You would possibly assume that the greatest technique to develop timber is instantly on the bottom, however Kattappana-native Bijumon Antony disagrees.
“Even rising timber on land can result in tangling of roots and thereby sluggish blooming. All of the vitamins we offer at the start go on to the roots. ‘Air pot gardening’ is a technique to keep away from this by planting saplings on pots stuffed with holes, which may be positioned wherever,” says the proprietor of an unique fruit farm ‘Miracle Farms’ in Idukki, Kerala.
Apart from being a farmer, Bijumon additionally manufactures and sells his personal air pots. He says that this technique of farming is prevalent in overseas international locations like Israel, China and Japan, and provides quicker and higher yields. “However as a result of excessive worth of such pots in India, most farmers don’t take up the approach right here. One pot prices a mean of Rs 650 on main e-commerce platforms,” he says.
Bijumon was a photographer by career and used to run a studio close to his dwelling. Since he hails from a farming household, the 47-year-old had at all times engaged in agriculture as a secondary exercise. But it surely’s been solely 5 years since Bijumon utterly turned his focus to agriculture.
“I began off as an built-in farmer, breeding goats, cows, black fowls, and fish, in addition to rising a number of crops together with cardamom and pepper. I continually learn and researched about new forms of farming appropriate for the local weather of Kerala. Six years in the past, I stumbled upon the thought of cultivating unique fruits, of which sure varieties can stand up to the warmth and rain of the state,” the farmer says.
Right this moment, Bijumon grows fruits like apple (25 varieties), orange, peach, pear, almond, walnut, and apricot at Miracle Farms. Their saplings, grown utterly in air ports, are accessible for buy on the farm and may also be couriered throughout the nation.
What are air pots?
“Air pots are extensive sheets produced from versatile plastic with cone-shaped indents. The indents have small holes on the tip. The sheet comes with a number of screw-like fasteners and a flat round-shaped piece made from plastic display on the backside,” says the farmer.
“The pots may be assembled by wrapping the mat on the underside piece. The benefit right here is that extra air passes by means of the accessible holes, thus benefiting the crops. Additionally, when the roots come out uncovered to the environment, they dehydrate and new roots are produced. These will probably be fibrous roots that require much less vitamins. Remainder of the advantages of the soil go to the plant instantly,” he explains.
Bijumon initiated this technique after planning to get into apple farming. He bought a number of pots on-line and says the outcomes had been nice. However he couldn’t make first rate earnings because the pots had been fairly costly, which led him to fabricate his personal pots.
With the assistance of a Coimbatore-based firm, he now makes them in numerous sizes. To start with, folks visiting his farm had been left intrigued by the pots and requested him to get them a number of. This ultimately changed into a enterprise and his pots are named ‘Miracle Pots’.
“The value vary of the pots is Rs 50 – Rs 1,000, and to develop a mean tree, a pot of Rs 350 is greater than sufficient. If buying wholesale, the value comes down. Individuals often come right here and buy instantly. I additionally courier them to all components of the world,” say the agripreneur.
Apart from rising timber, the pots may also be used for composting. Because the micro organism grows quicker due higher presence of oxygen by means of the holes, composting takes fewer days if completed in air pots, he assures.
Bijumon says that air pot gardening helps crops keep contemporary and offers them with all their dietary wants. It offers outcomes inside half of the prescribed time and requires much less labour. One other notable benefit is that the timber grown this manner may be commuted to every other spot simply, with out injury.
“All you need to do is buy pots of required measurement, fill it with soil, and plant the saplings. Occasional watering and fertilising is sufficient. Every little thing else is much like regular gardening,” he says.
He’s all set to develop his manufacturing and make the pots accessible in native farm outlets. Bijumon, who has studied until Class 8, is accompanied by his sons, who supplied technological assist by beginning a web site and YouTube channel to popularise this technique of farming.
The farmer has acquired the state authorities’s Karshakothama Award in 2019 and the Karshaka Tilak Award in 2020.
Fascinated about air pot gardening? Contact Bijumon 9048505848.
Edited by Divya Sethu
All picture credit: Bijumon Antony