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Banana Plant Soil, Additives, and Fertilizer This forum is an area where you may discuss the soil to grow banana plants in, as well as soil additives such as teas, composts, manures, fertilizers and related topics.


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Old 08-22-2009, 04:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default The best thing you can do for your garden!

What if I told you I had a product that would fertilize your plants, improve the structure of your soil, add greatly to the amount of earth worms which in turn would gradually "till" the garden for you and benefit the roots of your plants due to the added microbial activity in the soil. How about if I added that it was completely environmentally sound and would decrease the amount of space used in landfills. How much would you pay? How about if it were absolutely free!!!!
I'm speaking of compost of course and you should be making it if you're not already. Compost piles are simple to create and can be adjusted to any rural suburban or even an urban setting.
Simply put compost is the result of decayed organic matter that turns in to a crumbly mix saavy gardeners view as "Black Gold". At home I make an open pile starting in the fall with leaves gathered from the lawn that would normally be carted off to the recycling center. I pile them up and have found that making a few passes over the pile with a lawnmower shreds them up better than a chipper. Rake up in to a small mound and start adding kitchen scraps, refuse from the vegetable garden( not if it has any signs of disease), grass clippings if you bag them. Any of your neighbors bagging their leaves or grass clippings? All those banana peels, onion ends, celery bottoms, spoiled fruit.....you get the idea, contain valuable nutrients as well as plenty of bulk organic matter that is beneficial to your plants. The trick is to add any dried brown material such as the leaves (straw or hay is great as well) with wet green materials(the kitchen scraps and grass clippings).If I have any left over commercial organic fertilizers these are added as well. Since I live near the ocean and fish during the fall I always gather trash bags full of seaweed washed up on the shores during storms. Seaweed is known to contain virtually all the trace elements known to man and adds bulk to the pile. If you don't have access to this bagged greensand , a mined mineral product that originated in ancient sea beds will do the same and since its not water soluble will benefit from the microbial activity in the pile. If you have access to horse stable sweepings or other manures these can be added as well. Many farmers (horse stables are a great source here) are more than happy to get rid of this "waste".There wont be much activity during the cold months but it will quickly resume with warmer spring weather. Not much work to do after this but if you're a bit ambitious turning the pile over with a pitchfork will increase the rate of decomposition. Sometime during late fall mornings the pile will actually be steaming from the internal heat generated from all the unseen "action" If you add enough kitchen scraps you'll probably discover the pile is filled with earthworms adding their own beneficial castings to the mix. Think of it as a "lasagne" the more different ingredients the better. Everyone has their own "recipe". If you're in an urban or other setting wher an open pile isn't appropriate a trash can with a few holes for aeration would work and there's always commercial compost bins that would serve well also. While compost is generally not viewed as a complete fertilizer ,experience has proved to me that its got to be pretty darn close if you're conscientious about adding various components.
When the compost is done you wont be able to recognize most of the ingredients. Simply apply as a top dressing or till shallowly in to the top layer of garden soil where the worms will till it in for you.
Get started now , you'll be glad you did.
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Old 08-22-2009, 04:12 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: The best thing you can do for your garden!

If you don't want to use chemical salts in your garden, then for heaven's sake don't use mulch, compost, or manure. There's 2% or more in every shovelful of the stuff !!
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Old 08-22-2009, 04:15 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: The best thing you can do for your garden!

Look at the picture of my plants. Even with the seaweed added the salts leach out. I've never had any trouble. My cooperative extension agent has been impressed by the results of my soil tests as well.
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Old 08-22-2009, 04:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: The best thing you can do for your garden!

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Look at the picture of my plants. Even with the seaweed added the salts leach out. I've never had any trouble. My cooperative extension agent has been impressed by the results of my soil tests as well.
Bob, you are completely misunderstanding the word "salts". The nutrition in your compost, mulch, and seaweed is composed of salts!
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Old 08-22-2009, 04:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Question Re: The best thing you can do for your garden!

Fair enough, I don't have the credentials or full understanding but don't see how they are hurting my garden. I've been doing it this way for 20 years and gardening for 40. My successes over that span speak for themselves.
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Old 08-22-2009, 04:51 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: The best thing you can do for your garden!

I couldn't agree more Bob. I have been doing it for years and the combination of improved soil condition along with the commercial fertilizer has allowed me to grow plenty of veggies in a very small space here in the city.

As for the salt(s), it is like I said in another post--it is not the presence of salt(s) but the concentration (or everything here would be dead for miles inland due to salt spray when we have hurricanes).

BTW --just to make it clear, pretty much everything that plants take up are salts or ions--whether it is an ammonium ion, a nitrate ion, a potassium ion--it is part of a salt--they do not take up much in the way of non-ionic macro molecules although they do take up some.
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Old 08-22-2009, 05:17 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: The best thing you can do for your garden!

Haha, Bob, I've gone vermicomposting quite a short while ago. And vermicomposting I am. Almost anything that can be vermicomposted.
The greatest advantage is the time I gain (the pile you would compost 2 years is finished within weeks here) and also the outcome is very similar, if not directly in favor of vermicompost.
Also one big advantage: Virtually little or no smell, cascading is more than useful (not too much space) and also the lovely feling, that there's an army of 500 mouths (so far) waiting for you to feed them! Buhahaahaa
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Old 08-22-2009, 05:44 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: The best thing you can do for your garden!

Great thread Bob!
Way to go!
Hmm, I still have a lot to learn
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Old 08-22-2009, 06:00 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: The best thing you can do for your garden!

Bob,
I did not mean to imply that you are hurting your plants or doing anything wrong. I was "trolling" for misunderstanding of "chemical salts" and found it.

I applaud what you are doing with your garden (for free!) and think more people should do it with their ornamental plants. The materials you are using initially supply about 400ppm (parts per million) of major nutrients to the plants at the first watering, then decreasing geometrically to near zero in 1 to 3 months. The nutrients contained in your materials are in the form of chemical salts. The remaining mass is about 95% fiber plus compounds ignored by plants.

Your materials are insufficient for my fruiting plants. I supply my subtropicals with about 100ppm of Nitrogen and 66ppm of Potash in the water supply, along with the other minor- and micro-nutrients found in your materials. These all come from naturally occuring compounds that have been concentrated into water-soluble salts. I use them because (1) the proportion of nutrients is known (2) they are not harmful to me or the environment as a whole when used responsibly (3) I don't have to deal with a cubic yard of fiber per plant -- which I would using your materials to obtain the desired dosage.
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Old 08-22-2009, 06:02 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: The best thing you can do for your garden!

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Great thread Bob!
Way to go!
Hmm, I still have a lot to learn
Large pile of compost in hot and dry Croatia = smell in half the Europe.
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Old 08-22-2009, 06:03 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: The best thing you can do for your garden!

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large pile of compost in hot and dry Croatia = smell in half the Europe.
haha, dont talk about dry days. Still nothing .
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Old 08-22-2009, 06:04 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Thumbs up Re: The best thing you can do for your garden!

Thanks Richard and all. I enjoy hearing all the points of view and coming to some reasonable conclusion.,,,,,,,,,,and learned something along the way, thats what its all about.
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Old 08-22-2009, 06:26 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: The best thing you can do for your garden!

Richard, how do you calculate that ppm factor for the fertilizers and composts? Do you think it is wiser to make various solutions (rich mineral water, like we have here everywhere, mixed with compost/vermicompost/fertilizer) and used for irrigation instead of plain water? What is the best way of continuous mineral and nutrient delivery to the plants without cascading decrease of nutrient values?
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Old 08-22-2009, 06:49 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: The best thing you can do for your garden!

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Richard, how do you calculate that ppm factor for the fertilizers and composts?
For the fertilizers, I know what rate I want (100ppm N in most cases). I use a published chart that gives how much weight of the fertilizer to use per gallon of water to achieve various delivered concentrations.

For the composts, I am relying on university publications.

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Do you think it is wiser to make various solutions (rich mineral water, like we have here everywhere, mixed with compost/vermicompost/fertilizer) and used for irrigation instead of plain water?
1st decide what your nutrition needs are, then determine the most environmentally responsible and economically prudent method.

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What is the best way of continuous mineral and nutrient delivery to the plants without cascading decrease of nutrient values?
Buffered water soluble fertilizers containing micronutients and other biotics.
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Old 08-25-2009, 06:46 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: The best thing you can do for your garden!

I do the exact same thing here & my garden is about the best around here. I keep a bucket in the kitchen for coffe grounds, potato peelings etc & dump it in a garbage cart with holes drilled in it. I bungee the lid down & roll it around to mix. When I dump it in garden I see it steaming in fall.
Well written Bob, but then to be followed with THIS! Hope no one is discouraged from using compost or manure. It IS black gold.

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If you don't want to use chemical salts in your garden, then for heaven's sake don't use mulch, compost, or manure. There's 2% or more in every shovelful of the stuff !!
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Old 08-25-2009, 07:37 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: The best thing you can do for your garden!

i dig a hole and place the scraps in that so i don't have a big pile of stuff in my already over crowded garden i have found it holds the water in better i have problims with dehydration of my compost so it taks longer to brake down
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Old 08-25-2009, 07:47 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Thumbs up Re: The best thing you can do for your garden!

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i dig a hole and place the scraps in that so i don't have a big pile of stuff in my already over crowded garden i have found it holds the water in better i have problims with dehydration of my compost so it taks longer to brake down
That sums up the point better than I could Pauly, every thing you do to make your garden even 1% better has to add up. If you were only going to throw it out , why not let it benefit the garden? Your adapting it to your own situation is how it should be done for everyone since all of our living situations and conditions are not the same.
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Old 08-25-2009, 07:48 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: The best thing you can do for your garden!

Im with you Bob on the compost its the best and all of the crap i can get i dont know anything about seaweed.
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Old 08-25-2009, 07:52 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: The best thing you can do for your garden!

Shannon, that's just me using what I have available, you probably have different things that are good that I wouldn't find here..just the nature of it .
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Old 08-25-2009, 08:16 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: The best thing you can do for your garden!

Twice a year(spring and fall) I gather grass clippings and feed them to the banana plants. I use big free bags from around the neighborhood. The banana roots actually grow up through the old grass sometimes. I also add kitchen vegetable/coffee/eggshell/shrimp peel/ fish head surplus to the bananas directly. No complaints.

I learned this early on(20 years before I grew bananas) when my anthropoply professor told me in that his Caribean country, household bananas plants were ' garbage disposals' for kitchen kitchen scraps.
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