Monday, March 5, 2012

Banana Aquaponics 4

Some new plants came in today from Florida Hill.  I've been trying to build up a collection of the smallest dwarfs to test in my tunnel greenhouse, and FH was the only business I could find that was currently shipping tc's of Zan Moreno and Little Prince (since I'm temporarily constrained on space, I specifically want tc's right now for their smaller starting size and slower initial growth).  And of course I then had to get a Gluay Kai and a pineapple plant, too, to take advantage of their 4-for-1 shipping deal lol.

When I arrived at the post office to pick them up, the postmaster apologized and said that the package had been crushed in transit and looked terrible.  She was right--the package looked like it had been bent in half in multiple directions, and a fairly large hole had been torn in one end (big enough to push a golf ball through). 

I was anticipating some pretty bad plant damage, but they seem to have survived their ordeal.  One of the plants had gotten too cold (it doesn't help when USPS rips big holes in the packaging) and had a blackened leaf that I removed, and another plant had a broken leaf, but all of the p-stems were intact and the plants all seemed to have healthy roots.  The US Postal Service had tried its best to kill them, but the little naners were just too tough :)

Here's a pic to show some perspective on size.  The package was sitting on a blue milk crate which was itself sitting over the top of a 5-gallon bucket.  The four other banana plants in this pic with 16-18" p-stems (30-36" tall overall) arrived from Florida Hill 5 weeks ago with 7" p-stems (about 12" tall overall).  They pushed out about a leaf a week throughout February and seem to be accelerating.  Pretty cool :)

And here are the new additions after being planted in the grow bed.  If we use the Truly Tiny that is in the very center of this pic as our reference point, then the Zan Moreno is at 3 o'clock, the Gluay Khai is at 1 o'clock, and the Little Prince is at 9 o'clock.  [The beautiful plant with wine marks at 10:30 is a Dwarf Cavendish, and the potted plants (along with the little plants in the center of the pic) are Red Lady papaya.  Green beans are at the bottom and left, butternut squash is at the top, and there are a couple of pepper plants in the bottom right.]