Journey of Banana sapling till harvest…

I’m an UrbanFarmer & do natural farming for passion, we grow bananas to help in short term cash flow, while long term fruit trees are growing at the farm. This post is to walk through the journey of 800 saplings from nursery to harvesting the banana (Yelakki, the small variant) & selling to store.

Ford Ecosport, Farming, Banana Sapling
Ford Ecosport, loaded with 800 banana saplings

Saplings : Back seat of my Ford Ecosport 2018 is used more in folded manner, for carrying the stuff back / forth from farm, this photo is we taking 800 banana saplings to the farm from Nursery. Could I have used.. transport vehicle? may be., wanted to avoid the pain of cribbing driver about last mile (un-tarred road) journey to farm.

Preparing the Land : We used heavy machinery to remove the previously grown robusta banana plants & then created the trenches for planting the banana saplings. We planted the saplings around August 1st week of 2019, I spent a night at the farm by pitching the tent & finished planting all the saplings over 2 days. I should say those were the most hardworking & satisfying days of my life at the farm!

Manure & weed management : The only manure we have given on this farm is “Jeevamrutha” the liquid rich with microorganisms from the local soil created using cow urine, cow dung, dicot seed flour & jaggery. Weed removal was done twice & putting the soil over to the roots of the growing plants, later is important for banana saplings growth as banana is a plant from “grass” family (yes, it’s a grass) the roots tend to come over the soil as they grow & need to be covered back with fresh soil from area around to help the roots go deeper / stay stronger & wont fall off as the plant grows tall.

banana saplings, naturally grown
6 months old banana plant

Growth stage : Banana saplings grow into full plant & start with flowering around 8–10 months, one advantage (or disadvantage, depends how you read it) of natural farming is that plants tend to grow at their own pace & will be able to harvest over a period of 6–7 months rather than harvesting in 3 months in traditional farming (because of use of fertiliser, leading to uniform growth of the plants).

Pest Management : We did not face much of pest / plant diseases problem during the first 8 months of growth, but did have the leaves turning yellow issue while the plants started coming out with the flower in the last couple of months of growth & had to control the leaf degradation by spray of a cocktail made using — sour buttermilk dipped with copper pipe + neem oil. We used to buy 5 ltrs of milk to make buttermilk, allow it become sour for 7 or 8 days along with putting the copper pipe in the buttermilk, then dilute it with water in 1:10 ratio + mix it 1:100 ratio of neem oil & spray on the banana leaves.

ford ecosport, loaded with banana
Ford Ecosport, loaded with banana harvest from farm

Harvesting : We started harvesting bananas from July 1st week 2020 & has been going on until Jan 2021. I visit the farm only once a week & my car is loaded with 150–200kgs of banana, other fruits / vegetables. Harvested bananas are kept for ripening in the chamber for a day in batches of 20kgs & delivered to the store through the week.

I love spending time with nature, working with the soil, that teaches me the humbleness / patience to reflect upon through the week at work.

Thanks to my ‘grand father’ (Munichowde Gowda) for the land he bought for us to grow the natural / healthy fruits & vegetables for the family, friends & few customers.

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Bhaskara Kempaiah

Startup enthusiast, working with early stage companies. Natural farmer at heart..