Bananas are Kenya’s number one fruits. In some parts of Kenya, banana is a staple food. Of recent, whereas the banana is the favorite food, the crop has been faced by many challenges ranging from diseases and pests. Tissue Culture banana are affected by bacterial wilt disease that is today known to everybody that grows or has ever grown bananas. The weevils are also well known.
For the case of diseases, they are mainly transported from one garden/farm to another through picking young suckers for planting into a new garden.
Whereas you may see the plant and think it is clean or has no disease, because you cannot see the disease-causing agents with your eyes, you will be introducing the disease to your new garden. It is against this background that tissue culture planting materials are becoming the favorite planting materials for farmers who intend to grow bananas commercially.
What is tissue culture?
Tissue culture is the science of multiplying clean disease-free planting materials of different crops and you have many identical copies of the same variety without changing the taste and any other physical attribute of the plant.
This work is done in agricultural laboratories and then the plants are raised in nursery beds where farmers can buy them ready for planting.
When you plant these tissue culture seedlings of bananas, you can be sure that you are starting off with clean seedlings rather than planting what you are not sure about.
Consult any farmer that has grown them before and you will discover that they grow very fast, faster than the suckers which are picked from an old garden, and they yield earlier (between eight and 12 months from planting depending on variety), and that they yield bigger bunches.
Because they are small, tissue culture seedlings are more convenient to transport. They will grow uniformly, and you can plant as many acres of a garden of the same variety unlike the old method of picking suckers from a neighbor’s garden where you may not get enough of the same variety and in most cases, you can pick wrong varieties.
Procedure of planting tissue culture banana seedlings
- Tissue culture banana seedlings are bought when they are ready to be planted in the garden, so you need to have your garden ready by the time you go to pick them from us. After your field is prepared, you dig the holes (1.5-2ft x 1.5-2ft x 1.5-2ft). The deep hole helps reduce formation of high mat and risk of the plants toppling (falling) in the advent of wind.
Rows should be in straight lines and if on a hill side, planting should be along the contours to minimize soil erosion.
As you dig the hole, the soil you remove is separated, top soil (black) separate and subsoil (red soil) separate.
- After that, you put well decomposed manure (three to five kilograms) in each hole and you can add one hoe-full of the red soil and mix properly.
Do not return too much soil in the hole (so do not refill the hole). When all the holes are ready, and with manure in, you then can pick the plants from the company selling them and transport them straight to your garden.
If you cannot plant on the same day, you can off load the plants carefully and keep them under shade for planting the next day, but make sure you water them that evening.
Planting Tissue Culture banana
- Planting should never be done in a field that already has bananas. This to avoid pests and diseases. Planting should therefore be done in a clean field preferably a virgin one where bananas have not been planted in the last 2-3 years.
The exercise of planting tissue culture banana involves splitting of the polythene paper pot holding each while holding the soil carefully. Then, using your hand or a simple garden tool such as a panga, make a smaller hole in the manure/soil mixture at the bottom of the hole and place the seedling in this small hole.
Then compact the soil by pressing using your hands to make the plant hold firm in the soil.
- Water the plant with about half-a litre of water and if possible mulch around the plant with grass inside the big hole (mulching could be done before the plants are brought when you are preparing the holes after putting manure/soil mixture).
Depending on its size, the seedling will most likely remain deep in the hole but this is okay.
- The remaining big hole will serve to collect any rain water and other soil nutrients brought by runoff to feed this plant and make it grow healthy. If the season is dry, check on your plants regularly and water them, if necessary.
If you are planting say 1 acre, the recommended number of plants is 450 plants but for a higher plant population and for commercial purposes, you can plant 640 plants per acre.
If you plant 450 plants per acre, the distance between holes is 3 metres by 3 metres. If you choose to plant 640 plants per acre, the plant spacing is 2.5 by 2.5 metres.
If you need Tissue culture banana seedlings, don’t hesitate, contact us today.