A Banana Circle is one of the food growing techniques popularised by permaculture practitioners.
EdibleScapes will finish 2018’s activities with planting a second Banana Circle integrated into the Mandala Sun Garden.
A Banana Circle is one of the food growing techniques popularised by permaculture practitioners. It is a relatively simple idea, constructed in the shape of a bowl about 2m diameter and 1m deep. Excavated soil is piled into a mound around the pit. The pit will be filled with all sorts of garden waste that will biodegrade. We have half-filled it with composted mulch to start bacterial action. Bananas are very hungry plants and will thrive off the abundant cycling of organic material as well as the moisture naturally retained.
The Banana Circles at Edible Landscape Gardens are on a slope, the mound helping to retain water in a central pit. A variety of plants will be located on the mound around the pit between the banana plants. Plants mutually support one another, shielding against wind, keeping cool, filtering sunlight and acting as trellises. What we have is a mini food forest with good diversity that is well watered and fertilized. Appropriate companion planting provides physical shelter, nutrients, assists in pest control and reduces root competition. Importantly it also produces food.
Picture 2 shows a tropical selection, however in the subtropical region, using the typical three sisters -companion plants – beans, tomatoes and corn (maize) to climb on, (ancient Amerindian heritage agroecological knowledge) – the plants will grow better together than they would apart. As an added benefit their crops provide a healthy, balanced diet. (Tomatoes should not be planted too close to banana plants, as they aren’t quite as water-loving as bananas.)
Initial groundcover like sweet potato or squash plants combined with nitrogen fixer plant like peanut grass will help to reduce root competition of grasses and weeds. Comfrey might be another great addition, adding a deep-rooting nutrient accumulator, an attractant for pollinators, and chop-and drop mulch.
In the inner rim wetland plants such as taro or cana lily, which are biomass plants absorbing lots of nutrients and having access to the moisture pocket.
The Circular Banana will be planted on 8 December 8:30 am. Everyone is welcome to come along to help and to join in the conversation and exchange knowledge.