Like other fruit trees, durian takes several years before the first harvest is realized. So while waiting for the first fruits to be harvestable, how can the farmer derive income from the farm in the first few years?
Ponchit Ponce Enrile who at one time helped manage a big durian plantation in Digos, Davao del Sur, related that they planted four lakatan banana seedlings around each durian, about a meter away from the young tree.
The bananas served as the nurse plants that provided partial shade to the juvenile durian. In just over a year from planting the lakatan bananas, the first fruits were harvested. It turned out that the bananas became a big money-maker for the company.
In Davao City, the late Severino Belviz rented a farm which he turned into a durian farm for the long term. But to realize early income to pay for the rent while the durian trees are not yet bearing fruit, he planted a portion to glutinous corn for boiling. In less than three months, he had already derived some income.
In one other portion of the rented land, he planted watermelons. That was also a good money-maker. Later, he also planted guava (the guapple type) in between the young durian trees. The beauty about guapple is that in less than two years, the trees start bearing fruits. Belviz was able to produce large volumes of guapple fruits which traders sold not only in Davao City but also in Cebu and other big markets.
The guapple trees were eventually phased out after three years of productive life. By then the durian trees had grown much bigger and started to bear fruit.
Belviz had a way of making sure that his durian trees grew fast and healthy. Instead of the usual practice of fertilizing durian trees two times a year, once at the onset of the rainy season and then at the end of the rainy season. In the case of Belviz, he had a schedule of fertilizing his durian trees every month.