Monday, July 6, 2015

Banana Circles

Typical banana circle image with compost area in the center and some suggestions for companion planting

Wanting to add bananas to my list of foods to grow I did some research on their growth needs and behavior so I could get an idea of where and how to plant them to give them the optimum chance of surviving and producing the fruit I'd so like to have here in my zone 9b area.  I saw a lot of information on planting banana circles to accommodate the heavy feeding needs of bananas and the fact that they die after producing fruit, so having a continuous set of new plants moving in a circular growth area provides for continuous fruiting once the plants are established.

To get these started I chose to cover the grass with layers of newspaper and cardboard and build up with the nutrients that would be needed.  I already had some mushroom compost, peat moss and a few bags of Miracle grow potting soil, but when they only provided a few inches of cover to my newspaper base, I went to a local supplier to purchase a truckload of mushroom compost to add to this and prepare for planting the bananas I had ordered online and the couple of cavendish I bought at Lowes.

Choosing my spot and laying down newspaper and cardboard

Spraying with water to hold it in place until I can cover with dirt

I put a couple of logs in the center for air flow and added compost from my pile
With this in place it's time to start building my planting soil

What I had on hand didn't cover much, so it's off to the local dirt and mulch supplier

With a layer of dirt in a circle we filled the area between the center compost pile and outer edge with mulch from my large wood chip pile I had delivered for free from a tree service. Once this was down we added a bit more dirt to the planting part and then began to plant some of the bananas I bought, some pineapples I'd started, lemon grass divisions from my large plant and then sweet potato slips.
I set the first circle just below my apple and orange trees in the front yard.  This area gets runoff being at a lower elevation than the surrounding yard and gets some protection from wind and intense sun because of the established trees on two sides.  I've documented some of my progress, and then after putting in this first circle I quickly added a second and then began adding other raised beds in the yard to get a start on the food forest I'd like to create on my property.

My banana order along with a dragon fruit plant

First bananas in place

First banana circle with bananas and pineapples planted
Hannah and Lauren adding mulch to my second banana circle
First 2 circles done

I've been amazed and pleased at how well things are taking off.  We're now in Florida's rainy season which is a real benefit to the growth of all the plants and trees I currently have in the ground.  I'll keep updating as I make progress.  I'm also making plans on having materials on hand to protect these during the colder months, until I can create enough of a microclimate through my planting area to give them year round protection as they mature.

Circle 1 with more mulch and a squash that seeded itself from my mulch pile in the center and I let grow
2cd banana circle with a couple small trees added and a cranberry hibiscus. A squash also self seeded in the center here too.
I then began adding other planting beds

Here's an update after a couple months growth
My "nursery" area for plants and trees that still need to find a place around the yard

I'm still in a learning process for growing here in Central Florida, so for any who have experience comments or suggestions all are welcome, and I'll post my results to benefit others who may need the information as things continue to grow, mature and hopefully produce the results I'm seeking.

No comments:

Post a Comment