So I want to dedicate one grow bed in the back to the Banana Tree. My kid eats at least one banana a day if not two! As I was just about to order one, I thought I might see what the latest concensus is on one of these dwarf trees before I order it. I saw something about root issues as well as a friend mentioning that to me. Is this really a problem, even with the dwarf?
Oh I got a story about a dwarf banana.
I think the catalog said it was supposed to grow to about 4 feet tall.
Bananas love Aquaponics
But I did have root clogging problems and the beast that didn't read the catalog description grew huge and the plant did even crack my 100 gallon stock tank bed a little bit.
Here is the blog post from last year
The bananas that had been in the barrel cut long ways type beds never did damage the beds but they were not getting as much sun and there wasn't as much space/depth in them so we didn't get any bananas out of those. The wind was able to push those bananas over a bit and the entire gravel mass in the bed would slide/shift (this could be dangerous to the stand pipe/plumbing.)
The banana that we did have produce (the one in the blog post) was in a 100 gallon rubbermaid stock tank bed that got full sun and was running constant flood. The roots would grow into the plumbing in both directions and I needed to regularly tend to that plumbing to keep things from totally stopping up. When doing bananas in aquaponics definitely make sure you make all the plumbing easy to access, clean and repair and I think timed flood and drain might be an easier way to work this as the worms will have better access to go in and clean out the dead roots which do most of the clogging.
See bananas are one of those plants that sends out huge surges of fine roots and then they die back while another surge of roots goes out, these fine roots tend to break down and turn into humus in the soil but in aquaponics you need a large population of worms to keep things clear for you and the worms can go deeper and clear things faster in a timed flood and drain bed than you are likely to see in a constant flood or siphon flood and drain bed. I think the bananas would be happy which ever way you do it but I suspect maintaining the bed for the beast will be easier with timed flood and drain. This might be a situation where a double gravel guard might be really useful so that every week or so you give the inner guard a twist to bust off the roots that are growing through it and then clean out the small holes in the bottom of the stand pipe. Make sure you have easy access to the inflow plumbing too as I've seen banana roots grow up out of the gravel and into the inflow plumbing.
Just so you know, with bananas, once a stalk flowers, that is it after you harvest the bananas that stalk is done producing and you might as well cut it out the next producer will be one of the little sucker plants growing off the base of the banana. Don't let too many of these grow as they can distract energy from the main stalk but you will want at least one coming on to replace the main one when it is done. Unfortunately after cutting back that main stalk you have this big stump in the bed which will be nearly impossible to dig out without really disturbing the entire bed and they take a very long time to break down though the worms love them.
Thank you for the reply... WOW! Not sure I want the Banana tree anymore. The beds are only 2' X 4'. Maybe I will look back into this later when I have the system up and running and things growing. I don't need any added "stuff" to deal with yet. Thanks for the link to your Blog.
Ya, it's looking like outside will be a much better idea.