Tag Archives: Agriculture

A good year that was

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While my daughter Bella helps me with the mulching , I go about transplanting the okra.

I decided to chronicle my accomplishments as a novice farmer of 2015 not to boast but to boost my morale into moving forward. My love affair with the soil came in so slowly..but when it finally warmed up..Oh boy.. it’s unstoppable within me. Like a good read it keeps me in suspense. And like some comfort food , keeps me wanting to always go back to it to balance my rhythm. January was when the time I made a pact with myself to start sowing seeds and start baby steps in living sustainably.I ate everything along the way to help me in my quest for a natural brand of farming. I was led to attend 3 major seminars that shaped the way I farm now. Natural Building , Intensive Beekeeping and Natural Farming. All of which only made my thirst for knowledge become severe that I decided to make my own backyard my lab to experiment with plants , seed saving and soil-buiding.I made quite a lot of progress and quite a couple of mistakes too that enriched my experience even more..

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Frehly harvested ginger. I sowed them eight months ago.

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Native pigs are my newest addition to my farm. They eat taro leaves and banana trunks that thrive in the farm.

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Every week , I formed this habit to sow seeds. This actually paid off..for this allows a steady supply of harvest every season .Plus,you get to hone your green thumbs.

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I grow these kind of chillies called panigang( finger peppers) and the siling labuyo; combination of which become naturally processed hot sauce.

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When I have ample supply , my husband and I process and bottle to sell.

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A sampling of a variety of harvest on a weekly basis.

 

 

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My New Passion: Hydroponics

Hey world. I had been a very bad blogger lately. Sorry for abandoning you for a long time , readers. Sometimes, it’s easy to get distracted from your first love and  I must admit, gardening took a back seat last couple of months. But I am back with a vengeance.

I will be featuring Hydroponics , the cheaper way to do it. I have to thank my friend Karen for allowing me to see how she grows her lettuce and other herbs successfully using Hydroponics. It is simply defined as growing plants without SOIL. You can do this using mineral nutrients and as I have discovered , you can do this in discarded fruit boxes ( the styrofoam ones used to store grapes, apples, oranges),etc.

Last Wednesday, and a good three hour trip from home, I went to see Karen in Orani , Bataan. I just transferred to a new house and Boy do I want to grow my own veggies in a limited space i have in the backyard. The trip was all worth it. I re-discovered my love for gardening. You see , Karen loves to experiment what works best so it saved me a lot of trial and error on this journey.

Materials you will use:

Fruit box, Plastic Screen ,Duct Tape,styropore cups,Plastic( one you use for greenhouse , Screw Driver , and a Milk Can ( to perforate the Perforate the fruit box using milk can( open it , sharpen with a grinder)

STEP I.Create the holes for the styrofoam cups.The middle ones are for aeration. Do not crowd the rounds so the plants can thrive.

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The base of fruit container , being perforated by an empty milk can . Note that the there are six holes. The diameter is enough for a styropore cup to be inside it with only the lip exposed.

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STEP 2.Create around 3/4 inch incisions on the bottom of the cup . The trick is to use pointed screw driver to punch holes as markers , finished by a cutter. Do this for the six cups needed.This will allow for the roots to have enough nourishment and water

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Brussel sprouts using the Hydroponic method.

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STEP 3 . PUt screens in the middle round and the sides. This is needed for aeration so you don’t have to provide oxygen for the water.This is probably the most important step you will ever do to ensure survival of your plants.

STEP 4.Put a plastic liner so that water will not seep thru the styrofoam.photo liner

Each cup has a date of germination . Here , you’ll see her Temptation and local Bagiuo strawberries on its 4 week existence.Note also that A and B SNAP( Simple Nutrient Addition Program which is available at HGS ) that is incorporated in the water using a 25 ml equal solution: 10 liter tap water .photo 3

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The DIY Hydroponic station : using bamboo, fishnets , plastic and your trusty recycled styrofoam fruit boxes. This is natural farming at its best , that uses the most optimal water to grow lettuce and other herbs in a most limited space.

Of sun kissed farm and my quest for happiness

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Cassava plant (Photo credit: IITA Image Library)

Exactly 17 years ago, I dreamt of having a farm in Tagaytay , Cavite.One that was overlooking the sunken volcano.It was a crazy daydreaming that I and a friend would literally pull over in the side of the highway just to see the spot where the most amazing view of a house and the volcano beckon.I believe back then when I was broke that perhaps , someday, I will have the pleasure of enjoying the reality of this dream.

Fast forward to this present time and I still can not believe my eyes every time I go to this precious farm where the mountains greet me in such splendor.My eyes still turn misty and my heart never fails to skip a bit when I realize the graciousness of God.

Last Thursday, I went with my little daughter to personally harvest some cassava(kamoteng kahoy) and what other vegetables we can fill our baskets with.Thankfully, the bell peppers are still in fruition and the cassava are starting to mature.

For those who have stumbled just now in my blog. I am a weekend farmer. One who just enjoyed the learnings given me by kindhearted people who are willing to share their natural brand of farming and to which i lovingly applied to this hilly land.I consider myself to be an advocate of organic farming , but one that is more endemic to the land.So I have come to grow all things local like, tomatoes, saluyot, alugbati ,amaranth , oregano, eggplant, cassava, ginger, and now some peppers.

I also ventured into propagating ornamental plants . The idea of having cut flowers inside my house just by going out in my little garden gives me a thrill. Much like the thrill of seeing Barefoot Contessa on TV, getting her fresh ingredients and flowers right at her backyard. The passion did not come naturally . I once attend

Congo variety plant I bought in one of the horticultural shows in Qc Circle.THis has proved to be a very resilient beautiful plant for indoors.

ed a course on Tisssue Culture under the great Alice Acoba of Bureau of Plant Industry, and she then introduced me to the wonders of propagating rare ornamental plants . I was so enamored with the field trip to the house of Agnes full of anthuriums and other expensive plants which she then distribute to Manila Pen. Oh, that really started me.

And looking back , it might seem so daunting to even start. I am glad i took that leap of faith. Dear readers, whatever background you came from, you have what it takes.

Ps. If you are indeed interested to get started, want to take that step and commit to learning more? there are a lot of available help thats free. You may check out the Agrilink 2012 this coming Oct 4-6.There are a lot of free seminars there. You have a chance to see the players in the industry and get to meet like-minded people who can encourage you to move forward in reaching your goal.

Here’s to your daydreaming and quest for happiness!

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.

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