By Vina Medenilla
They say everything starts at home, and so does one’s love for gardening. One thing that many newbie gardeners think of at first is a land where they can sow their seeds. Not everyone has sufficient garden space, but this shouldn’t be a hindrance as there are many techniques to grow plants in even tiny areas.
Michael Resurreccion, a permaculturist in Cavite, started gardening using a box and containers. Wanting to maximize a vacant lot beside their home, he decided to build an edible garden.
He and his wife are passionate about taking care of plants and native trees. His wife, being a Philippine native trees conservationist and a certified mangrove conservationist from the Zoological Society of London, loves planting and advocating for the environment so they used their resources to start applying what they know in their own garden.
“My garden measures 40×60 square meters only. It is enough for both of us. Actually, me and my wife maintain it so it is a labor of love,” Resurreccion said. Both are not full-time gardeners but they make sure that they have time for gardening because for them, gardening serves as their hobby and therapy for stress.
They grow vegetables for their daily consumption such as eggplant, bush sitaw, camote tops, kangkong, cherry tomato, raddish, and malunggay. Alongside these vegetables are some flowers like marigold and sunflower.
Owning a garden requires time and effort. “I maintain my garden on a daily basis. Every day, I spend one to two hours in the garden; morning and afternoon. I see to it that my edible garden is functioning well,” Resurreccion said.
With his knowledge and advocacy, he created a Facebook page named Lakbaygulay where he shares useful home gardening and kitchen tips that may come handy, especially for novice gardeners. Here are some of them:
Home garden tip #1: Reuse a carton box
If there is a carton box sitting in your storage area, it can be used as an alternative bed for your seeds. Any size of carton box available at home may also be used for this method.
First, make sure to put packaging tape or paper tape inside and outside the box to support its body.
Poke several holes underneath the box for proper drainage.
Set the box into the place where you will grow your plants before putting the soil to keep it from spilling.
Once placed, mix your soil with compost then add your seeds. It is best to sow seeds like pechay, lettuce, or any fast-growing crops due to the inability of the box to hold plants for a long period of time.
Resurreccion said that there are many plant mediums besides a carton box and that your home is an unlimited source of garden materials. An empty plastic container from the junk shop, old used car tires, bamboo, or old broken furniture can be used creatively.
Home garden tip #2: Make your own fertilizer and insecticide
He also creates and uses natural compost fertilizer from kitchen scraps for the soil, as well as for his insecticide, to ensure that it is not detrimental to their health and to the environment.
Home garden tip #3: Check your resources
Based on experience, these are what he thinks that people should consider prior to starting a garden:
Know what to plant – Be knowledgeable about the plant and most importantly, it is better to check the planting calendar.
Garden location – Make sure that you plant in a place where you have enough source of water, wind, and sunlight.
Gardening entails sacrifice and commitment – Love your plants; you must understand what and why are you doing it.
Crop and soil maintenance – a healthy garden is a healthy ecosystem. Don’t use chemical and harmful materials in planting. Go natural. Plant insect repellant plants in your garden like oregano, basil, and more.
Now more than ever, it is great to grow your own food considering the time we spend at home and the crisis we currently face.
“Growing your own food is the new normal today. It is now [the] time that we focus on producing our own food by maintaining an edible garden in our home. Growing your own food is pro-people, pro-environment and pro-community,” Resurreccion added.
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Photos courtesy of Lakbaygulay PH on FB.
This article appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s July to August 2020 issue.