Planting tissue culture bananas using the correct guidelines is very important for farmers who would like to increase their yields and earn more profits. Eliud Njoroge, a crops researcher at the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) says marketing of crops starts at production and not at harvesting stage as practiced by many farmers.
The spacing between one plant to another plant should be 9 by 9 feet. Holes should be squared shaped by 3 ft by 3 ft. The top soil should be separated from the sub soil. Mix 2 wheelbarrows’ of farm yard manure per hole, 200g of DAP or TSP and nematicide (Mocap or bionematon) to control nematodes in the bananas.
Put the mixture back in the hole up to 2 ft. Cut the plastic bag holding the seedling ensuring that the root plug does not break. Plant the seedling firmly in the moisture and pour 40 liters of water at planting.
Once grown, pour 20 liters of water in a week. To prevent weeds, mulching is needed which can be done by placing dry grass 6 inches away from the plant, intercropping- planting with leguminous crops e.g. beans. It is important to de-leaf to remove old disease leaves using a knife. Suckers should by ensuring you grow 3 best suckers at any given time facing the eastern side where the sun is rising from to ensure there is enough sunlight for the plants. Unwanted suckers should be destroyed using a kit.
It takes 12 to 13 weeks from the time the banana fruit stem first appear to the time the bananas are harvested. Bananas are harvested while they are still green, ensure you wear protective gear and cut the fruit with a machete carefully. The leaves of the harvested banana should be chopped and left on the ground to provide nutrients for the rest of the nest generation of banana plants.
Active and prospective banana farmers in Kenya can obtain high quality tissue culture seedlings at the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (Thika)The research firm has more than five varieties which include giant Cavendish, grand nain, and Mbogoya for ripening, Uganda green for cooking, Aloe Vera for medicinal/cosmetics purposes and vanilla for making spices.