PLANTING PHASE IN BANANA FARMING
Planting should be done at the beginning of a rainy season, as banana suckers need 4-6 months of growth without water stress. It is always important for a farmer to understand the impact of timely planting (at the onset of the rains) on productivity.
- Seed selection: A farmer can select seed or plant varieties based on various factors including yield, use, pests and disease resistance, drought tolerance and maturity period. Planting materials can be tissue culture plantlets and/or suckers.
- Tissue culture plants are healthy, pest & disease-free plants, grow uniformly and vigorously.
- Suckers: When planting suckers, sword suckers are preferred to water suckers for their vigour and strength. Suckers must be corm pared to ensure they are free of weevils and nematodes. It is also not advisable to transfer soil from one plantation to another because of the risk of cross-infection.
Planting the Corm:
Planting banana corms is quite straightforward. Once the planting hole is dug, simply place a corm in the centre of the hole. The corm should sit upright on its flat bottom.
The topsoil that was excavated when the planting hole was dug should now be mixed with manure or fertilizer and put back into the hole around the corm to fix it in place. Put more topsoil on top of the corm, but do not bury it completely. The top of the corm should be 1 inch below the surface of the soil.
Do not compact the soil when putting it back – looser soil will improve both water percolation and aeration.
It is important to retain the unfilled space of the hole (basin) above the corm. This will serve to capture water when it rains, and will make the application of organic matter and/or pesticides to the plant easier.
How to plant tissue culture plantlets:
- When planting, make a depression in the middle of the hole.
- Remove the polythene wrap while maintaining the soil, place in the hole and cover the plant up to the root collar; or the point where the leaves begin to grow.
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