Grow Bananas Easily & Sustainably With Banana Circles

Healthy banana bunch, growing on a banana circle, close to maturity.

Healthy banana bunch, growing on a banana circle, close to maturity.

Turn your kitchen or garden waste and excess water into delicious bananas and other crops with an easily constructed, low-maintenance banana circle.

What Is A Banana Circle?

A banana circle is simply a circular mound of soil surrounding a mulch-filled pit in the ground. The pit collects and stores water from rain, runoff, or grey water from household water use, like a laundry machine, to keep the thirsty bananas well watered. Fill the pit with mulch, garden, or kitchen waste where it composts in place, feeding the hungry plants growing on the mound. When you grow plants on a raised mound, you also improve drainage, which helps prevent water logging of the roots. As you can see, banana circles are a great way to grow bananas and other crops like papaya easily and sustainably.

How & Why Do They Work?

Banana circles work so well because water and nutrients are concentrated where the plants need it most, close to their roots. This also makes it easy for you to take care of them by watering and feeding many plants in one place. Bananas and papayas need a lot of food and water. As the organic waste material in the central pit decomposes, it slowly releases plenty of nutrients so your growing plants will thrive. Bananas grow best in clumps because they help protect each other from strong winds and extremes of temperature. They really dislike growing alone and exposed to high heat or cold.

Banana beginning to flower.

Banana beginning to flower.

How can I Design a Banana Circle?

When designing your banana circle, the pit should be at least 2m or 6.5ft across, and up to 1m or 3.28ft deep. Use the soil removed from the pit to create a mound around the perimeter, 60 cm or 2ft wide or more. Fill the pit with as much varied organic material as you can, about 1m or 3.28ft above ground level. Position your bananas at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock on the mound. If planted too close together they tend to lean or fall over. For best results, position your banana circle in a sheltered location in full sun. If growing on a slope, leave the upward side of the mound ‘open’ to collect even more surface water runoff.

In addition to bananas, you can grow other crops like papaya and coconut, either on their own or in mixed plantings. If growing larger plants like coconuts, make the pit 3m or 9.8ft wide. You can alternate bananas with papayas around the circle. Below the bananas, grow root crops like ginger and turmeric, and ground cover plants like pumpkins or melons. Grow lemongrass or vetiver grass amongst the other plants, then cut and spread on the mound surface as a mulch to retain water. Grow beans or other vines up the banana plants, which will act as a trellis.

For more information on maintaining and harvesting your bananas, visit my YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/RegenerativeDesigns