Thursday, April 28, 2005

Why Organic Farming?

Before I explain, a little on my background… I majored, or rather was majoring but did not finish because of bloody visa problems, in Environmental Studies with a focus on Urban Planning at San Francisco State University. I also have a degree from Le Cordon Bleu, Paris. So I am a person very concerned with the state of our environment and at the same time loves food. Which basically adds up to a penchant for the good life. Everyone should be able to live a quality life – fresh air, clean water, healthy and nutritious food. Is that to much to ask for? Apparently it is these days.

Organic farming does not use chemical fertilizers and pesticides or Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s). We will be using vermiculture fertilizer to prepare the soil for planting and beneficial plants to ward of unwanted insects. After this first addition of fertilizer we will be using our own natural fertilizer or compost made from farm waste, such as banana peel, rotting vegetables, etc., which will be broken down by an enzyme solution invented by Renato. I ordered organic seeds from the US and Canada as there aren’t any available in the Philippines. There are, however, a few organically grown local fruits and vegetables available in the market. I will also be purchasing plants from these farms and private gardeners.

In the meantime, I buy my vegetables from “Market Market!”, a mega-mall located at the Fort. There are three organic food stalls. Together they have almost everything I need to provide for my daily meals and beverages. Rizal Farm’s stall even has organic coffee and hot chocolate! I purchase my organic whole grain rice from several places, one being Greg Doris’ Kalinga Blend, a blend of three different kinds of mountain rice, at the Salcedo Market located in the parking lot in front of Salcedo 1 Building in Salcedo Village. Salcedo Market is open once a week on Saturdays from 9am to 2pm. I order organic red rice from my friend Mon who brings it from Nueva Ecija and purple rice (my favorite) from Narda’s in Baguio.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

A Plot of Land

Hello everyone! I've decided to journal my journey in organic farming and post recipes I come up with using the fresh produce grown on my garden. At the moment my plot of land is full of wild plants. Not for long. In a weeks time, clearing of my 500 sqm plot will take place in order to make way for my organic fruit and vegetable garden. At the moment there are three mango trees, giant sunflowers, bamboo and lots of other grasses covering the entire area. I will be keeping the three mentioned plants and any other beneficial plants we might find. By we I mean Renato, my farm manager. He specializes in organic farming and has a degree in Soil Science. He will be doing the farming and I'll be cooking.

My plot is on an incline with a creek at the bottom, its quite lovely. Because of this we are careful not to strip the land completely leaving it vulnerable to erosion especially during monsoon season. The trees and bamboo are essential in preventing erosion. The bamboo we plan to transplant to the perimeter of the creek and against the property's fence.

Most of what I'll be planting will be gourmet vegetables. This idea came to me out of frustration on the dismal supply of fresh fruits and vegetables in groceries around Manila. I felt I needed more variety.

Here is a sample of what I'll be planting:
4 varieties of sweet peppers
8 varieties of beans
5 varieties of squash
14 varieties of tomatoes
5 varieties of eggplant
5 varieties of potatoes
3 varieties of carrots