If you have never heard of the Banana Circle, it may be because you live in a non tropical / sub tropical climate. They are a permaculture design and increase the yield of Banana and other fruits in this simple but very good guild.

Banana Circle 1

Banana Circle Guild with re-purposed sacks for mulch

The basic concept is to prepare a circular section of your area with a radius of about 2 meters (6 feet) plus, once you have measured everything out you start digging in the centre about 1 meter (3 feet) deep and placing all displaced soil around the edges of your measured out circle in a berm like fashion.
Once the centre ‘hole’ is complete and you have built the surrounding berm edge, you can plant 5-6 Banana suckers (baby banana plants) evenly spaced in the edge wall and throw in organic matter (vegetable / fruit scraps, leaves, wood etc.) into the centre hole.

Banana Circle 2

Newly dug out Banana Circle with green waste in the center cavity

The center hole is going to be constantly topped up with organic matter to break down and feed the bananas / other crops in the circle guild. The center cavity will encourage water absorption into the soil and the decomposing organic matter will prevent evaporation, any moisture from the decomposing organic matter will also seep into the soil and provide a nutrient rich liquid feed for all plants in the guild!
Many designers recommend planting Papaya (Pawpaw) trees between the Bananas, Sweet Potato underneath as ground cover, Lemongrass even Comfrey or other Herbs etc. where possible.

Birdseye diagram of a Banana Circle Guild design

Birdseye diagram of a Banana Circle Guild design

Once a mother banana plant dies or gets cut down after cropping, the results will be thrown into the compost centre and the baby suckers will be replanted right near where she was before and so on, therefore continuing the cycle and use of the prepared bed …
In many designs, people often have a greywater pipe leading into the centre of the circle as a recycling irrigation system, there are so many possibilities with this design I feel.

I hope that the pictures and diagrams are enough for those who may be able to install a Banana Circle, just in case, I’ve found a good 6 minute video showing the procedure:

Further Reading:

http://permaculturenews.org/2014/04/08/banana-circles/

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Comments
  1. […] Further Reading / Educational = Previous Article: How to build a Banana Circle to increase crop flavour, nutrition and yield! […]

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