The two advocacies that are close to my heart are promotion of local tourism and protection of the natural world. Click here for some of my travel blogs.
Ecological Waste Management Summit
Last Saturday, January 27, 2018, I had the opportunity to attend the Ecological Waste Management Summit (E Summit) at the ABS CBN Vertis Tent, Quezon City. This was held by the Environmental Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in observance of the 17th Anniversary of Republic Act 9003 and the Fourth Zero Waste Month from January 25 to 27, 2018.
The event aimed to further boost the DENR’s continuous efforts in enhancing public awareness and understanding of environmental issues and concerns, focusing on practical knowledge for effective solid waste management at source, which includes segregation, composting and recycling.
The exhibit booths showcased numerous environmental products, technologies and services from various Local Government Units (LGUs), Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), government agencies and the private sector. I will post a separate blog and vlog about this so stay tuned.
Also, the summit offered seminars and talks on the current environmental situation, laws and regulations, technological innovations, and sustainable goals. They also conducted workshops on practical ways of saving the planet.
I sat in one of the seminars about Urban Gardening by Mr. Mark Nello Alvarez of the Agricultural Training Institute. With the ever increasing population and congestion in highly urbanized cities like Metro Manila, Urban Gardening presents a viable option to urban dwellers to grow their own food and promote organic farming. I also live in a midrise condominium in the city and I thought that this talk would be value-adding. Allow me to share to you what I have learned below.
Instead of throwing away your plastic bottles, most of which end up in the ocean unfortunately when not recycled, you can do Container Gardening.
Container Gardening is raising vegetables in recycled containers such as mineral water plastic bottles, old tires, old barrels, old styrofoam, old pipes, etc. The added greenery will not only beautify your space but will also provide a relaxing environment since green is a restful and quiet color.
Urban Gardening likewise gives you an opportunity to do Edible Landscaping which utilizes plants such as vegetables, herbs, spices and selected fruit crops instead of ornamental plants that are commonly used in conventional landscaping.
I have a mini garden in my condominium comprised of two (2) plants. LOL. Both plants are ornamental. Super LOL. I should start planting edible plants in recycled containers soon!
How To Start Your Own Urban Garden
1. Choose what to plant.
According to Alvarez, the various plants for Urban Gardening are:
- Leafy vegetables like pechay, mustard, lettuce, sweet potato, malabar spinach, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower
- Root of bulb crops like sweet potato, onion, garlic, carrots, raddish, sugar beets and turnips (singkamas)
- Beans like string beans, mungbeans (munggo), lima beans, snow peas (chicharo)
- Fruit vegetables like tomatoes, eggplants, sweet peppers and okra
The vegetables that can be grown in containers are:
- Vine fruits like squash, cucumber, watermelon, muskmelon, bittergourd (ampalaya), bottle gourd (upo), wintermelon (kundol), dishrag gourd (patola) and chayote (sayote)
- Tree vegetables like horse radish (malungay), sesban (katuray) and breadfruit (camansi)
- Herbal plants like thyme, rosemary, basil and oregano among others
- Mushroom species like pleurotus (oyster mushroom) and black fungus (tainga ng daga)
The Agricultural Training Institute has crop production guides to help you grow your mini urban garden. For more information, you may get in touch with them through their website here.
You may also visit their Facebook Page here.
2. Manage your resources.
Look for available farm tools, equipment, inputs and appropriate planting containers. If you do not have any, you can use old kitchen utensils such as forks and spoons for your mini urban garden.
3. Start planting.
Once you have the seeds and resources, you can start planting. Alvarez recommends buying organic soil since finding suitable soil for planting in Metro Manila is close to impossible. Click here for the list of places where you can buy organic soil.
3. Ensure proper care and management.
Once planting has been completed, the next job is to maintain the plants through fertilizer application, watering and weeding or removing unwanted plants from the growing area.
Know the difference when buying fertilizers. Alvarez shared that synthetic fertilizers feed the plant while organic fertilizers feed the soil which in turn feeds the plant. Ask the vendor, too, about the frequency of using the types of fertilizers.
With the rising cost of inorganic fertilizers, although taxing, using organic fertilizers is more favorable to the pocket and to Mother Nature. I came across a good read on how to prepare an organic fertilizer. Click here.
Click here for the advantages and disadvantages of organic and inorganic fertilizers.
4. Harvest and enjoy your produce.
One of the simple joys I enjoy the most when I am home in Pangasinan is harvesting fresh produce from our backyard. I think our Mom has planted every single fruit and vegetable there is -from dragonfruit to pomegrenate. Now she is into herbs and spices. Who would have thought that my Mom had a green thumb? Even she is surprised.
My Dad has also become fond of planting. The last time I visited him in Pampanga, I brought home two (2) sacks of various fresh produce from his backyard.
I cannot wait for the day that I get to harvest my own produce here in Metro Manila. Heck! Both of my parents are good gardeners! There is no reason why I cannot be one, right? I must admit though that it will be challenging to come up with my own urban garden given the limited space that I have in my condo and the frequent travels I will be doing this year. But, as they say, if there is a will, there is a way. Perhaps, I will start with onions. LOL. I will keep you posted.
Signing out for now. Peace!
Note: The photos shown on here about Urban Gardening are not mine and were photographed from the LED wall during the seminar. All rights belong to the Agriculture Training Institute. No copyright infringement is intended.