After the typhoons

There were two typhoons that hit the farm these past weeks ..And while I was busy working  here in the city , I was half praying too that somehow Mother Nature would spare my mahogany and bamboo trees that form the hedge of the farm , and oh ,my still-delicate tomatoes and eggplant  in the open field.

Something’s gotta give, and so several guyabanos and mahoganies went down along with some layers i carefully nurtured .

Last week as I surveyed the damage, my heart sort of sunk a bit with broken fences , tomatoes that need to be transplanted and sporadic branches and trunks of uprooted trees scattered all around.

It’s a good thing my bamboo greenhouse has been completed and with it, the lettuce , cucumbers and all seedlings thrive. I can swear by the wisdom and efficiency of a greenhouse.My farmworker recommends we multiply the bamboo greenhouses since they can definitely give us more yield during off season.

Speaking of off season vegetable production, for those enthusiasts wanting to start growing their vegetables, be it commercial or just in their own backyard , you may sign up in East-West Seed training that offers a 4 day training in san Rafael Bulacan.I attended their Aug. 9- 12 training .Their comprehensive lectures and hands-on would definitely gear you up.

Growing Vegetable in a Bottle

Doing my early Sunday round of stalls in the open market of AANI is not unlike biting into my favorite kakanin like my traditional goto and bibingka way back in my Bulacan days. It’s like a weekly ritual that if I skip it,expect a mild tantrum showing at mid afternoon. This is where I buy my fresh fish, seafoods ,rare veggies and  fruits for the week. And more than that, I relish weaving thru its nooks and crannies that reward me with rare finds like Japanese potteries at affordable prices, overrun clothes that are not so pricy at all but can pass off for casual trips to the malls.

Last Sunday was extra special.In my usual jaunt, I noticed this array of healthy-looking bitter gourds and cucumbers hanging in guess what?Coke 1.5 l.  bottles .I was pleasantly surprised to see the gentleman doing the watering and preparing .It turned out this man is Dr. Eduardo Paningbatan.

Dr. Eduardo Punungbatan attending to his customers in his stall.

Cucumber and Upland Kangkong thriving in his EPP( Enhanced Potting Preparation)

His brand of organic farming defies any argument that you need a piece of land to be able to grow your own food.I like this guy.I ended up buying.It’s no big deal, it’s less than 100 pesos but I got a free lecture and demonstration of his farming.

Natural Farming in Japan

Today, I happily stumbled a wonderful farming site that speaks to me like I was reading a personal journal rather than just about tilling the soil and harvesting veggies.More like an affirmation why I am doing what I am doing. Silly , but it’s true.The japanese blog is written also in English and it will be good for you to check it out too.. I am amazed at the dexterity of Sacchan’s writing as she pours out her insights about her scintillating past ( born and educated in tokyo, stayed for 5 years in Melbourne, and again six years in London , and back to her country to farm ),a gem of a blog indeed.I was instantly mesmerized by Sacchan’s tales of her childhood and her magnanimous philosophy in life and in farming , that it’s best to be on the giving end always.Always being ready to share with neighboring farmers: may it be harvest or fences or knowledge .

The author Sacchan planting rice and getting fascinated with mud.

As I consider this little parcel of land that I have, I think about the many aspirations I wish I had the time now to do.Like putting up a camp site, an ornamental nursery and a thriving sustainable farm able to supply not only to my needs but to a larger community.
I know it’s just a matter of time.
Last week, in the long weekend that everybody enjoyed. I saw the beauty of kindred spirit just enjoying the simplicity of what the farm has to offer.And I get so inspired looking at the pictures.

The Pacific kick- off ride had a pose in front of the Kirilaw Mountains.

The bikes "pastured " in the grassland.

Creating a mini bamboo greenhouse, part 2

It’s been an erratic two weeks of rain and shine. But nonetheless,work proceeded as planned.I hired two farmworkers to gather the bamboo and I bought the needed plastic and nylon, then came up with a sketch very similar to this picture below.I am planning to put several rows of raised beds, meant for cucumber,bellpepper, and lettuce.Next week’s sked is tillage and seedlings! Happy farming!

After the completion of the bamboo posts and its members, came the fun part..the laying out of the UV coated plastic for the roof and nylon net for the sides,making sure we establish some form of drainage on the sides.

It's important to have at least a couple of rows for your vegetable beds and for me, i wanted to have an elevated seedling nursery as well .

An earthworm sanctuary in Eco park

My search for the most effective and cheapest way to bring back nutrition to my otherwise acidic soil has brought me to Ecology Park, where the couple Mr. and Mrs Castro of Earthworm Sanctuary conducts regular seminars on vermiculture -production of fertilizers from the castings of earthworms.This special couple doesn’t know it but they have taught me the most valuable lesson in natural farming.These African nightcrawlers ( the only species good for vermiculture)feed on agricultural wastes, dead leaves , animal manure, coffee grounds and anything organic. Just pile the shredded bits  in a box made of hollowblocks and line it up with tarpauline or sack as bedding.Put a net on top such that it secures the box(ideally for me  8′ x 5′). In 30 to 40 days, I have my own organic fertilizer proudly enriched with live micro organisms.I even tested its ph and to my satisfaction , it has yielded a 6 ph which means it’s fertile!

the vermiculture station in Eco park by the earthworm sanctuary


Creating a Mini Bamboo Greenhouse

With the advent of rains this June,I could not even begin growing my lettuce , or any high value veggies for that matter.So I started devising a cheap greenhouse to house my lettuce and seedling trays for my tomatoes and cucumber.I tasked my reliable caretaker to gather for me the bamboos i need which abound in the vicinity ,and practically costs nada.

I started toying with the area of 7meters x 10m for i don’t want it to be so big. Good thing i learned something from the e-learning by ATI that has an online course on greenhouse 101.I went to Juan Luna st. in Divi to get my UV protected plastic roof and my nylon screen.At least that saved some bucks as I don’t wanna shell out so much. This was how i left it last week, I  hope they’re almost done when i visit this week.Can’t wait to set up the beds already..

The bamboo greenhouse in the early stage of construction

It’s a good day to start a blog on farming!

I chose Golden bamboo as a scenic hedging

It’s a Monday.And what can be a better day to start a blog rolling than today? It’s all the more exciting because I am starting to create a greenhouse for my sustainable farm in Alfonso. I have set out to own a piece of land just beyond Tagaytay 5 years ago. I did not quite know what to make of it, except that I wanted in my heart to be with nature every once in a while when I can manage to get away.I am an interior designer by profession, So what am I doing with my hat and my shovel ,tinkering with Mother Earth?I’m telling you..it escapes me but the high is unexplainable

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