Interesting ideas from Horti 2014
Here are simple, practical and doable ideas for gardeners and farmers in the urban setting or in the countryside. These were showcased at the Horti 2014, the garden show staged recently at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City by the Philippine Horticultural Society headed by Dorie S. Bernabe.
EDIBLE GARDEN – A seed company showcased an idea where urban gardeners can have their flowers and vegetables at the same time. This is the East-West Seed Company which garnered the top prize in the “Corporate Category” of the garden show.
In their exhibit, they demonstrated that vegetables like tomatoes, eggplant, upland kangkong, pechay and others can be planted together with flowering plants like petunia, zinnia, vinca, marigold and the like in the garden. This way, the home owner does not only have the colorful flowering and foliage ornamentals but also edibles that they can harvest fresh for the kitchen.
IF SOIL IS ADOBE – The East-West Seed showcase also demonstrated that if the soil is adobe as is the case in many places in Quezon City, one can still grow robust plants. The technique is to grow the ornamentals and vegetables in containers. These could be in clay pots, rubberized containers, plastic bags and the like.
The trick is to provide a rich and well-drained potting medium. This could be a mixture of carbonized rice hull, coco peat or coco coir dust, organic fertilizer and garden soil.
NOVEL TRELLIS FOR VINE VEGGIES – East-West Seed also displayed a novel trellis for vine vegetables like ampalaya, patola, upo, cucumber, sitao, sigarilyas or winged bean, patani and others.
Here, they planted ampalaya in a half-drum and installed on it a four-cornered trellis consisting of bamboo slats. The bamboo slats, about two inches wide are bent outward at the top towards four directions. The ampalaya or other vine vegetables will grow up to the top and the fruits will just hang below the canopy. That will make a beautiful view and the fruits will be very easy to harvest.
VERTICAL VEGETABLE GARDEN – Toto Barcelona of Harbest Agribusiness showcased another way of growing your own vegetables around your home. If you have very limited space, you can copy Toto’s vertical garden.
The planting bed is actually standing on a portable stand. The bed is about two inches thick held in place between two sheets of poultry wire mesh. The planting medium is a mixture of carbonized rice hull and coco coir dust.
Leafy vegetables like pechay, lettuce, mustard, upland kangkong and others could be planted from the bottom up. Watering is hassle-free because it is done by drip irrigation. Just open the faucet and presto!, the plants are watered and fertilized at the same time.
With a portable stand, the vertical garden can be transferred to a desirable spot whenever needed.
NO NEED TO WATER EVERYDAY – Dr. Eduardo Paningbatan Jr. showcased another technique whereby you can grow your favorite kangkong and other vegetables without having to water them for many days.
A few years back, we wrote about his system of growing vegetables and other plants in halved soft drink bottles using his special medium and plant nutrients that are very affordable. The plants grow robust but you have to water them every day or two.
Now, his new system will enable you to leave your plants without watering them for days or even weeks. This is what he has done. He halved lengthwise the plastic drum that is readily available in many places. On top of the halved drum, he installs welded wire that will hold the plants grown in the soda bottles. The halved drum is filled with water up to an inch or two below the rim.
The kangkong in the halved soda bottles are held in place by the welded wire, with the lower portion of the soda bottles submerged in the water. Water is taken up by the roots to make the plants grow. Dr. Paningbatan places algae in the water to produce oxygen gas that will help aerate the water. He also stocks tilapia fingerlings to eat the wrigglers of mosquitoes, if there are any.
Kangkong seeds or cuttings can be used for planting in the soda bottles. Plants grown from seeds will usually become harvestable in 25 days. The leafy portion can be harvested leaving a leaf or two on the stump. The kangkong will regrow and in about 10 days and the new shoots can be ready for harvesting again.
Actually, other vegetables can also be grown under the same system. These include lettuce, pechay, mustard, camote for tops, alugbati, talinum and even fruiting vegetables, culinary herbs and ornamental plants.