Miyawaki is a technique pioneered by Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki, that helps build dense, native forests. The approach is supposed to ensure that plant growth is 10 times faster and the resulting plantation is 30 times denser than usual. It involves planting more then 20~30 types of native species in the same area, and becomes maintenance-free after the first two years.

This article shares the basic steps to create such forests in small urban spaces

Step 1: Determine the soil texture and quantify biomass.
Soil texture helps determine water holding capacity, water infiltration, root perforation capacity, nutrient retention and erodibility. Check if the texture is sandy, loamy or clayey. This can be tested by doing a simple ball & ribbon test. One can watch this video to learn how to do it.

There is another way of doing the test . Once can learn from this another video.

Determining soil type is easy if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty!
Determining soil type is useful before planting.Knowing the soil type may also help you determine how frequently new plantings should be watered.

Once you have the clarity of how your soil is we need to know what to add to the soil? Why?

Perforator materials help to improve perforation and allow roots to grow quickly. For this, we can use biomass that is spongy and dry in nature. Husk is a by-product and easily available at grain mills and animal feed stores. Other options include: Rice husk, wheat husk, corn husk (chipped) or groundnut shells (chipped).

Water retainer helps soil retain more moisture and water, as compared to its natural water retention capacity. Natural materials such as coco-peat or dry sugarcane stalk can be used. A good test is to dip the material into water for some time, and take it out and squeeze. If water oozes out during squeezing, then the material can be used as water retainer.

Organic fertilisers are required for nourishment. Different materials can be used depending on region and availability, such as cow manure, goat manure or vermicompost. Compared to vermicompost, manure is a slow nutrient-releasing plant fertiliser. Manure provides small amounts of nutrients over an extended period, whereas vermicompost gives high doses of nutrition initially but very little later on.

Mulch insulates and protects the soil. It prevents sunlight from falling directly on the soil. Direct sunlight will make soil dry and make conditions difficult for the young saplings. This is especially important in the first 6-8 months, as the plants are young. Mulch also plays a huge role in preventing water from evaporating. Options include rice straw, wheat straw, corn stalk or barley stalk.

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