Sunday, 30 November 2014

What Is A Banana Circle? - How To Grow Bananas In Subtropics?

Hello Hello!  I hear people talking about this amazing way to grow bananas in tropics and subtropics and many of you are asking - What is a banana circle? Why is it such a great method of growing bananas?

Well, I decided to do some research to find out.  As we live in subtropics, a banana circle would work well in our yard. 

This is what we found out:

First of all, what is a banana circle?  It is simply a method of growing bananas (and paw paws if you wish) and other 'fill in' plants in the small area (e.g 2m diameter circle) where you can utilize water run off and overflow water from water tanks to water your produce.

Also by composting your kitchen and garden waste in the middle of your banana circle you feed and water your plants at same time.

Bananas are great plants to use in this method because they are heavy feeders and they love a 'good drink' to be productive.

Let's go through the benefits of a banana circle:

  • You only need a small area (2m - 3m diameter)
  • Much higher yield than traditional growing in the field (traditionally area 3m x 3m)
      - e.g  "3m diameter circle => 12 bananas => 148 punches in 18months => 50% more weight in the punch"  - Bill Mollison        
  • Less watering, less work
  • Hardly any weeds - bananas and other plants planted thickly and a circle is mulched
  • Composting area is in the middle, which feeds your plants

This is certainly one of the fantastic methods of growing fruit trees I have ever seen and so excited to learn more soon as I am attending for the PDC course in the near future :-)

We love to hear your experiences in building a Banana circle and how it's all working for you.  Are you are having any problems with it?  Let us know by commenting below and help us all to learn more.

Here is a couple of great videos for you: The first one is from the School Of Permaculture titled with Permaculture Tip of the Day - What is a Banana Circle? and the second video is from Sunny Rain Ecostead and Studio titled with Building A Banana Circle .


If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to share :-) Thank You.

Heli & Allan Iso-Aho

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Easy Way To Grow Herbs At Home - The Herb Spiral

Hello! Are you looking for an easy way to grow your herbs at home? If you don't have much space and like to grow many different herbs, there is a way to grow them all in the same small space. 

Well, have you ever heard of The Herb Spiral in Permaculture?

The Herb Spiral is a truly amazing, highly productive and energy efficient garden design that was first created by Bill Mollison.  "You can get 58 running feet (approx.17mtrs) of herbs from a Herb Spiral that is approx. 6 feet across at the base and 3 feet high from the middle."-Bill Mollison

The Herb Spiral creates microclimates allowing you to grow different types of herbs in the same area. (e.g rosemary for dry conditions and mint for moist conditions).  Also you can add a small frog pond at the start of a spiral to grow your watercress.

You can grow all your herbs in one small space and by building your garden next to your kitchen door or as close as possible, you can get to your herbs quickly and easily when ever you need them.

 photo source: amberdc

Here are some benefits of a Herb Spiral:
  • You can grow more herbs in the small compact space
  • Different micro-climates allow you to grow a large variety of herbs
  • A Herb Spiral can be build on concrete or any other hard surface
  • Easy to maintain and harvest your herbs
  • Only one sprinkler needed to water whole garden
  • You save time and energy on growing your own herbs
  • You may have a small frog pond build at the start of the spiral
  • Always fresh herbs available and no waste
  • Affordable garden feature - building materials can be found from your home or by going to scrap yards. You can use any kind of material that holds your soil in e.g bricks, rocks, timber, sticks etc.
The best benefit of all, I think is that you are creating an ecosystem that serves you and a range of small animals in your home - like frogs, lizards, insects, and other bugs.

And how would you FEEL daily to see your fresh herbs growing and giving you their heavenly scent....:-)

Here is a great video from The Daedalx tittled with The Herb Spiral where Bill Mollison gives all the secrets in building his famous Herb Spiral.  Enjoy!

Are you ready to set up your own Herb Spiral? Or maybe you have build one already.  Let us your thoughts, we'd love to hear from you.

If you enjoyed this post, please be sociable and share :-) Thank You.

Heli & Allan Iso-Aho

Monday, 10 November 2014

Permaculture Garden - The Benefits Of Growing Your Permaculture Food Forest

Hello! Where do you go when you feel stressed out, anxious or just tired from the days work?  How do you keep your body healthy and full of energy in years to come?

Growing a Permaculture garden with a Food Forest in your property gives you a peaceful environment and provides you a delicious, nutrient dense food which helps you to keep your body healthy and energetic for years to come.

What is a Permaculture Food Forest?  It is a food forest that is designed the way it mimics a natural forests ecosystem.  It produces food without too much human intervention when it's established.  There is no need for pesticides, fertilizers and only a little watering. 

Here are some benefits in growing your own Permaculture Food Forest:
  • You feel physically and mentally healthier by eating a nutrient dense food.
  • Biodiversity brings you food to eat in every day of the year.  Growing annual vegetables as well, give you food almost straight away, while waiting trees to mature (approx. 4-6 years).
  • With a food forest you bring beneficial insects to do your 'dirty' work and there is no need for pesticides.  Give a home for your 'helpers' and they stay look after for your pest problems
  • You can turn your organic waste into a compost and build a living soil with 'happy' microbes.
  • With a chop & drop method you can feed and build your soil to be healthy which keeps your plants healthy and productive.
  • Preserve your soil in any way you can - by having walking paths, avoid compaction of a garden beds, avoid pulling plants out instead cut off from the base and leave a root system to rot in the ground. All garden 'waste' goes back to the soil.
  • Planting diversity of plants which support one another is a system that gives you and a wildlife a place to enjoy many years to come.  Not all the plants and elements are meant to benefit only a human but a whole ecosystem.
  • Energy saving methods:  With plants in the right places you can passively cool or warm your house.  Some other plants can form a wind break.  There are plants for wet and dry spots in your garden.  Even shady places have their purpose. 
  • Creating an ecosystem for human, plants and animals which can be enjoyed by future generations.  Helping to heal the earth starts in our own backyard.
Creating a Permaculture garden in your property is not hard when you know basic principles in ecological gardening and designing.  

There are great courses available and learn from but if your budget is low, by reading books and watching videos on Youtube will get you started.  And then take action!

Start with drawing a rough plan. Observe how the sun moves in your property in different times in the year.  How can you harvest the rain water? 

Start building a compost straight away. Compost any waste organic material from your home. Collect organic materials e.g ask your neighbors if they have any garden waste.

We collect leaves from the local parks.  Ask juice bars their fruit and veggie scraps etc.  Join your local Permaculture group to volunteer and go their workshops. 

The soil is the most important part of any gardening practice.  Keep taking care of the soil and it will take care of your plants :-) 

Helping to heal the Earth starts in our own backyard!

Here is a great video from Johnny Mars again tittled with Permaculture Paradise: Val & Eli's Summer Abundance Part 1!


Are you ready to create your own Permaculture Paradise?  

If you enjoyed this article, please be sociable and share :-)  Thank you.

Heli Iso-Aho