An engineer by profession, Biju Narayanan quit his corporate career a decade ago to take up farming.
At his 95-acre farm, he harvests 80 kg of exotic fruits like rambutan and mangosteen each season.
He achieved this by implementing high-density farming, which helped him get double the usual yield from one-third of the space required in conventional farming.
Biju explains the step-by-step process of how to take up high-density farming:
Select the plants based on how they will grow. Don’t choose too many tall or leafy trees for high-density farming.
Maintain a gap of 2.5 metres between two plants. Plant them in a way that less leafy plants are placed next to those with more cover. This will ensure proper sunlight for each.
Ensure that tall-growing plants are not placed near short ones to avoid sunlight restriction and nutrient competition. The taller plant can hinder the growth of the shorter one by consuming more nutrients from the soil.
Plant varieties that don’t need a lot of space can be placed in pots, drums, and grow bags to save more space. Crops that don’t need much sunlight can be placed in shady areas.
The first three years after planting the sapling are the most important. During this time, you should prune and train the plants, which in turn will decide how healthy they will grow to be.
Regular training helps change the shape, size, and direction of plant growth. Training refers to twisting, bending, or fastening the plants.
Avoid chemical fertilisers and pesticides as they can distort the true growth of plants. Opt for organic alternatives such as compost, cow dung, and neem oil/cake to ensure natural and healthy plant development.
Biju adds that almost all varieties will start giving fruits after three years. Regular watering or fertilising won’t be needed post this.