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  • From: "gorgon zolla" <>
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  • Subject: [NAFEX] Bananas
  • Date: Wed, 29 Oct 2003 10:31:01 -0500

I too had read the doom-and-gloom predictions about banana production. But in my limited reading, it would appear that fungal diseases, insect pests, and nematodes have been major problems in commercial banana culture for decades. It hardly seems that another new race of fusarium could spell the end of the industry. Fusarium-resistant varieties and cultivars have been produced for so many plants that the process is predictable and well understood. The only things unique to the banana are the relative paucity of research dollars and the supposed difficulty of breeding. Though, an 18 month seed-to-seed cycle doesn't seem that long compared to, say, pears.

I wasn't going to mention this because it seems so foolish, but I do have three varieties of banana plants on order from a nursery in Florida and will be trying to grow them out in pots. I'm hoping they will flower in the late summer heat next year and thus set fruit. They are: dwarf Cavendish, dwarf Oronoco, and dwarf Brazilian. Said to be among the more suitable for potted culture. I'll provide a full report in the unlikely event that they do anything.

On a culinary note, I remember visiting West Palm Beach once on business and being given a few bananas from the backyard tree of a colleague who lived there. The fruit were delightful, somewhat sweeter and more flavorful than the storebought varieties. I imagine that the improved quality had more to do with freshness than climate, variety, or culture.

Steve Dunlop
Nerstrand, MN (Zone 4)

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