Our farm ತಾತನ ತೋಟ (Grand father’s farm) has been setup based on several months of reading, watching videos & attending trainings plus.. applying a lot of common / local sense.
In this story, would like to share the 36ft X 36ft model for growing — Banana, Mango, Custard Apple, Drumstick, Turdal etc.,
Once we finalised the section of the farm that will be developed into fruit forest, my wife Lakshmi noted down the model from Subhash Palekar book into our farm log book, and started looking for good nursery to source the long term plants, seeds to procure. One school of thought by natural farmers is to bring non-hybrid / non-grafted saplings & native seeds, we decided to look for native seeds as much possible, when not found procured the hybrid varieties, fruit saplings we ended up going with grafted varieties as it was too hard to find a good nursery with non-grafted saplings.
We decided to do the fruit forest in a little over 2 acres & purchased about 80 Mango, 120 Custard Apple, 80 Pomegranate, 20 Amla, 20 Guava Saplings along with few other fruit saplings to have a seasonal fruits all through the year.
2+ acres of land to be made into fruit forest already had a drip line at every 9ft from the last year mass papaya plantation (grown in non-organic manner & had to end the lease with farmer), as we put through the fruit saplings added a new drip line in between the 9ft, so there is drip irrigation for the entire fruit forest.
Banana — we wanted to have a combination of Yellaki & Pachabale variety in the farm, tissue culture saplings of pachabale was procured from horticulture department & for yellaki we picked up the younger shoots from a nearby farm (cousins farm)
Mango — we have a combination of Mallika & Dusherra varierty, we were advised by Ramesh, Teja Nursery (pretty well known guy in Bangalore, his nursery is in Devanahalli) to avoid Badami, because of several plantations affected by stem borer disease now.
Custard Apple — my son loves this fruit & we decided to have more of this, we purchased grafted variety & expect fruits within 2years.
Pomegranate — our adjacent farm has pomegranate & grown in non-natural manner with several spray etc.,.. hence decided to put custard apple that side of farm & utilised all the pomegranate saplings to other side.
Drumstick — we procured seeds of PKM1, PKM2 from a natural seeds dealer in HSR layout (Nimai Organics) & some local variety of drumstick from a nearby farm that was arranged by our farm labourer — Nimal Gogoi (yes, I have 2 farm labourers, who have comes from a village in Demanji, Assam…don’t look like Nepali & trust they are of India origin!).
Turdal — we procured the native variety of seeds from Nimai Organics, both this & Drumstick seeds were put in our nursery seedling tray & transplanted after they were ready to take on the real world growth on farm!
Once we had the fruit forest ready & saplings were coming along with long term fruit plants, I was advised by local farmers to put corn to help as feed for our 2 desi cows on the farm. We as family love sweet corn, so decided to buy 1 kg each of regular & sweet corn, we put them along with custard apple row, these corn helped us not just with additional income, acted as wind breaker & great feed for the cows & hen at the farm.
Mulching was another big question, how do we arrange so much mulching material from outside farms, that led us to plan for a “live” mulching & along with corn seeds purchased — Mangalore Cucumber, Water Melon, Musk Melon & Cucumber seeds along with Pumpkin & Disco Pumpkin saved from our home kitchen, these plants ensured the ground was covered to as much possible area, avoiding drying up of farm land, generated additional source of income & some manure at end of the life of plants.
Fruit Forest in action — 3 months into the fruit forest, short video taken at farm (please don’t mind the low sound, pretty breezy place & audio wasn’t captured pretty well)
Challenges — It’s a true story of farming… & is loaded with several challenges that is local to me at farm, some can be avoided that I will let you the reader pick up:
- Wind — Hope our farm had a little bit more of wind breakers along the East side, that has a bit of valley & all the natural forest trees / neem trees are not providing enough cover, leading to several of drumstick trees to fall off :(
- Quality of seeds — We had a mixed bag of seeds, had a great harvest of Mangalore Cucumber, OK harvest of Musk Melon, only very little harvest of Cucumber & Water Melon for our home.
- Weeds — Our farm is a pretty rich / nutrient soil, along with our plants, end up having a lot of parthenium, that keeps my 2 labourers busy along with me.
- Pumpset — For almost 3 months we struggled with troubled starter of the our borewell pump, several fixes by local electrician failed & finally bringing the set to Bangalore for a complete repair solved it!
Hope you liked my story, do leave a comment or share this with people… whom you think may benefit with, Thanks for reading.