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Tuesday, 17 April 2012

BANANA - An Economical fruit plant to be grown in homestead for tropical region - BANANA

Banana is mainly cultivated for fruit purpose. However it is used as vegetable too. Banana is grown well in tropical low land. It is available in many varieties with fruits of different size and taste. It`s fruits are rich source of vitamins and minerals. Tender leaves of this plant are also used for serving food in some countries including India.   
Nendran Banana planted  
Varieties available in Kerala (India) are Nendran, Monsmarie, Robusta, Giant Governor, Dwarf cawandish,  Chenkadali,  Poovan, Palayankodan, Njalipoovan, Amritsagar, Grosmichel, Karpooravalli, Poomkalli, Koompillakkannan, ChinaliDhudsagar, BRS-1, BRS-2 etc. Some culinary varieties are also available here. These are Monthan, Batheesa, Kanchekela, Nendrapadathy etc.

A Robusta bunch
Palayankodan,Njalipoovan and Koompillakannan can  be easily grown in homestead gardens. These varieties need only water during summer, if the soil is moderately fertile. They can also be grown as ratoon crop without expense. They need only kitchen waste.

A Banana plant given propping
 The planting seasons of Banana are April-May and Sept-October. Suckers are used for propagation of Banana.  Select 3-4 months old healthy and disease free sword suckers for planting. In the case of Nendran, cut back pseudo stem to a length of 15 cm from corm and remove old roots. The rhizomes should be smeared with cow dung solution and ash and dried in sun for about 3-4 days and stored in shade up to 15 days before planting.
Poovan fruits
Plant the suckers in pits of 50x50x50cm size. 10 kg of compost or cow dung may be applied in pit before planting. Plant suckers upright in the centre of pits with 5cm pseudo stem remaining above soil level. Press soil around suckers to avoid hollow air spaces. Two or three plants are enough for a small family.

Banana plants developed by tissue culture
Give irrigation once in 3days during summer. Fertilisers at the rate of 300-400gm Urea, 750-1000gm Superphosphate, and 600-800gm Muriate of potash per plant can be applied for better yield. Apply fertilisers 60-70cm around the plant in two split dozes, first two months and second 4 months after planting. For Nendran apply fertilisers in six equal split dozes at an interval of one month.
Remove and destroy side suckers till the emergence of bunch. Retain only one or two suckers for new planting or ratoon crop.
Pseudo stem weevil, Rhizome weevil and Aphids are the major pests of Banana. To check pest attack select only healthy suckers for planting.  As a preventive measure some FURADAN granules may be applied around the suckers at the time of planting.
Another major threat for growing banana is Bunchy top disease. To control this, destroy infected plants immediately. Spray any one of the organic insect repellents to prevent disease carrier insects.

A healthy Banana plant

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