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Supplying to commercial growers and ….
Kotare Farm Limited has been in operation in Maungatapere Northland since late 2013. Established as a feijoa and fig orchard, Kotare Farm has diversified into bananas and other subtropicals to supply a growing interest amongst horticulturists and plant enthusiasts.
Three years ago the owners planted their first row of 41 bananas sourced from knowledgeable local growers and from the owner’s previous property in Auckland. Within 18 months those bananas had fruited well and improved the property’s crop diversity.
Kotare Farm became interested in the Vision Mātauranga project taking place in the Gisborne region directed by Dr Jane Mullaney from AgResearch. This project was aimed at identifying which bananas were present in NZ, then providing training in tissue culture and identifying skills necessary to grow banana varieties in suitable regions of New Zealand. Kotare Farm donated a large component of the plant material for the AgResearch project. One of the outcomes of the project is that a number of the varieties supplied are now DNA tested and authenticated.
Late last year Kotare Farm established its Nursery and commenced selling to metropolitan garden centres, other plant nurseries, commercial growers, banana enthusiasts and landscape designers.
Dwarf Cavendish plants awaiting dispatch to customer 2021
Kotare Nursery’s most popular banana varieties are grouped as follows:
- Dwarf Cavendish, and other commercial greenhouse or garden feature varieties of Cavendish.
- Lady’s finger types; Misi Luki, Ducasse and Improved Lady Finger – Pacha Naadan.
- Authenticated Honduran hybrids.
Kotare Farm expanded its field-grown bananas by two rows last year and is now growing over 200 plants there including a large number of the authenticated varieties. In addition, the first Kotare Farm indoor trial of Honduran hybrid bananas is taking place in the new greenhouse.
Bananas do have some important requirements. They need protection from wind and frosts, and the growing situation must be free draining for them to survive. Irrigation is also required to maintain satisfactory growth with the addition of selected fertiliser and side dressings of lime, gypsum etc., bananas thrive.
In late winter 2020 Kotare Farm was contacted by a Te Puna grower, Mathew Bergersen who was wanting to convert from indoor grown cut flowers to indoor grown bananas suited to a multi-span greenhouse operation. Given the maximum apex height of over four metres, the varieties selected were: dwarf Cavendish, Double (a sport of dwarf Cavendish) and Raja Puri (a popular Indian lower-growing variety). Photos below show how well these varieties have thrived since planting.
Te Puna at initial planting September, 2020
5 months later at Te Puna January, 2021
Kotare Nursery now has a wide range of bananas available in pots or as stems, together with other subtropical fruiting plants and selected ornamentals. Orders for the plants and stems arrive via the ‘Bananas of New Zealand Aotearoa’ Facebook page or by directly contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
Kotare Nursery supplies bananas to garden centres, and to landscapers who utilise the lush tropical foliage found in some edible and ornamental varieties. Bananas come in a range of heights and growth habits that can fit various garden styles. As well as the edible bananas, ornamental varieties feature bold flowers, red patterned leaves, and some with shocking pink mid-ribs or stark white undersides to the leaves. All of these types can enhance and provide the vertical dimension in both compact and expansive gardens. Bananas nestle well with other subtropicals that thrive in conservatories and the warmer areas of NZ. Kotare Nursery has an up to date stock list and will continue to supply as a wholesale plant nursery and support the expanding banana and subtropical industry in New Zealand.
Garden centre display with Kotare Nursery bananas
Musella lasiocarpa Christchurch Botanical Gardens
Kotare Farm markets its own dessert bananas, and other fresh fruits through North Island supermarkets using its NZGAP Multi-Site Grower certification.