Maximizing space: a government officer turned his rooftop into a mini-farm, Part 2

Photo from Ricardo Cagara Gio.

By Vina Medenilla

Ricardo C. Gio, the Municipal Local Government Operations Officer of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Leyte, was able to establish a vegetable garden, mini pond, as well as native chicken raising area in his 118 square meter wide rooftop on the third floor of his house in Tacloban City.

Part 1 discussed how he turned his rooftop into a thriving garden after renovating his house after it was affected by typhoon Yolanda. Now, he talks about how he set up a mini fishpond and chicken coop in the same area.

Small tilapia pond

In his mini pond, he does not just raise cultured tilapia but this also comes handy to his vegetable crops.

A dual-purpose mini pond where cultured tilapias are raised.

The water from the pond is rich in urea and nitrogen that are necessary for plant growth hence, Gio fetches the pond water every day and pours them to his vegetable crops.

Over 200 tilapias are raised in his improvised pond made of coco lumber and plywood. He covered it with a plastic tarpaulin that fits the wooden structure and filled it with water. He also set up a water level drain to avoid spillage when it rains. The pond is refilled with water as needed.

He did not want to build a hydroponic setup as it uses electricity and will only benefit selected containers where the system is constructed. He sees the pond as more practical because it is possible to maintain without the use of electricity, plus the pond water can be divided and distributed to all containers in the garden, he said.

For small spaces, tilapia can also be raised in big plastic containers that are food-grade, Gio added.

Aside from the pond, he raises native chickens that are fed with different kinds of chicken feed, including vegetable leaves fresh from their garden.

Chickens with signs of colds and disease are provided with either malunggay or lemongrass juice that is rich in Vitamin C. These are also said to have antiseptic properties that are good for sick chickens.

Cabo, one of the chickens in the garden.

Gio said that the only challenge for poultry raising is the bad odor that it emits. In order to lessen the bad smell, the chicken manure is mixed into the carbonized rice hull that will deodorize the chicken coops.

Raising chickens lessens the family’s food costs as it provides them with safe poultry meat. They currently have four full-grown hens and a rooster that have reproduced 25 chicks of various sizes.

Everything that they produce on their rooftop garden is for their own consumption. For excess supply, they either sell them to their peers and neighbors or share them for free.

They also use the chicken dung mixed with burnt rice hull as fertilizer. This way, nothing is wasted and everything benefits from each other. In his garden, crop production and animal raising are not built for their own purposes but it is a cycle that connects them all together, making his rooftop garden achieve its full productivity.

Insights and photos from Ricardo Cagara Gio.

This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s July to August 2020 issue. 

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Vina Medenilla
Vina Medenilla is a content producer for Agriculture Monthly magazine. She is a graduate from Miriam College with a bachelor’s degree in Communication. Fashion, photography, and travel are some of the things she loves. For her, connection with nature is essential to one’s life.

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