Author Topic: Growing bananas in New Zealand too cold?  (Read 10478 times)

Offline Rodger Bodle

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Growing bananas in New Zealand too cold?
« on: February 08, 2013, 04:30:06 PM »
[/img]New Zealand, situated halfway between the Equator and Antarctica, with the occasional iceberg 40 km off the coast of Otago. Experts say it can't be done. Then they say, "... if such a research facility was established and was successful, it would be the most southern banana research establishment in the world. Here in Gisborne such research being carried having growing trials of a selection of Musa (bananas) imported from the highlands around the globe. Moderate success has been achieved since the early 1960's well before climate change was introduced to modern Kiwi society. For photographic proof < rjbodle@xtra.co.nz >.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2013, 05:59:58 PM by Rodger Bodle »



Offline ato2

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Re: Growing bananas in New Zealand too cold?
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2013, 08:43:38 AM »
Interesting. Some parts of the country have been growing a few varieties for generations, but there is little public recognition that it is possible.
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Offline Rodger Bodle

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Re: Growing bananas in New Zealand too cold?
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2013, 06:08:51 PM »
I've just attached a photo of a large bunch of the "Musa Pesang awak" (Indonesia) under growing trials in Gisborne. We have found that growing pineapples among the rows of bananas as an intercrop is beneficial to growing subtropicals.
The photo below is of the 'Blue Java' or more commonly known as 'icecream banana', tastes like vanilla ice cream when ripe.

Offline ato2

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Re: Growing bananas in New Zealand too cold?
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2013, 06:18:23 PM »
Nice shot. Looks like you are supporting the hand of fruit with a light frame. That's a good idea- I should try it myself.

Offline Babs

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Re: Growing bananas in New Zealand too cold?
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2013, 06:43:41 PM »
they grow successfully in Waikanae north of Wellington, they grow in Devonport and Northcote on the North Shore in Auckland, and dare I say it but they are growing everywhere where we are living at the moment!
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Offline ato2

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Re: Growing bananas in New Zealand too cold?
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2013, 06:59:54 PM »
Yes, you should be surrounded by them LOL! :)
In NZ, they are common across the Far North of North Auckland. Around New Plymouth and environs, by the coast, there have been several types of bananas grown for many decades.
I got my "ladies fingers" from Paihia, in the Bay of Islands, about 30 years ago. I have had thirty plants produce fruit, in the past 12 months.

I understand that there may be also be some in suitably sheltered places around Westport, in the South Island. Collingwood area, might be another SI possibility.

Offline Weather Display

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Re: Growing bananas in New Zealand too cold?
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2013, 08:40:46 AM »
as long as you dont get too many frosts, they grow and produce bananas no problem
we have grown there here before (with shelter, from the wind , from other trees)

Brian
Awhitu, SW of Auckland

Offline Rodger Bodle

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Re: Growing bananas in New Zealand too cold?
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2013, 10:47:01 PM »
There seems to be a following of banana gurus around the country which is great. I noted Taranaki has a few musa growing there as well also mentioned by NIWA to a collegue of mine who plans to place a few acres under glass to grow bananas commericially. Anyway, I've another photo for you which is a hybrid we developed from other Musa. It throws a large bunch and the fingers are large, fat and heavy. INIBAP (France) Bioversity International (Belgium) have noted it, and the press printed a short story about our finding which went international resulting in orders as tissue culture from France, Egypt and Australia. We called it after our name sake "Bodles" (early 1800's) who started a banana research station with the help of KEW (England) in Jamaica, now explanded into an Agricultural Research Farm like our own Massey University. Namely 'Bodles Wainui hybrid' near Gisborne.

Offline Weather Display

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Re: Growing bananas in New Zealand too cold?
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2013, 07:59:34 AM »
question: why have you choosen the subject line you have, when you are growing bannans OK your self?

Offline Rodger Bodle

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Re: Growing bananas in New Zealand too cold?
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2013, 09:45:40 PM »
For the last 40 years I've tried to get a loan to develop a subtropical plantation on the family farm but have been turned down by the Banks all saying it's folly, adding  ".... that you can't grow bananas in NZ because its too cold. In 1984 and in 1991 I taveled abroad and visited plantations in the high country near the snowline, in hot deserts, and in wet swamp lands where different varieties grow to suit the conditions required. If they can grow bananas near the snowline, then we can do the same in this country. The secret is the variety of banana to chose to obtain the best results.

Offline ato2

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Re: Growing bananas in New Zealand too cold?
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2013, 08:37:32 AM »
I would be difficult to get most bank mangers to sign off on that, I guess. My own experience tells me it is possible to grow and harvest them successfully.Someone told me that in the Far North, local produce markets can include bananas for sale- but I imagine that is just a niche market, and I cannot verify that that is in fact done.
For me they are a plant that I grow in my garden, as a hobby.
But many seem surprised that I can grow them and slightly suspicious about the fruit, because it isn't on a supermarket shelf! LOL!
The taste is so much better than the imported things.
And, how would the economics stack up? Fresh local produce v cheap n nasty commercial imports?
It would be great to see a viable NZ variety available in shops though.

Offline Rodger Bodle

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Re: Growing bananas in New Zealand too cold?
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2013, 12:26:38 PM »
My brother tells me your right, they do sell bananas in the far north at the local flea markets, even papaya, although small in size.  There's even a banana plantation north of Kaitia and he makes his living selling the leaves (sails) to Turners & Growers (Auckland). Like you, I started growing bananas as a hobby but got more involved as the years passed. I joined INIBAP International (France) and Bioversity International (Belgium) who send out news item about musa to their members which has helped a great deal. Not many people know that 90% of bananas grown are consumed by their host country, and 10% are exported to the Global markets, interesting. Yes people who eat our bananas say they are better tasting than the ones from the shop. As an experiment I took several bunches to the local organic shop to sell just to see if there's a market. Soon as I got home the phone was ringing and told they had sold out and wanted more. The word spead and enquiries came from Organic shops in Tauranga, Napier, Hastings and Hamilton. Yes there's a market here in NZ. 


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