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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 12-03-2012, 01:26 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Question Compost at any time of the year?

Looking at my banana plants at this time of the year: they look sad. A lot of leaves have become yellow. It is probably because of winter and we already had a few nights down to the low 40F. I am careful with water (actually have not watered other than the little rain we got). Did not fertilize for about a month either.
I was wondering if it would be beneficial to add compost and mulch as a soil amendment at this time of the year, mix in some gypsum to soften my clay soil or if it would rather increase the possibility of damaging the corm and/or the plants root system as it might cause rot, especially because of the low night temperatures at this time of the year? Any opinions on that?
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:34 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Compost at any time of the year?

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Originally Posted by crazy banana View Post
Looking at my banana plants at this time of the year: they look sad. A lot of leaves have become yellow. It is probably because of winter and we already had a few nights down to the low 40F. I am careful with water (actually have not watered other than the little rain we got). Did not fertilize for about a month either.
I was wondering if it would be beneficial to add compost and mulch as a soil amendment at this time of the year, mix in some gypsum to soften my clay soil or if it would rather increase the possibility of damaging the corm and/or the plants root system as it might cause rot, especially because of the low night temperatures at this time of the year? Any opinions on that?
If your soil is as bad as mine I think anything you add to it can only make it better even at this time of year
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:01 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Compost at any time of the year?

You could always just lay some compost on the surface and let nature do it's thing.
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:56 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Compost at any time of the year?

I agree with Tony and Mitchel. I would only put mulch on the surface (i.e., don't work it in to the soil) and let it break down naturally, which will improve the clay. At this time of year, I wouldn't put down a super thick layer, maybe only a few inches thick, and I'd keep it maybe a foot away from the corm, just to minimize the possibility that the corm will rot. Unless you know your soil is calcium deficient (which is unlikely), I wouldn't add any gypsum. I went down that path. It ended up contributing to a boron deficiency because the two chemicals are antagonists. Regular application of good mulch that breaks down will improve your soil more than gypsum will, I think. My yard is all that nasty clay, too.

But you are right, it is weather that is making your plants look sad. Just wait until February or March and most of the banana plants in So Cal will look pretty sad.
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Old 12-03-2012, 03:45 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Compost at any time of the year?

get some worms and let them help in mixing the compost with the soil. They also add a lot of good aeration which could help with drainage. Good growing.
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Old 12-03-2012, 07:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Compost at any time of the year?

I always thought that in times of domancy, it might be problamatic to introduce growth inducing interventions...wait for the other side...spring!
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:02 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Compost at any time of the year?

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I always thought that in times of domancy, it might be problamatic to introduce growth inducing interventions...wait for the other side...spring!
Yes, it is wise to be careful. I wouldn't add lots of fert and water. But the bananas in So Cal aren't actually dormant during our winters -- they just grow very slowly compared to warmer times.
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:31 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Compost at any time of the year?

My intention is to expand the growing area around each individual plant. Originally the plants were planted in holes amended with lots of compost, gypsum and mulched over in about 4' circles. We have put some border edges around them. The tallest plants are about 10 ' , with some nice size pups. So I am pretty sure the roots have already outgrown those circles. Anyways, I think it is good advice to just pile some compost on top of the existing circles and remove some grass and just pile compost and mulch on top of whatever already exists and let nature do its job. Red wigglers are everywhere in my yard, so they probably help as well.
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Old 12-04-2012, 12:10 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Compost at any time of the year?

I am trying cover crops in my yard this winter to break up the clay and add some nitrogen and plant matter to the soil. I like the idea of composting in place with cover crops. I am using Fava and Fenugreek as I read that they have deep roots and help break up clay. Our soil is not good at all, clay and sandstone.

I was also toying with the idea of using forage radish or daikon as well, as it has deep thick roots. I read that some people grow it and then chop the tops and let it all die in the ground. Then all the bugs ans worms eat it and improve the surrounding soil.

In spring I was going to plant clover and/or alfalfa after mowing the other stuff down. I don't know how well this will all work but I guess I will find out.
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