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Main Banana Discussion This is where we discuss our banana collections; tips on growing bananas, tips on harvesting bananas, sharing our banana photos and stories.


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Old 05-17-2018, 07:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Banana Circle Critique

Late last summer I dug the pit for my banana circle. It was just after a tropical storm so I gathered up my neighbor's storm debris and piled it up as the first bottom layer of my mound, essentially creating a hugelkulter raised bed to plant into. I dug my pit approximately 10' across and 3' deep. I layered cardboard in the bottom of my pit and over the top of my raised beds, then watered thoroughly, mulched with pine straw and watered again. Through the fall and winter I let the bed rest while I filled the pit with any organic waste I could find in the neighborhood, mostly leaves, grass clippings and pine straw. I put roughly 900 gallons of mulch into the pit (estimated by about 30 bags of 30 gallon paper yard waste bags I picked up). In March, I planted. Into the top of the raised beds, I planted two Blue Java Ice Cream, one Ladyfinger, one Golden African, one Raja Puri and one Gran Nain. Next, I interplanted three fig trees, two mullberries, zucchini, mint, onions, basil, tomatoes, peppers, sweet potatoes, canna lillies and mexican sunflowers. In April, I found a local banana grower who had discarded several banana pups on the side of the road, so I picked the four best ones and added them to my circle. They're unknown, but maybe I can get help identifying them with some pictures. Has anyone tried growing bananas in a system like this? Please, ask me questions, let me know if you think I've made mistakes. Any and all feedback will be greatly appreciated. Pictures to come in a following post. Ill take some current pics tomorrow and also any I can find of the process of planting. Looking forward to your critiques!
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Old 05-18-2018, 11:48 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Banana Circle Critique

https://youtu.be/NU2EO2gJRBIhere is a video walkthrough from today
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Old 05-18-2018, 01:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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I'm not having any luck uploading pictures either to my post or my gallery. Maybe someone can help me out with that. Here's a link to my Google photos gallery https://photos.google.com/album/AF1Q...d3Nvm5osZnJlb6
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Old 05-18-2018, 03:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Banana Circle Critique

Welcome to Bananas!

That seems like an awful lot of competition for the bananas. You do realize they are going to be overhead and putting up plenty of pups by the time summer is in full swing, right?

What do your neighbors think?
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Old 05-18-2018, 05:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Banana Circle Critique

The competition, yes, I was wondering about that. Honestly I didn't expect the zukes to get so big so fast. I want the bananas to thrive, but I'm torn between nurturing them or a more Darwinian style gardening of survival of the fittest. I really hope they get overhead and form a canopy so I can interplant more shade tolerate plants. I plan to expand outward each fall in a new ring, dig out a pathway around the exterior, mound up new beds and fill the paths with mulch. Separating the new pups and transplanting into the new beds will be great to help me expand outwards.

The neighbors were confused at first, especially when they saw me picking up their garbage. Their curiosity about it has drawn them over to have a look, and once I explain a bit, they're really cool with it. In fact, it's actually building a feeling of community. I've been sharing my abundance of zucchinis, and my next door neighbor followed suit by sharing his plums with me and also the rest of the neighborhood. I really think having the banana circle has not only improved relationships between me and the neighbors, but also between the neighbors themselves. Unexpected but really positive result
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Old 05-19-2018, 06:42 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Banana Circle Critique

Yeah it's hard to fathom how big those plants are going to be when they have a full growing season under their belt. I live a couple zones north of you and during the six months my bananas thrive the pseudostems get as big as five gallon buckets. Not to mention the endless pups.
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Old 05-20-2018, 12:01 AM   #7 (permalink)
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...I plan to expand outward each fall in a new ring, dig out a pathway around the exterior, mound up new beds and fill the paths with mulch. Separating the new pups and transplanting into the new beds will be great to help me expand outwards...
Hi, just quickly made an account here so I could add my two cents
Lovely circle planting! I'm liking the diversity - nothing wrong with survival of the fittest planting - you can always take away and mulch anything right in the middle that doesn't go quite right.

But yeah, I wanted say to perhaps hesitate on expanding the circle.
What you have is a managable size, mainly with regard to keeping the mulch pit filled. If it's not too unsightly for the neighbours, feel free to mulch until the mound comes about 1m above ground; the bananas will love it.

More water loving plants on the inner rim of mound, less water loveing on the outer - but seems you've already thought about that somewhat.

Taro likes the inner rim. Sweet potato may take over until it gets shaded out, but the diverse root space may slow it - I look forward to watching it's progression.

I digress - back the expanding the circle. Perhaps consider just creating another circle, and then another.... If there is a convenient downhill (even if mild) slope, think about how in heavy rains you can get one mulch pit to overflow into the next.

Can you divert a water source (kitchen water for example - if you use safe soaps - or a bit of the road, or a gutter from your roof) into one circle, that could overflow through the rest? (Assuming you go down the path of multiple circles)

Anyway, enough blather from me. A pleasure to see what you've been up to.
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Old 05-20-2018, 09:15 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Banana Circle Critique

Thanks for the comments! I have been thinking about passive water harvesting. I think some rainwater collection off the roof will be my best option, and I really like the idea of one circle overflowing into the next. Our community is about to trim up some common area trees, so I'm hoping to get my hands on the wood chips. More mulch! It's been a really fun experiment so far, having multiple circles will just be exponentially more fun
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Old 05-20-2018, 10:17 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Banana Circle Critique

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... having multiple circles will just be exponentially more fun
Additively.

In my opinion, banana circles are a fad started by online sellers. When you're ready to do some serious cultivation we're ready to help you along too.
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Old 05-21-2018, 02:37 AM   #10 (permalink)
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In my opinion, banana circles are a fad started by online sellers. When you're ready to do some serious cultivation we're ready to help you along too.
ouch - hope there was at least a touch of sarcasm there
I certainly have no interest in selling anything and neither did those whom I learned from.
They can be remarkably low maintenance and high return, and allow for higher plantings per acre, if that's your thing.

Out of interest, what would you define as serious cultivation?
Hopefully I do not come off as antagonising - tricky to communicate tone in writing
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Old 05-21-2018, 06:31 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Banana Circle Critique

Veering off topic, so hold on.

I heard "from a guy" this weekend that commercial suppliers of bananas in our area were no longer growing bananas, they have switched over to cannabis.

Anyways, back to your regularly schedule banana circle critique...
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Old 05-21-2018, 10:31 AM   #12 (permalink)
 
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No, because there are diminishing returns of fun as more banana circles are planted. Mathematically, fun increases monotonically with a monotonically decreasing derivative (or, since the number of banana circles, N, is discrete, difference).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monotonic_function

Furthermore, it is sometimes theorized that there is an upper limit to happiness, in which case, the fun from planting more banana circles increases asymptotically to an asymptote at or below the upper limit for happiness.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asympt...tal_asymptotes

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Well-b...buting_factors

One can imagine the upper limit for happiness being achieved in Heaven.
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Old 05-21-2018, 11:44 AM   #13 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Banana Circle Critique

That's pretty cool that you are starting off with five different types of bananas. I only have two types at this point (namwa and raja puri). Both have done well in my patch and survived this past winter with a bit of help. Hope to get my first bananas this year and find out if all the work and wait was worth it!

Looks like you put in a ton of work in your circle! Your patch will look really exotic by mid summer when the bananas plants achieve some height! Good job!
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Old 05-21-2018, 02:07 PM   #14 (permalink)
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... Out of interest, what would you define as serious cultivation? ...
Something with foresight for ease of maintenance.

Bananas in my garden
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Old 05-21-2018, 03:51 PM   #15 (permalink)
 
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I'm not having any luck uploading pictures either to my post or my gallery. Maybe someone can help me out with that. Here's a link to my Google photos gallery https://photos.google.com/album/AF1Q...d3Nvm5osZnJlb6
This link doesn't work either.

What size are your files? The max size is 5200k.
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Old 05-21-2018, 06:59 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Old 05-21-2018, 11:29 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: Banana Circle Critique

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Something with foresight for ease of maintenance.
Thank you for the elaboration, though I'm still not certain I fully understand.
I saw your picture that followed indicating that diminishing root zone equates to higher maintenance. Can you explain why?

I suppose it comes down to what you look at as maintenance.
Granted in the circle that we are discussing in this thread, perhaps there will be some tricky to reach plants in the inside of the circle, at a later date.

The only regular input I can think of to bananas is water - assuming they have sufficient mulch and fertile soil for food.
A circle provides one location to mulch and water.
Once the mulch pit is filled, it is easy to add to it, though that would not be very often.
And if water is provided via a grey water overflow and/or rainwater overflow from the roof, there should be no hand-watering necessary, in part as the mulch retains the moisture.

To me this amounts to almost no maintenance.
Please though, if I am misunderstanding something, feel free to elaborate further.


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No, because there are diminishing returns of fun as more banana circles are planted. Mathematically, fun increases monotonically with a monotonically decreasing derivative (or, since the number of banana circles, N, is discrete, difference)...
Haha
Though I believe you might be missing the possibility that the addition of multiple circles, all in a gravity-fed self-watering alignment, once implemented, can provide ever increasing abundance and joy (ok, the abundance would level out over time), while only requiring a linear input of extra mulch per circle (and a little guidance of pups around each circle).
And though a mathmetician might then conlcude that the joy would also flatten out due to a feeling of normalcy per-se, they are not perhaps considering beyond the confines of the system they're analysing.
As such, they are possibly forgetting that spreading that joy among loved ones, friends and neighbours, and even total strangers in the form of free bananas (because you have too much so easily), potentially further the ever increasing joy, until all involved explode in a fountain of cringeworthy positivity.

I may have missed the point (and certainly lack the mathematical terminology) but there's some truth in there, somewhere.


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I heard "from a guy" this weekend...
Thanks for the tangent. Potential intercrop among the bananas perhaps - best of both worlds?
That, or banana infused cannabis...
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Old 05-22-2018, 12:19 AM   #18 (permalink)
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...I suppose it comes down to what you look at as maintenance.
I think it comes down to experience maintaining banana mats. Certainly experimenting with banana circles is likely to teach you a lot. I wish you all a bunch of fun!
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Old 05-22-2018, 12:30 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I think it comes down to experience maintaining banana mats. Certainly experimenting with banana circles is likely to teach you a lot. I wish you all a bunch of fun!
Thanks Richard. Learning certainly is part of the game.

Again though, it depends on what you mean by maintenance.

If you don't have the time to explain here, perhaps you've already explained in another thread, in which case I'll happily read a linked page.
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Old 05-22-2018, 09:29 AM   #20 (permalink)
 
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...
As such, they are possibly forgetting that spreading that joy among loved ones, friends and neighbours, and even total strangers in the form of free bananas (because you have too much so easily), potentially further the ever increasing joy, until all involved explode in a fountain of cringeworthy positivity.
...
Then, Banana Republics would be the happiest places on Earth, if only they would give away all of their bananas for free. And, the USA wouldn't have to put up with Guatemalan refugees.
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