Banana Cultivation

Cultivars: Poovan, dwarf Cavendish, Robusta, Grand nine, Rasthali, Grosmichel, Virupakshi, Nendran, Monthan.

Planting material:

  • Water sucker: Have broad leaves and broad pseudo-stem and they don’t produce a healthy banana clump and hence not suitable for planting.
  • Sword sucker: It has a strong large base, gradually tapering to a slender point with one or two narrow swords like leaves at the tip. The sword sucker is most vigorous, grows fast and comes in to bearing early.
  • Rhizomes: After harvest, a number of its suckers are encouraged to grow up to 1-2 feet. They are then dug out and their pseudo-stems are completely cut above the solid rhizome and roots removed. The rhizomes weighing about 450-900 grams are stored for two months in a dry place under shade. During storing the bottom remains cut off leaving the heart bud prominent at the top of the rhizome.

 Field preparation: Pits of 45cmx45cmx45cm should be dug at the required spacing of 1.5mx1.5m. The pits should be exposed for weathering for about a week to control the presence of any grubs, ants, weevils etc.

 Climate: The banana is strictly a tropical crop. It is grown in the warm, humid and rainy climate of tropical regions of the equator. It grows well in regions with a temperature range of 10-40 oC and an average of 23 oC. On an average 100 mm rainfall per month appears to be satisfactory for growth of banana. Banana can be grown up to an altitude of 1500m above sea level in the tropics. The hill bananas in Nepal are raised between elevations of 500-1500m mostly under rain fed conditions.

Soil: Even though banana requires heavy irrigation, it cannot with stand water stagnation. It grows successfully in loamy soils, well drained clay soils of delta areas, irrigated medium soils. The production in lighter soils is good. Saline soils with salinity percentage exceeding 0.05 are unsuitable. Banana can grow well even under slightly alkaline soils.

Planting seasons: Jan- Feb and April-May

Fertilizer: 110:35:330 NPK gram per plant per year.

Cultural practices:

Desuckering: During the growth of the mother plant, the suckers arise from its rhizomes from time to time. Suckers should not be allowed to grow near the parent plant till the mother plant starts to flower. At flowering (six months after planting), a vigorous growing sword sucker should be allowed to grow and one more sucker is encouraged to shoot out from the soil when the parent plant matures its fruits.

 Trashing: It is the removal of undesirable material from the banana field like dried, diseased and decayed leaves, pseudo stem after harvest, male bud, last end of inflorescence and withered floral parts.

 Mattocking: After harvest of the bunch, the plant stem should be cut in stages at least after 30-45 days to facilitate mobilization of the nutrients from the mother to the developing ratoon plant. The pseudo stem should be cut leaving a stump of about 0.6m height.

Wrapping of bunches: It is covering of bunches with polythene or gunny cloth that protects the fruits from intense heat, hot wind etc. and improves the color of the fruits.

Tipping: It is the removal of heart or male bud. It should be cut soon after the bunch is formed, otherwise it is likely to use up some of the food, which would otherwise go to the development of fruits.

Removal of floral remnants: The removal of dried and persistent floral remnants present at the apex of the fruit or finger helps in preventing the spread of fungal diseases.

Propping: It is a method by which support is given to banana bearing plants with the help of bamboo, casuarinas or eucalyptus poles, protecting them from bending or falling down due to heavy bunch load and from heavy damage by wind. It is very essential for tall varieties.

Earthing up: It should be done during the rainy season to provide drainage and to avoid water logging at the base. It is to be done once in 2 or 3 months to prevent soil erosion from the basins and to avoid direct contact of water with pseudo stem.

Harvesting: The physical characters like color, shape, size and the ratio between consumable to non-consumable portions are taken in to consideration. Change in color of the fruit from deep green to light green. Fruits should be plump and their angles should have rounded off.

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