Saturday, July 23, 2011

The End of the Supermarket Banana

The end of the banana market.. brought on by a crazy lethal fungus. *sigh*
This is the problem with monoculture.

If you go to the supermarket you can see at least 5 different types of apples, 3 different tomatoes etc.. problem is you only see 1 type of banana and that's because we only grow Cavendish for market. Why? Because we are so obsessed with perfect look, how it ships, how big it is that we forget about things like taste, assortment, choices!

So this fungus is spreading through Asia and Australia but what if it spreads to Latin America? Since that's where most of our bananas are grown it could and would completely wipe out the supermarket banana.

How can we stop this? Well in short we cant. The fungus can spread so easy.. catch a ride on someones dirty shoe, a single plant brought over from Asia, anything really and that's what scares the crap out of myself and many other people!
My stand is to find and buy as many different types of banana plants I can and grow the crap outta them! Maybe transform my entire front yard into a banana forest!! Well... maybe that's a little much but I'm going to get A LOT..!! : )

Don't have room to plant a banana? Stock up on bananas now.. Mash them up and FREEZE! maybe in 3 years banana bread will be a delicacy and you'll still be able to bake up a batch!


  1. Bananas are a tropical fruit, and banana production is severely curtailed by the cold weather we have here in our sub-tropical environment. Do you have a greenhouse and heater to cover your banana plants and keep them warm when the temperature drops to freezing?

    If I remember correctly, it's like nine months for the plants to mature, and then nine months to finish the fruit. During that time, the plants are going to freeze. They do grow back, but have a very unkempt look in the meantime, unless you take the time to trim all the dead plant material. And, of course, the plant's fruiting cycle is interrupted.

    I'm growing four different varieties of bananas, but I have a greenhouse that I put up to at least cover my two dwarf varieties and get some good production from them.

    Tampa, FL

  2. Hey Jim,
    I do not have a greenhouse or a heater for them but I'm sure I can rig something up. I did some research and read if you cluster them it raises the humidity and tempature in the middle areas giving the plants a better chance. As well as some types of bananas being slightly more cold tolerant. The bananas I recived were lady fingers which have been seen growing widly in ybor city before it was turned into nightclub land. I'm hoping I can get some fruits from these and any tips and tricks you can share will be appreciated as this is my first test with bananas!! : )

    My source:

  3. Greenhouses are easy you can rig one up quick PVC style and two layers of painters clear plastic tarp the heavier the mil spec the better (70 deg. ave temp in below freezing weather.) Also the website, great rescource to fight that darn monoculture! Heavy consumers of nutrients those bananas, crazy.

  4. I'm just trying to help set your expectations, so you're not absolutely crushed when the exposed (i.e., above-ground) parts of your plants are all dead. Been there, done that, multiple times. :^)

    Clumping them together or planting under tree cover might help a little, but only if the temperature dips below freezing for only a very short time (less than an hour?). It isn't going to help with the kinds of freezes we have had here in recent years.

    I'm not aware of any banana variety that will not be seriously affected by multiple, consecutive hours of below-freezing temperatures.

    In my experience, full cover, supplemental heat, or both are needed to bring banana plants through our freezes un-scathed.


  5. Thank you both!!! : ) ill make sure to build a protective cover for them come winter and treat them to lots of compost and kelp!! : ) Jim what do you use for heat?

  6. So far, I've been using electric heaters, either on timers or a Thermocube. I'm on the lookout for an alternative, one that will work if the power goes out.