plants they are given away to friends and neighbors and this has happened for decades in Charleston. Needless to say, a stroll down any of the historical residential streets will have usually yield a few bananas plant sightings. As a biology major in college here in the early 80's, seeing large healthy banana plants fascinated me. I often caught Carolina anoles( a type of iguanid lizard able to change colors from brown to green and back again) around the banana plants to feed snakes in our labs(and my apartment).

While I excelled in field biology in college, I opted not to go to graduate school but found work on a flora and fauna rich barrier island known as Kiawah as a naturalist(not a naturist). I was eventually hired to protect a big time Hollywood movie crew from snakes as they shot scenes in serpent dense areas. One thing led to another and I jettisoned my paid naturalist career and was sucked into the better paying entertainment business for films television and commercials.

My jobs took me to tropical lands where my fascination with banana plants increased seeing them in Costa Rica, Mexico, New Orleans, Bahamas, and the Virgin Islands. In the meantime, I bought a house across the river from Charleston in 1992 on James Island. Low and behold there were two struggling banana plants on the shady west side of my new house. I moved them to the east side there they stayed.


I got married and my wife was interested in clumping bamboo for landscaping. I was put in charge of researching it. Somehow, my searches always led me to bananas plants. I saw how people in more colder areas than ours grew bananas and even had luck with fruit, something I never saw while looking at the hundreds of mats in Charleston.

One November, my wife and I ended up in Miami at Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens at the annual Ramble where they fund raise through a plant dispersal, antique sale and arts and craft show. My wife was an invited artist to the show, so I had the better part of 3 days to wander the grounds. In between fetching snacks from Tropical Chinese or deep fried garlicky artichoke hearts, I met Don from Going Bananas and got to see the different types of plants and fruits they had brought to sell.

The following May, I bought some Ele Ele, Basjoo, Ice Cream, Itinerans sp yunann(?) from eBay. I watered and fed them and my original mat of what turned out to be Orinocos. They went from this:

to this:

in one season. The following April, an Orinoco bloomed.

Banana plants were very entertaining and I decided that others might like this entertainment as well. I formed a small company called Simply Bananas to provide locals with an alternate to the either non fruiting types or non cold hardy types sold in local nurseries, or big box home improvement stores. I mostly sell the plants at the Charleston Farmer’s Market every Saturday from April until Labor day.

The Charleston Farmer’s Market was rated 5th best in the country by Travel and Leisure Magazine last year and we have a average attendance of about 3,000 people every Saturday. I’m lucky in that my booth is next to my wife’s so now we get to spend Saturday’s together. Occasionally I’ll place an ad on the Charleston Craigs list if my inventory swells. I don’t do mail order as my current job on the tv show “Army Wives” eats up my daytime hours that once used to be for fishing and postal errands.

I'm in my 4th year with Simply Bananas. While it won't pay all the bills, it does provide a nice vacation to Costa Rica every year as well as a justified tax write-off of a great hobby.




The Simply Bananas Banana Plantation August 2008


FIN.
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Old 06-14-2009, 11:59 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Default Re: We all have a story about how we got started, I'd love to hear yours!

I forgot what started my initial interest in bananas until I dug up a photo of my son and some bananas taken in Madeira, Portugal in November 2004 (posted on another thread a month or two ago). My father's parents immigrated from Madeira about 90-100 years ago and we visited my father's cousin in Madeira and I fell in love with the island and often think I'd like to retire there. Seeing the bananas there in private gardens, etc. were more interesting to me than the bananas I'd seen many times during my times working or vacationing in Hawaii, probably because I could now imagine my grandparents and earlier generations growing them (a distant relative has given me a family tree back 10 generations back to the 16th century).

I have been an Internet junkie since around 1994 (CompuServe) and readily turned to the Internet in early 2005 to search for bananas to try growing. I ran into the web site for the California Rare Fruit Growers and then searched for local chapters. Since I was doing quite a bit of work in the Modesto area at the time, I checked out the San Joaquin Valley chapter and saw that a guy named Jeff Earl had some information about banana growing on the web site along with a TV video, etc. There wasn't any mention of his "California Gold" selection at the time but I wrote him for some suggestions and ended up buying some tissue culture plants on eBay from Wellspring, advertised as being Dwarf Orinoco, Ice Cream, and Rajapuri. As I found out last year, the Dwarf Orinoco are not dwarf nor Orinoco, but something from some mix-up somewhere. I kept these tiny plants in a pot for 2005 and planted them in the ground in the spring of 2006 and was then addicted by their rapid rate of growth. I'm a third generation farmer and we've always been fascinated by the fast growth rate of corn (claims that the corn is growing so fast you can hear it are common), but the bananas were even faster and the huge leaves impressed me a great deal.

I had been lurking around this forum for a bit in late 2006 or early 2007 but the realization in the spring of 2007 that many of my bananas had died down to the ground by an unusually cold spell in January (seven days of low 20s) got me to look on the Internet some more. By then I believe I had met Joe Real on the citrus forum but I had already been visiting here before I discovered he was growing bananas near me. I was quickly fascinated by all of the choices of varieties once I started visiting here regularly. I saw a few folks mentioning the hardiness of California Gold and when I searched about that I was surprised to find it was a banana named by Jeff Earl who had helped me out to begin with. I contacted Jeff and bought a pup from him in person in April 2007 and by the end of 2007 I had around 25-30 cultivars acquired from Joe Real, Jon (pitangadiego), and others. Unfortunately, several of these did not survive being potted up indoors in my heated/lit shop in the winter of 2007/2008 but 2008 did bring about my first bananas which fruited from plants I had started out from scratch with (a very large banana from Joe was transplanted to my place in June 2007 and flowered two weeks later, but I really couldn't take any credit for that).

I've added many other varieties to my collection in 2008 and again earlier this year (thanks, in part, to Richard's AgriStarts offering). I now have around 25 varieties again and expect some of these will die next winter. I don't plan to make a big effort to protect my banana plants like many of the members from colder climates (except that I'll baby a few plants like my Ae Ae) so I just hope to get down to maybe 10 or so varieties that perform consistently for me.

Back in 2007 I thought it was crazy that folks would pay over $100 for something like an Ae Ae or waste their time growing a non-fruiting (ornamental) banana and said that's something I wouldn't ever do. I've since gone against that many times, having paid $100 or more for a banana about seven or eight times (three have died). Still, the rewards of the successes (i.e., my latest Ae Ae leaf from my large plant unfurled today) has made it worth it. As long as the weather warms up to something close to normal before long, I expect several more plants to bloom for me this year.

It's been a fun ride and I hope it is a long one.

Cheers,

Harvey
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Old 06-15-2009, 12:33 AM   #34 (permalink)
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Default Re: We all have a story about how we got started, I'd love to hear yours!

Wow...great write-up and I loved all the pictures! I like this thread cause I feel like I know everyone better now!

Woah...harvey, ya wrote all that up while I was reading the one before! And now I'm feeling a lot better about how much I wrote! LOL. These are all great stories, though! Fun to read and learn about you all!
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Old 06-15-2009, 12:38 AM   #35 (permalink)
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Default Re: We all have a story about how we got started, I'd love to hear yours!

I know myself better now also!

I've only thought about bits and pieces of my own story and had to think about it for a couple of days before posting to this thread.
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Old 06-15-2009, 12:45 AM   #36 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: We all have a story about how we got started, I'd love to hear yours!

I haven't truly gotten started....yet
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Old 06-15-2009, 02:21 AM   #37 (permalink)
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Joy Re: We all have a story about how we got started, I'd love to hear yours!

Quote:
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I haven't truly gotten started....yet
C'mon Pete, I know it's not easy, say it, say it........ now take a deep, deep breath and let the story out and we can have a huge group hug for you.
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Old 06-15-2009, 05:14 AM   #38 (permalink)
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Default Re: We all have a story about how we got started, I'd love to hear yours!

Quote:
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C'mon Pete, I know it's not easy, say it, say it........ now take a deep, deep breath and let the story out and we can have a huge group hug for you.
LMFAO....bananas anonymous!

My name is Bryan and I'm addicted to bananas.....
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Old 06-15-2009, 08:57 AM   #39 (permalink)
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Hi, Bryan! We accept you as one of our own. A banana addiction is not life-threatening, and we promise to enable you at every opportunity.

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Old 06-15-2009, 09:33 AM   #40 (permalink)
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Default Re: We all have a story about how we got started, I'd love to hear yours!

Great stories!
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