Evelyn Bishop 's Profile
Evelyn Bishop
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Joined:
13/09/2011
Last Updated:
13/10/2011
Location:
Bugaba, Chiriqui, Panama
Climate Zone:
Wet Tropical





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Banana Circle

Posted by Evelyn Bishop about 8 years ago

Planting a mixed species of bananas and wonder what to plant under them.

I've begun planting a outwardly expanding circle of bananas and platanos. All of the "seeds" have come from the generosity of my community. They are all considered "criollo" or native with some smaller and others quite tall. I've planted them in an area I'd like to reforest to help protect a natural year-round stream that is a corridor for squirrel monkeys and in a location that is full of heliconias and other forest plants.

I cleared a circular space for each seedling and left all the other plants in place. Already I can see the seedlings sprouting new shoots. I'm looking for other plants to grow in the understory, and am considering Cacao, Coffee, and around the exterior some Papayas. 

I'd love to hear what you think might make a good understory to a circle of bananas. With gratitude — Evelyn

Comments (7)

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Paul Kean
Paul Kean : HiEvelyn,

if you dig a central pit and use the material to form a circular mound around the pit.Imagine creating a 8m diameter circle with the pit being in the center about 1.5 m diameter and about 600mm deep.The mound will be formed at 3m.The pit is used to collect water and to act as a compost pit.Throw all garden debris into this pit and just let it compost.It will feed your bananas for free.Plant the bananas atop of the mound with good spacing for future growth.Should be able to get 6 bananas around that mound evenly spaced.At the edge of the entire circle plant lemon grass as it will stop invasive weeds entering your banana circle.Then plant the likes of ginger around the entire circle to form a low hedge slightly taller than the lemon grass when fully grown.Next,casava canes.In amongst this you can have chillies,sweet potatoe,nastursium,eggplant,capsicum,lettuce.Plant it like a miniture forest.As different crops are harvested light levels with change.Watering should be minimal as the pit is your water storage.

Good luck,

Paul Kean (Ringo)
Posted about 8 years ago

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Paul Kean
Paul Kean : Also you can plant papaya in between the bananas.
Posted about 8 years ago

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Richard G. Powell
Richard G. Powell : Paul has some great ideas. That is generally what I do at my house here in Orlando: compost in the middle which means no loss of nutrients that might otherwise drain into the ground beneath the pile. The Hawaiians traditionally planted taro, sweet potatoes, and bananas together. I've found this to work really well. Just leave adequate space or the bananas will shade out the taro. On the other hand, gingers, turmeric and cardamom take the shade willingly and would love the compost, too, which means you could get away with that tighter planting. Keep us posted!
Posted about 8 years ago

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Richard G. Powell
Richard G. Powell : In my climate, 9b subtropical, papayas don't fair too well with bananas as the bananas love moist soil (and can even sit in water) whereas the papayas prefer lots of water with a well-drained soil as they don't like wet feet. I would love to her others' experiences!
Posted about 8 years ago

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Evelyn Bishop
Evelyn Bishop : Thanks Paul and Richard for your ideas. I have another friend in the community who has ginger for me, and I will plant it here, along with the lemongrass. I'm on the lookout for cardamom. The area itself is uphill a few meters from the stream, so perhaps the papayas might be worth a try. Thanks again for your comments!
Posted about 8 years ago

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Paul Kean
Paul Kean : alternatively,you can plant the papaya on the mound and stagger the bananas.If you are using flat level ground then a true circle is formed.If implementing on a slope the half moon shape is formed.This will look somewhat like a swale and you can link several if you have the ends of the mounds overlapping down slope. When designing the circle method the end image desired is looking like a upside down cone of growth.Low plants on the perimiter and tall in the center when viewing from the side.
Posted about 8 years ago

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Evelyn Bishop
Evelyn Bishop : Great info Paul, infact, they have been planted on a slight slope flowing down to the stream.
Posted about 8 years ago

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