Banana circles work! At Yandina Community Gardens we have approximately 20 banana plants throughout our food forest area. Most of the bananas are set within a “banana circle” system; a classic permaculture technique. The technique works so well because it is a perfect partnership between edible plants and waste. It’s a way for us to compost garden waste, cardboard, food scraps and waste water like you would in a regular compost pile while simultaneously creating an ideal growing environment for bananas and other plants. The banana bunches have been particularly prolific over the last month due to the amount of rainfall.
We have also planted several other edible and support species in the banana circle, including; cassava, sweet potato, pawpaw, lemongrass and vetiver.
Why does the inner compost pile work so well? Bananas are referred to as gross feeders and require a lot of nutrients and water, so it’s exactly what they need. If you kept your banana plants and compost pile separate, you’d do a lot more work to keep your bananas healthy. You’ll want to keep the compost in a banana circle a little wetter than usual because the bananas are so thirsty. This is a great way to use kitchen wastewater, excess rainwater, or even urine from dry composting toilets.