BY VINA MEDENILLA

Don Bustamante, 45, a photographer by profession, is one of the many people who have chosen to leave their career to be full-time gardeners. 

Without having a large space, Bustamante took the big leap after finding a new purpose not only in gardening, but also in sharing his personal garden experiences through vlogging. 

One of the lettuce varieties in his rooftop garden is lollo rossa or red leaf lettuce.

On his rooftop that measures 4×7 meters, Bustamante mostly grows common and easy to grow vegetables such as pechay, mustasa, pak choi, kangkong, camote tops, kale, spinach, lettuce, alugbati, eggplant, ampalaya, sitaw, and more. 

Read Don Bustamante’s full story here.

Here are some things that he thinks are helpful when starting a rooftop garden. 

Sufficient knowledge. Success in growing things does not depend on having a green thumb or a large growing space. It comes from the awareness that a gardener must have before growing crops. Plants have different needs. Therefore, Bustamante reminds growers to carefully study the water, light, and soil requirements of each crop to give them the proper care. 

Persistence. Gardening can be a long process. Many people lose interest at first when the initial results of their planting are not good,” said Bustamante. Everyone starts as a beginner. Put in extra effort to study and ask experts or fellow gardeners for help in areas that are hard to grasp. 

Be resourceful. Use available materials that can be beneficial in gardening. It can save money, reduce trash, and hone one’s creativity. 

Grow naturally. The main reason for growing food is for the safety and health of the family. The best way to achieve this is by growing plants naturally. Skipping the use of store-bought chemicals and other products can also increase one’s savings.

Radish or labanos is also one of the fast-growing crops that beginners can grow in PET bottles, said Bustamante. This crop can be harvested 45 days after sowing.

Choosing crops. Any kind of veggies can be grown on a rooftop, said Bustamante, but he prefers fast-growing crops like pechay, mustard, pak choi, lettuce, kale, and kangkong. Plants like tomato, pepper, sitaw, ampalaya, and cucumber are also good for newbies. 

Photos from Don Bustamante. 

To know more of his gardening endeavors, visit Don Bustamante’s Rooftop Gardening on Facebook or YouTube channel.