The growing media needed to grow a crop has varied to date. Planting on land was done by our ancestors and still is to date but in the face of food insecurity and climate change, other ways have been introduced. Hydroponics is promoted as a new way of planting that does not use soil. Planting in other media such as gravel, sand, coconut fibre or even just styrofoams is now also practised with the help of nutrient solutions.

Talking about Smart Farming, here is an example:

Banana stems have been known to hold water for long periods, one can utilize this stem by planting short rooted vegetables in the stem. This is done by creating small holes in the stem of the banana using a knife or machete and adding a little soil. This type of planting allows the plant to grow even during the dry season and without any form of irrigation. It also helps maximize resources and space. Banana stems are usually thrown away after the fruit is harvested, whereas there are many beneficial uses to banana stems.

Banana stems are a very good medium for vegetable gardening, growing mushrooms and other plants. The Banana stem contains a lot of starch as a source of plant nutrients. Banana trees also have important compounds such as anthraquinone, saponins, and flavonoids.

Anthraquinone is beneficial to humans as it nourishes the hair. In plants, anthraquinone fosters the growth of root hairs that are useful in helping plants absorb nutrients. The banana stem itself is known to contain up to 80% water. The stem has been studied for use as animal feed because of its yield of lignin cellulose. Using banana tree trunks for vegetable gardening is quite easy and can be done as follows:

1. Create a buffer of wood to hold the banana stems which will be placed horizontally.

2. Cut out planting holes in the banana stem that are goblet-sized (minerals) with a width of about 15 cm and a length of 10 cm by using a knife. The distance between the holes can be between 15-20 cm. There can be two-lane holes in a stem.

3. Once the planting holes are dug, fill them with soil, planting medium or organic waste.

4. Let the vegetable planter stand for 2-3 days before planting the vegetable seeds of your choice.

5. A banana stem planter can be used 2-3 times, depending on the condition of the stem.

Feel free to try this in your home gardens.