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Heirloom tomatoes flourish in containers in a Baler residence

Cindy M. Celestino, an heirloom tomato grower in Baler, Aurora, posing with her heirloom tomatoes.

Many gardeners prefer container gardening because it allows them to adjust plants according to their sunlight needs and easily relocate them in the event of natural calamities. This, as well as its space-saving benefits, makes it easier for anyone to produce food.

It’s no surprise that Cindy M. Celestino, a 36-year-old Baler resident, also prefers this method of cultivation.

She turned to container gardening when she found her backyard’s conditions were unsuitable for food production.

The crops that grow in her urban garden, however, aren’t the typical ones we usually see because it is mostly populated with heirloom tomatoes that come in different looks.

 

A bountiful harvest of tomatoes in various sizes, shapes, colors, and flavors.

A result of her upbringing and exploration

Her early experience of tending to ornamental plants in her mother’s garden sowed the seeds of her love for gardening.

Owing to this, Celestino used to only cultivate ornamentals, but when she understood the benefits of edible crops, she tried growing kitchen scraps as well.

With just a few successful attempts, she no longer needed to buy vegetables for their household because the garden produced more than enough.

This convinced her to plant more fruits and vegetables in her 5×10 growing space.

This is Celestino’s greenhouse where she keeps her tomato plants.

Why heirloom tomatoes?

“I like heirloom tomatoes because the seeds can be saved,” said Celestino in Taglish, on why she chose them as her primary crop out of all commodities. 

She continued, “When replanted, the yields get the same characteristics (color, taste, size, and shape.) Among these, I am more fascinated by their taste. Each variety has its distinct flavor.”

Heirloom tomatoes piqued her interest when she was exploring edible gardening because they aren’t so common in local markets and gardens.

An heirloom tomato variety called Yellow Ruffled.

As her plants grew in number, her garden also evolved into a business after she built a strong social media presence that allowed her to sell tomato seeds.

When the pandemic affected her husband’s business, selling seeds became her family’s beacon of hope. The garden also feeds her family with fresh and nutritious produce. 

This heirloom farmer built a tomato garden despite the limited space through container gardening.

When growing heirloom tomatoes in containers, the grower said to (1) invest in rich, good soil for a healthy and productive harvest, (2) find out the right planting time so that plants can live longer and bear fruits well, (3) use the recommended container sizes for healthy roots, and (4) avoid moistening the tomato leaves to prevent disease and pest infestation.

These are beefsteak tomatoes that grow in Celestino’s tomato garden.

Celestino proves that starting a garden or a farm does not have to break the bank. Using containers or pots, for example, can save you the time and costs associated with growing in the ground. But regardless of the area size, the most important thing is to be able to provide the tomato plants with the care they deserve.

Photos courtesy of Cindy Celestino

For more information, visit Ceen’s Haven & Gardens

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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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