By Donna Rempillo

Growing herbs and vegetables in one’s backyard not only provides the household with a steady supply of fresh produce, it can also be a way to bond with family members and destress from daily life.

Carile Nicole Lanuza is a housewife and a mother of two school-aged daughters. Being a wife of a military enlisted personnel means she gets to spend a lot of time with her daughters. Part of this is spent on recreational activities such as gardening.

Carile Nicole Lanuza grows herbs and vegetables in her backyard container garden in Bocaue, Bulacan.

Lanuza has a green thumb. She attributes this to her coming from a family of farmers. She’s made her home in Bocaue, Bulacan a mini farm and herb boutique.

She learned the art of urban gardening, recycling used bottles into nursing seedlings rather than buying vases and pots. Her mother told her that it’s not the vastness of one’s land but one’s willingness to yield crops that matters.

Failure is an inevitable step to progress. She started with calamansi, papaya, and malunggay; typical backyard bearing trees for a small space. She then turned her interest to planting herbs, but it wasn’t that successful because herbs easily die after transferring it to ground.

Lanuza says that malunggay is one of the plants typically grown in a Filipino backyard garden.

With the help of the internet and advice from other gardeners, she now have 13 types of herbs: thyme, dill, rosemary, tarragon, Australian oregano, parsley, spearmint, peppermint, basil, gotukola , aloe vera, chives, and lemon balm.

Growing herbs, such as the ones pictured, and vegetables means that Lanuza has a variety of ingredients on hand for her kitchen.

Along with these herbs, she has bitter melon (ampalaya), tomatoes, chillies, lemon grass, okra, eggplant, calamansi, and other vines in her 2x 12-foot mini garden. Some of these plants were from seed and some were bought as seedlings. She’s also taken stems from vegetables, placing them in a dish of water until their roots grow, then transplanting them to her garden.

One of the vegetables Lanuza started with was ampalaya.

“The idea of gardening satisfies me because whenever I need herbs and ingredients for my dishes, I can easily pick it up from my backyard. Aside from health benefits, many herbs are hard to find at wet markets. It also brings a stress-free sensation to me and my family” Lanuza said.