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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 12-08-2008, 12:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I would like to see specific soil types and suggested remedies. I know Richard has been quite helpful to me in this regard, but I am sure others will also benefit.

For example, rocky, alkaline soil, little water retention
What should be added and how much, how often and when?
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Old 12-08-2008, 12:41 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: a.k.a. Richard's Realm

That is a good suggestion! Thanks for making it as that way we all can learn more....
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Old 12-08-2008, 02:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: a.k.a. Richard's Realm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chironex View Post
I would like to see specific soil types and suggested remedies. ... For example, rocky, alkaline soil, little water retention
What should be added and how much, how often and when?
Note that "little water retention" means we are not dealing with clay soils.
  1. Ideally, treat the soil before planting. Rototill (you'll need a 13.5 HP model for that tough soil) organic material such as cured compost into the soil. You can also add powdered clay at this time -- but be careful. You only need a pint for each 3 cubic feet. There is more information for each plant type at Guides -- Plants That Produce.
  2. In the non-ideal situation, the plants are in the ground and now you realize the soil needs treatment. Start applying liquid humic acid 3 to 5 times per year and slow down in future years as the soil improves. Apply it to the soil and not the plant. It needs to settle in the ground for a week before a big rainstorm. For the 12% concentration from Grow More, use 1/2 teaspoon per gallon per 100 square feet. Do not apply other liquid chemicals either 2 days prior or 1 week after -- otherwise you will make tar. Do not apply on granular fertilizers that have been on/in the ground/mulch for less than 6 weeks.
  3. Continuing the non-ideal situation, you need a water-soluble water-retentive additive. The best of these products are essentially a variety of corn-starch for soils (e.g., Zeba Quench). The retail price for this is not cheap - check your agricultural store. If any of you are interested in acquiring some, please send me a message and I'll obtain an inexpensive source of it and add it to my online inventory -- no obligation to buy.
  4. You need mulch for water retention and to keep the soil cooler during the summer. It needs to be at least 4" thick so that over time it breaks down and sends partially soluble organic material into the soil sub-surface. It needs to cover a large area -- at least 6 feet in every direction from the plant.
  5. Your water source is part of the problem. It is alkaline. Depending upon how the water is delivered to the plants, either (A) add (or inject) 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of a water-soluble low-profile acid fertilizer to each gallon such as 30-10-10, or (B) apply a granular soil conditioner about 3 to 4 times a year around the plants where the water will hit it. Ideally, mix it into the mulch. Do not dig it into the soil - you will damage roots. The Grow Power brand product "Pure 'N Natural" is ideal for this.

There are other, equally valid ways to deal with the situation. The above approach is the most cost-effective method I know of which avoids synthetic chemicals and materials.
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Old 01-18-2009, 10:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: a.k.a. Richard's Realm

Ok Richard, so when should I start using the k-mag stuff I bought from you and how much, how often? It is close to 70 during the day and cools to high 40's/low 50's at night.

Mine are all in containers still and they are the 24" size for the larger bananas. I would guess that they are about 10 gallons in volume.
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Old 01-18-2009, 10:55 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: a.k.a. Richard's Realm

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Originally Posted by Chironex View Post
Ok Richard, so when should I start using the k-mag stuff I bought from you and how much, how often? It is close to 70 during the day and cools to high 40's/low 50's at night.

Mine are all in containers still and they are the 24" size for the larger bananas. I would guess that they are about 10 gallons in volume.
In your location: 1/4 cup this month (now) and 1/2 cup per month thereafter. Monitor the pH before feeding. If it has dropped below 6.0, do not add K-Mag because it also contains acidifying sulfur. However, your water is somewhat alkaline so sooner or later the pH will rise again.

BTW, a 24" wide by 18" high pot is 30 gallons, and a 24" x 12" is 20 gallons.
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Old 01-19-2009, 12:12 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: a.k.a. Richard's Realm

The big pots are 24 x 18 (Home Depot's largest)

How do I apply it? Dissolve it in water, or sprinkle it on top of the soil near the perimeter of the pots?
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Old 01-19-2009, 12:53 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: a.k.a. Richard's Realm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chironex View Post
The big pots are 24 x 18 (Home Depot's largest)

How do I apply it? Dissolve it in water, or sprinkle it on top of the soil near the perimeter of the pots?
Sprinkle on the soil above the roots; i.e., in the midway between the stem and the perimeter. If you have mulch mix it in the top inch, otherwise top with a few inches of 1-inch diameter bark.

Here's something to help with volume estimates. Your pot has an average diameter (width) of 22 inches so the average radius (1/2 width) is 11 inches. The volume of a cylinder pi*r*r*h = pi*11*11*18 ~= 6842 cubic inches. Now type into the Google search bar (or Chrome omni bar):
convert 6842 cubic inches to gallons
It returns
6842 (cubic inches) = 29.6190476 US gallons
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Old 01-19-2009, 12:57 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: a.k.a. Richard's Realm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard View Post
Sprinkle on the soil above the roots; i.e., in the midway between the stem and the perimeter. If you have mulch mix it in the top inch, otherwise top with a few inches of 1-inch diameter bark.

Here's something to help with volume estimates. Your pot has an average diameter (width) of 22 inches so the average radius (1/2 width) is 11 inches. The volume of a cylinder pi*r*r*h = pi*11*11*18 ~= 6842 cubic inches. Now type into the Google search bar (or Chrome omni bar):
convert 6842 cubic inches to gallons
It returns
6842 (cubic inches) = 29.6190476 US gallons
Ok, thanks Richard, I know how, I was just too lazy to do it! lol Kinda have my hands full here with this modified Embryo rescue medium and the ethrel/kinetin soaking solution. Sterilizer is going too, yikes! I appreciate your help.
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Old 01-19-2009, 01:00 AM   #9 (permalink)
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No problem, I appreciate your trials with the wet chemistry. Soon I'll be the one asking the questions on the seed germination thread!
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Old 01-19-2009, 07:38 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: a.k.a. Richard's Realm

Richard,

If I were to buy a big ol' bag of something from you, is there an affordable way to ship to Florida? Using your information a couple weeks ago I was able to find a source in this region of the country for a price that was OK, but shipping was 2X the price of the product. (Something like $20 - $25 for 25Lbs of fert, but $63 shipping.)

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Old 01-19-2009, 09:18 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Richard,

If I were to buy a big ol' bag of something from you, is there an affordable way to ship to Florida? Using your information a couple weeks ago I was able to find a source in this region of the country for a price that was OK, but shipping was 2X the price of the product. (Something like $20 - $25 for 25Lbs of fert, but $63 shipping.)

K / Adrift
I'm surprised there is not an agricultural supply store in your area that you can walk into and buy the product.

Oh well, I'm happy to ship to you: I would send a 25 lb bag via USPS Large Flat Rate Box, currently about $13.
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