Practical ideas at Horticulture 2014
Farming and gardening enthusiasts will find an array of practical ideas at the ongoing Horticulture 2014, the garden show which will run through February 3 at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City. It is under the auspices of the Philippine Horticultural Society headed by Dorie S. Bernabe.
Urban dwellers with limited space will find doable techniques in the exhibit booth of East-West Seed Company. The company has an exhibit booth where flowering plants and vegetables are grown together in one place.
In places where it is difficult to cultivate the soil because it may be very stony or adobe with no topsoil at all, container planting could be resorted to.
The exhibit includes vegetables that are grown in black plastic bags which are growing and fruiting very well. The vegetables include eggplant, tomatoes, different varieties of sweet and hot peppers, pechay, upland kangkong and others.
The trick in growing healthy and robust plants in containers is the provision of a planting medium that is rich in organic matter. The company uses coco peat or coir dust, carbonized rice hull, river sand and organic fertilizer.
Another doable and very practical technique that is worthwhile copying is the trellis used for vine vegetables grown in containers. At the show is a sample of the trellis consisting of bamboo slats that are curved at the top going toward four directions.
The vine vegetables suitable for such trellis include ampalaya, patola, upo, cucumber, sigarilyas, patani and others. The fruits will just hang under the canopy for easy picking.
East-West Seed is also popularizing decorative potted flowering plants as well as for use as ground cover. These include marigold, vinca, petunia, zinnia and others.
VERTICAL GARDENING — Harbest Agribusiness of Toto Barcelona has a practical way of growing vegetables vertically. Leafy vegetables like lettuce, mustard, kangkong, pechay and others could be grown in a vertical bed consisting of two mesh wires that put in place between them the growing medium of moss and organic material. For convenient and effortless watering, the vertical beds are watered by drip irrigation.
Harbest Agribusiness, by the way, is into hybrid seeds of high-value crops, mini farm machinery, irrigation equipment and other inputs in farming and gardening.
NOTABLE WINNERS — Visitors will also see the gorgeous plants of Boyet Ganigan and Dr. James Silvestre who own Arid and Aroids nursery. Their exhibit booth won the top prize in the landscape booth category. One can see the huge specimens of philodendrons, ferns, bromeliads and other rare ornamental plants.
The second prize winners in the landscape booth category are the tandem of Remy Rodis Santelices and Edna Felipe. Their exhibit booth also showcased a lot of beautifully grown ornamentals and orchids.
The Best-Plant-In-Show was garnered by the variegated Malapapaya or Polyscias nodosa owned by Yuyung LaO. Instead of all-green leaves, this plant has green and yellow foliage.
SENATOR VILLAR — The guest of honor in the ceremonial opening last Thursday was Sen. Cynthia Villar who heads the Committee on Agriculture and Food in the Senate. She congratulated the Philippine Horticulture Society for staging Horticulture 2014 with a focus on Tourism, Wellness and Livelihood.
She urged those engaged in horticulture to grow more vegetables for food and medicinal herbs for wellness. She recalled her visit to Ireland where she observed that a lot of the homes were producing a lot of vegetables and medicinal herbs. She was told that during the last world war, the Irish survived on the vegetables and medicinal herbs that they grew.
Although she could not do much gardening herself because of the demands of her office, she has been an active supporter of gardening, environmental protection and livelihood generation. She has supported gardening in different barangays during her incumbency in Congress.
And the Villar Foundation which she used to manage when not serving as legislator has been supportive of horticultural research. The Foundation, she said, had given a grant to the Institute of Plant Breeding in Los Baños to support the propagation of hibiscus which is an important ornamental plant for landscaping and beautification projects.