Emily asks about banana circles and composting toilet systems:
I’ve been following you on YouTube and reading your books. I recently came upon your video on the best composting toilet you’ve ever seen.
I was pondering on a few things and was wondering if you could help.
1) would you see any reason to not plant a banana circle around a composting toilet?
2) Are there any plants or hedges you would recommend for privacy or toilet paper if things got really bad? (I was considering Pink Wild Pear (tropical hydrangea) and maybe blue spur flower).
3) my original banana circle plans included sweet potato and cassava. Would these leaves make decent toilet paper or should I look elsewhere?
4) would there be a problem with emptying my composting toilet right Into a banana circle? Would vermicomposting the waste speed things along?
Any information you could give to help me plan the ultimate permaculture master bathroom would be greatly appreciated. We’re also considering running a pipe out to the toilet for a bidet.
From one weird gardener trying to make use of absolutely everything during the apocalypse to another,
I wouldn’t worry about planting a banana circle around a composting toilet. Bananas are very good at digesting lots of nitrogenous material and turning it into luxuriant growth.
As for privacy, I would probably just put up some galvanized panels or wood slats. But just about any lush plants will work too. Hibiscus is very pleasant.
I do not have any toilet paper recommendations. We stockpile the good stuff. I know there may be a time the toilet paper runs out, and when it does, I guess we’ll have to experiment. But it’s not high on my list of life goals.
Emptying buckets into the banana circle should work fine. As for vermicomposting, the worms will arrive on their own. No need to do anything special.
One down side of using a banana circle as a composting toilet receptacle is that you cannot later harvest compost for other crops. You may want to alternate between a bin and the banana circle so you can get compost as well as feed your fruit.
Finally, I cover composting toilets and other extreme methods of humus creation in Compost Everything: The Good Guide to Extreme Composting.
Verbascum thapsus, commonly called common mullein is what I would suggest for toilet paper. I plant it for different reasons mostly medicinal but it has through history also been known as the toilet paper leaf.
TP: as long as you live somewhere there’s plenty of water (ie not the desert), why worry about it? Do what everybody in southeast asia does: have a bucket and dipper in the bathroom, use it to wash, and everybody pats dry with his/her own little handtowel. Once you get past the initial adjustment phase, you’ll wonder why you tolerated TP for so long, when you could have been so much cleaner 😉