By Vina Medenilla
There are several famous personalities who have chosen to explore different areas of agriculture. Some have gone into aquaculture, while others have chosen livestock and crop production.
Media professionals Julius Caesar Concepcion Babao, popularly known as Julius Babao, and Christine “Tintin” Bersola-Babao grow food and ornamental plants.
Their garden, which they call Casa Uccello garden or Padre Pio Garden, is home to different varieties of fruit-bearing trees and vines, primarily grapes and mangoes. It is found in two areas: on their terrace and in a lot in front of their house.
Tintin mentioned in one vlog that their property across the street used to be their office space and storage room, but when the pandemic arrived, they turned it into a garden.
Julius has been updating his fans with garden progress and tips related to grape and mango cultivation through his YouTube channel, Julius Babao UNPLUGGED.
Tintin does the same, sharing how they harvest crops with their kids and how she uses the produce they picked in the kitchen. Some of the recipes she previously shared on her YouTube channel include grape sinigang and dolma, a Middle Eastern dish that is made of grape leaves stuffed with basmati rice and meat.
Growing fruiting trees in the metro
The grape variety they initially grew is a wine variety that comes in colors green and red. This type, according to Babao, isn’t table grapes, which means it is less edible due to its taste and is typically utilized to make wine.
In another video, Babao says that Bernie “Ka Bernie” Dizon, their resident pomologist and gardening adviser, grafted different varieties of grapes to be able to grow table grape varieties like the red cardinal.
If you walk through their garden, you’ll see metal posts that serve as trellises for grapevines and doubles as a plastic holder to block the rain from entering the garden, especially since grapes do not like getting wet.
In their terrace garden, they mostly grow fruit trees such as duhat, lemon, chico, local orange, and mango in pots.
Even though the trees in this space are still young, they are already fruiting because each plant has two sources of nutrients due to its double rootstocks, Babao explained.
Due to the pandemic, the couple, like many folks, have had spare time to engage in gardening. Through it, they show to others that grapes, which are not usually seen in local farms or gardens, can flourish even in the city.
Photos screengrabbed from Julius Babao’s Instagram account.