Kochi man grows 40 mango varieties on rooftop
The four-feet tall mango trees are planted in 200-litre scrap containers which have gravel, mud and basic fertilizers in them.
The four-feet tall mango trees are planted in 200-litre scrap containers which have gravel, mud and basic fertilizers in them. It takes just about 10 minutes to water them for the whole day as they do not require much water. Majority of plants are in their flowering stages and the rest have clusters of mangos hanging from them.
Joseph has been successfully growing the different varieties of mango trees by contact grafting. To a single mother plant, he grafts two or three other mango stems. “I earn from about Rs 600-Rs 4,000 for each mango plant I sell depending on its variety,” he said. He turns to YouTube for farming lessons.
His masterpiece is ‘Petricia’ named after his wife, which he cultivated 22 years ago. “Petricia variety is 35% sweeter than the other varieties. While you can get other mangoes and their plants in the market, you can get Petricia only at my house,” he proudly claimed.
Along with mangoes, Joseph has successfully grown different varieties of orchids as well. They are partially submerged in pipes filled with water. “The roots have to find its way to the water, this way the plants don’t drown, and they bloom well,” he said.
The plant grows solely on gravel and water. All the nourishment it requires is provided by the aquaponic water.The aquaponics, which he built by himself, is what sets him apart from other farmers. The water has nitrate, and the PH level is balanced, so it doesn’t smell. The pure water, which is free of ammonia, is what he uses for fish breeding. Joseph currently has Tilapia and Pearl Spot.
For all his plants he uses the basic nitrogen-phosphorous-potassium fertilizer. He has two groups of bees on either side of his terrace, on which he depends for pollination. Nature does its work perfectly in spaces big and small, he said.