Every week I receive messages – either as email or comments below the video episodes or phone calls – regarding doubts about the Miyawaki Method. We try our best to clear some of the major ones. Many people have sought details about putting up a Miyawaki forest on a terrace, and enquired about the Miyawaki terrace forest I have created. So this time, I have chosen to talk about a Miyawaki forest I have here that is more than a year old now, and whatever I have learnt from the experience.
I did not put up a Miyawaki forest on my terrace but on top of a huge rock. The only difference is that this place does not become as insufferable as a terrace in summer, although the rock surface is almost like concrete when it gets hot. We followed two models here. One, we planted saplings in huge barrels and kept them together so that, together, it would resemble the Miyawaki Model. Two, we used large tubs for planting saplings. In comparison, the tubs have greater room to permit roots to interlock with one another, and for microbes to thrive well. The barrels have limited space and will not be the same as planting saplings in open ground.
But this is the only option for those who wish to have forests on tops of terraces. Many people are passionate about terrace forests, and that desire has to be appreciated because not many people have enough ground to accommodate a forest. Perhaps that was not factored in when they constructed their houses. Then there is the problem of neighbours complaining about leaves falling into their compounds. So having a forest on the terrace is the only viable alternative. Some time back, we had advised you to buy old paint cans.
This forest was created in January of 2021. So it is more than one-and-a-half years old. See the growth for yourself. The lime trees have grown well. Guava fruits appeared. We chopped off the top of the guava tree, and now its has thrown up new shoots. There are plenty of hibiscus shrubs, rambutan which we hope will begin to produce fruits next year, and a custard apple tree – all growing inside barrels. As they have been clumped together, all of them show much better growth than they would have had they been raised in pots. This is a method you can think of adopting. Our belief is that it will be successful.
What you need to observe closely is that even though the lime tree has grown well, there is not a single leaf that has not been attacked by pests. Normally, the moment we spot a worm, we spray insecticides. Eventually, the insecticides enter our system. What I mean to say is that insects do not come in the way of the growth of the lime tree. You can see that butterflies have laid eggs on it. Some worms have curled up the leaves. Yet the tree has fruited. So, obviously, either the worm has gone or it has been eaten by its predator.
Besides the lime tree, there is the watery rose apple tree, the allspice tree, the mango tree and so on. In a sense, these are two forests. We have placed seven rows of three barrels each, therefore a total of 21 barrels. Here too, you’ll find six or seven rows of three barrels each. So if you have 21 barrels and enough space to accommodate them, you can have a forest. Make sure to leave some space for you to walk around, lest you should trip over and fall. You can have small islands of Miyawaki forests on your terrace in this fashion.
The Miyawaki Model demands that saplings of plants and trees be planted close to one another so that all of them compete for sunlight and shoot upwards. But make sure to plant them after the roots of each have developed well, to put plenty of organic manure in the seedbed, and not to use insecticides or chemical fertilizers. These are the basic principles of the Miyawaki Method. The plants and trees grow with the help of micro-organisms in the soil. They may not grow as luxuriantly as they would on open ground but they will certainly give you happiness, and produce fruits too. The growth rate will be better if planted in tubs but you have to take certain precautions.
For instance, look at the champak tree in this tub. It has grown and spread branches so widely that the orange, mango and jack saplings below it have become stunted. I myself did not notice it. If I cut the branches of the champak tree, these saplings will shoot up. This tub has a small problem because it is costly to make. But you can go to a shop and ask for damaged water tanks, you will get them at second-hand rates, and then you can conduct your experiment using them. This tub was custom-made for our purpose, using fibre glass. It cost us Rs 7,000. But in my reckoning, it is not wasteful expenditure because on a terrace, it can hold enough soil to plant ten saplings, and thus create a better atmosphere.
So these are the two methods you can experiment with. I show these videos in order to assure you that both are successful. Let me show you another thing. Right in front of me is the Miyawaki forest on the top of a rock. This was also created in January 2021. It has grown far better than those in the barrels. I even had to chop off certain trees. You can see Indian banyan, sacred fig, cluster fig, dye fig and so on. These could be grown on top of a rock.
So let me repeat. If you are interested in Nature, and see an abandoned quarry or a rocky outcrop, you can create a forest there. The initial investment will be high, no doubt. But you can construct a beautiful house in the middle of it and stay there. You can make use of the rocks from there itself to construct a small house. What you see here is an example of it. Those of you who are interested can adopt this model. You can see a drumstick tree growing on the rock. I doubt if it grows so wonderfully on open ground in our plots. Therefore interested parties may think of this option and try out this method.