Propping and Harvesting of Plantains

Propping

The heavy weight of the plantain bunch bends all bearing plants and can cause doubling (pseudo stem breaks), snap-off (corm breaks, leaving a part in the ground) or uprooting also called top-over whereby the entire corm with root comes out of the ground.

Plants are generally weak during the dry season and strong winds, nematodes and stem borers also increase the rate of loss. For these reasons, bearing plants always need support from 1 or 2 wooden props usually made of bamboo.

If a piece of bamboo is used, the support is placed along side the bearing plant and the top of the plant is tied to the bamboo. A lateral branch at the top of the bamboo prop sometimes forms a natural fork which can be used to support the plantain without being tied to it.

When 2 pieces of bamboo are used, the bunch and not the plant is supported in the first place. The bamboo props are crossed and form a fork. This fork is tied together with a rope and placed just underneath the bunch.

Harvesting

The bearing plant is cut and the bunch about 3 to 4 months old is harvested when 1 or 2 fingertips of the first hand start yellowing. The bunch usually then ripens within a week, meanwhile care has to be taken so that the bunch does not drop on the ground when the main plant is being cut.

The whole of the pseudo stem and foliage of the main plant is then chopped and spread over the soil as a mulch for the ratoon crop because if this is done, weevils may live and multiply on the intact pseudo stem.

See also: Intercropping of a plantain field and its Advantages

 

Author: Benadine

A Practical Farmer, An Agric. Consultant, An Author and A Model.

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