There are many ways to grow vegetables and fruits, even if you have no backyard. All it requires is a bit of imagination and ingenuity.
In this and other articles in this site, we present a few ideas shared by people from all over the world, some of the vegetables and fruits suggested are more suited for specific countries and climates, but it should be possible to adopt these ideas to vegetables and fruits more suited for the different climates in the Philippines.
Some of the vegetables, like carrots, potatoes, beets, etc. may be suitable for the more sub-tropical regions of the Philippines, e.g., the Cordilleras, mountain regions of Nueva Vizcaya and Mindanao.
[No Backyard? No Problem. by Natural Ways. Some of the vegetables shown here are for temperate or subtropical climates that may be suitable only for certain regions of the Philippines, like the Cordilleras and other high mountain regions in Mindanao.]
Spinach and Amaranths are good leafy vegetables to grow because they do not require too much space and may be placed almost anywhere inside and outside the house -- window, kitchen table, verandah (patio), porch, etc. where the plant may get partial sun or shade.
Cultivated amaranths come in various textures and colors while spinach varieties come in various shapes and textures. All are fast growers and may be grown year round in tropical and subtropical conditions.
In high rise buildings, where there may be limited light, LED lighting may be used. Functionally and aesthetically, the lighting cycle (as needed at home) and the placement of the plants may be integrated with the decor of the home itself. Thus, the potted plants could be grown in the living room, bedroom, kitchen, or other nooks and small spaces even in very small condos or apartments.
To make the potted vegetables even more appealing, rather than a single vegetable species several vegetables (consider some of the examples shown here) with varying leaf and stem textures, colors and heights, etc. may be planted together. However, great care must be taken so that the plants are compatible with each other (i.e., companion planting). Apart from the aesthetic appeal of collage of vegetables planted together, the resulting micro-ecosystem will be less susceptible to pest.
Spring onions or salad onions are among the most used herbs in Filipino cuisine -- lumpia, fresh lumpia, salads and almost any other dish conceivable. It's even better when it is freshly harvested; and what could be more fresh than plucking the spring onions directly from your window or kitchen garden.
Because of its cylindrical and vertical appearance, the spring onion would be a good aesthetic addition also too a collage of vegetables that could serve as center piece decor for the dining table, or even part of shelves or wall decors.
Some herbs and spices are other vegetables that may be grown readily in urban settings because they do not require too much space and those that are partial shade tolerant. Others that require more light may be grown in window sills, patios and entry ways; or may be grown with more efficient LED lights (integrated as part of the decor and lighting as discussed above).
Herbs and spices that require more light may be grown outside of the house, as part of vertical or wall gardens when space is quite limited.
Other than the native varieties of "pechay", there are heat-resistant Chinese and Italian leaf lettuce varieties that should be suitable for "pot gardens". In more sub-tropical regions of the Philippines, the "leafy bochoy" may be a potential addition to the list of vegetables that could be grown in home gardens with limited space.
Kangkong. The video was created by a Westerner, rather than an Asian. Thus, the well-beloved "Kangkong" is not included in the video. The best varieties of kangkong however may not be the native kangkong that grows abundantly in riverine spots of urban areas but the stalk or bush Chinese kangkong varieties.
Tomato Cultivation. Not included in the video are tomato plants cultivation. Tomato is an essential component of many Filipino cuisine and quite expensive. They are best suited as part of outdoor vertical space cultivation because tomato requires more light than may be provided inside the house.
Fast growth. Many of the leafy vegetables mentioned here are fast growers, many ready to be harvested between 20-45 days. Thus,with the ability to harvest as many as 6-15x each year, and by spacing the planting of the various plants and varieties -- the VERTICAL spaces of walls (inside and outside), shelves, windows, patios and even the rooftop of the house would be more than sufficient to provide more than enough food produce for an average Filipino family; year round, and then some.
Health, Safety and Environmental Considerations. Apart from the fact that Filipinos will save money through home grown vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices, the most compelling reason to produce your own food would be for health, safety and environmental considerations. Right now, when you buy some food produce from the market or supermarket, do you really know how it was produced, how safe it is health wise? In the United States, there are products that are labelled "Organic" but that did not prevent some health and safety to arise (although more rare than some of the conventional production).
On the other hand, if you embark into home gardening, you will have control:
- where your plant materials will come from. [If you do not like GMO seeds and prefer "organic", you make your own decision.]
- how to nourish them (organically or through chemicals) until they are harvested
- to recycle whatever waste comes from in-house cultivation and harvest, as well as household waste to be converted to "organic fertilizer"; then used for the next cultivation. In effect, you will be contributing to the fight to avert global warming, air, soil and water pollution that are major problems in the Philippines and worldwide
- how fresh the vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices your family will eat. With less dependence on processed and preserved food products, common from reliance on those bought from the market, restaurants, etc., your family will be more healthy and less prone to diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and other ailments linked to improper food consumption habits and nutrition.
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