This online guide has been created for you to successfully grow a variety of plants that thrive in the tropics, using native seeds and plants to get growing with wise advice from fellow backyard gardeners and farmers.   You are welcome to add your wisdom and share growing and harvest tips and recipes. Send to proorganicbelize@gmail.com

Pro-Organic Belize

Garden Grow Guide

 

Where you are the student and the teacher

 

This online guide has been created to help you to successfully grow a variety of plants that thrive in the

tropics, using native seeds and plants to get groing with wise advice from fellow backyard gardeners and farmers.  You are welcome to ask questions and/or add your wisdom and share and share growing and harvest tips and recipes.

Banana is the featured plant of the month of March 2022 

 

bananas
Botanic name:

 Musa acuminata or Musa balbisiana

 

Plant type: fruit from a herbaceous flowering plant
Sun exposure: 75% to full sun
Soil preference: deep loam, with lots of mulch, bananas tolerate sandy soil, but do not grow as well in wet or hard clay soil.
Soil pH:  the optimal pH is between 6.0 and 6.5, bananas will grow in a wider lower and higher pH ranges
Height: Plant heights range from eight feet to over fifteen feet
Spacing: Allow at least 10 feet between banana plants.

Submitted by Mary Loan

Propagation: The primary method of reproduction is accomplished by separating and transplanting suckers from the main plant when they are between two and three feet tall. Plant rhizomes can also be divided and planted from one to three buds. It is important to ensure that not more than three banana stems are growing from one plant.  The suckers, also called pups, must be culled to allow room for the

plants to be more productive and grow straight.  Tropical farmer and author Deborah Harder,  recommends planting bananas in June or a little later for harvest in about one year.

 

Maturity: When the banana blossoms drops and the fruit begins to color, bunches should be harvested with a machete or serrated knife. The banana bunches or 'hands' ripen best hung in a cool, shaded location.  Allow the sap from the stem to drain outside before bringing it in the house as it is black and

tends to stain.  


Care:
  Plant leaves are sensitive to the wind.  High winds shred leaves and may topple plants.  Plants that are grown in the lee of a house or building fare better than those grown in locations that are exposed to wind.  A high potassium fertilizer, such as chicken manure, is recommended. Bananas are more productive when irrigated, especially during the time that bananas are developing.  Banana plants are prone to nematodes that harm the root systems.  There is a lot of information about how to control nematodes with scalding hot water to be found on an internet search.

 

Several varieties of bananas thrive in Belize.  Including Apple Bananas, Blogos, Plantains, Cuban, Golden Beauty, Palapita.  A banana shoots and pups swap could help expand your banana growing and eating experience.

 

Bananas are a favorite and versatile fruit, generally enjoyed when ripe, peeled and eaten out of hand.

Unripe bananas can be used like a vegetable and cooked in soups and casseroles, or fried.

 

Bananas are rich in taste and nutrition featuring vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, tryptophan and selenium.

 

Banana leaves have been used for centuries to wrap food and cook.  Food can be eaten right from the leaf which adds a subtle sweet flavor.  Large banana leaves have been used as umbrellas and to provide

shade.

 

Banana peels, washed and blended with or without the banana are said to be a cure for anemia.  This may be an acquired taste.  Banana peels are said to whiten teeth if the inside of the peel is rubbed on the teeth for about one minute daily.  They are handy way to take the itch and pain from a bug bite, remove warts and act as a facial, and blended in a smoothie for fiber and additional nutrients.

 

If interested in helping to organize a regional banana pups swap contact us at proorganicbelize@gmail.com with "bananas" in the subject box  Perhaps a banana festival with recipes made from bananas and exhibits of various bananas and banana products.