Back in February it was necessary to perform a distasteful deed… I cut down all of my bananas and used herbicide to kill as much of the root mat as possible. The reason? The plants had been infected with Banana Bunchy Top Virus.
The virus stunts the growth of the each stalk, with the leaves becoming dwarfed and bunched up at the top giving rise to the virus common name. Nothing to do but to kill the entire clump, wait a while and start over.
That wait is ending. Over the last week I have dug out the banana patch and prepared it to be a productive bed again.
To this end I have dug a small pit where the old patch was located. About twelve feet by eight, and about 18″ deep. This will be the new banana patch.
The old patch was a bit ad-hoc, with little thought put into it when it was started. I unexpectedly got a few banana starts and really did not know much about growing bananas, I just put them in the ground with little preparation. Oddly enough that worked, which says more about the toughness of bananas than my skill as a gardener.
The new pit has some planning and actual engineering involved.
The pit was constructed with sloped sides and lined with scraps of old woven weed cloth I had salvaged from elsewhere in the yard. This will prevent spread of the banana patch outside the new bed, keeping the patch confined.
The drip system irrigation line has been repaired with a riser that will supply a short above ground section of black poly pipe circling the new bed.
The pit has been filled with raked leaves, compost from the main pile, and screened soil that was removed from the pit while digging, eventually creating a rich organic soil. I will let this mix sit and compost a bit more before planting.
A bit of edging neatly surrounds the bed, hopefully creating a further barrier to spreading banana roots. I will be adding adding more material as the compost decays and settles, plus a topping of county green-waste mulch will see the new bed complete.
Now to get my hands on some virus resistant bananas.