First trial plants arrive soon
Last year I wrote the article – ‘Bananas growing in NZ greenhouses”, news/post/bananas-growing-in-nz-greenhouses/
I have recently ordered several banana varieties that I will be trialling. The New Zealand banana industry/production is in its infancy, I predict it will be a niche market for certain varieties in the near future. Long term it is still far too hard to tell.
I will be planting in both coir substrates bags and in the soil. Initially it will be to become familiar with plant growth and monitor the performance of the two different substrates. With the variety I have been able to source I am looking for a short plant that will not grow too tall before producing. Older greenhouses in New Zealand are approximately 3.5-4.5 meters to the gutter. If it is viable, in the future, to grow bananas commercially in protected cropping structures then this will more than likely be tunnel houses that have gutters at a similar height.
Variety wish list: - I would like to achieve a short banana that would be great for kid’s lunch boxes, it has to be sweet and have a smooth texture and easy to peel. I would like to let the bananas ripen on the plant or very close to that point. This may depend on how easily the different varieties bruise after picking and transporting. A banana that does not travel well or have long shelf-life post-harvest may simply be a turn off to the customer.
I am hoping more literature will soon be available to help grow bananas in our conditions.
Is any one interested in growing the following:
Below is a link to an article posted on Hortdaily recently. The article discusses experiments of growing alternate crops in unheated greenhouses in Canada.
In this greenhouse the grower Dan Boston has experimented with growing cherries, apricots, peaches, nectarines, figs and table grapes. New Zealand growers are already covering cherry crops and table grapes were grown in greenhouses as long ago as the 1980’s. The others varieties on this list I am not familiar with as being grown commercially in greenhouses. Possibly the climate is too good and the returns not sufficient to cover apricots, peaches and nectarines in a greenhouse, it would be very interesting to know if anyone has thought of this?
Like any type of produce grown in a greenhouse, plant spacing/row width are very important. The type of plant that can be trained along crop wires, compact and high producing are the attributes I would be looking for. The ten major benefits of the experiment are all that I would expect from growing in greenhouses.
Let me know your thoughts or if you are growing any non-traditional greenhouse crops in a greenhouse. I would like to learn of and publish articles on what can be produced within the protected cropping industry in the future.