Urban greening - useful garden plants in cities-A A +A
Monday, September 9, 2013
THE continuous accounts of corruption in government in our dailies, over radios and TV's had resulted in our physical health and mind fatigue. It is too much of these unusual experiences which affect us negatively. I had my last say on this issue and I meant what I had said.
I should rest and think of more informative and relevant activities which we can do. I scanned the news and read about the greening of our environment programs. In Davao del Norte, we have the prototype of this commendable activity and the officials are urging the citizens to do the same. Public school pupils are given Gardening as their vocational subject. I saw pictorials of the pupils harvesting their vegetables and fruits from their plots in the school yard. They provide food for their homes and the excess they sell for some earnings. I decided to make this as the theme of my column today.
I remembered my unique experience during World War 11. There was scarcity of food. We were eating coconut fleshy part cut in squares and roasted. We called this "kasta niyog." The bakeries had cassava flour to bake bread, which were hard to chew and digest.
I thought of the large square lot in front of our house in the city. I can develop this and grow a useful crop. I chose corn because it is healthful and delicious. It was easier to tend. I asked our househelpers to help me till the soil, loosen it, and water it as a preparation. I got a matured corn of good breed as my chosen crop. I followed all steps of planting procedure as deepness of soil, spacing, etc. The corn grew without much care until they had flowers. There was regular watering time. The mature corn plants have male flowers on the tips and the female flowers are just below in the lower part of the stem of the corn plant.
God took over as my gardener. When the wind blows, the flowers shake and the pollens from the male automatically fall on the golden hair-like tip of the female. Now all the flowers are fertilized.
It is a marvel. Each one of the pollen enters the tips of the hair-like pistil stalks the targets. The pollen enters till it reaches the ovule, the female sex cell. Fertilization follows and each becomes a corn kernel lined up on the cob. Now, I know why we need a field of corn plants. This will not happen if there is only one corn plant. Come harvest time you will enjoy and eat the corn which you planted. The pleasure was doubled when I experienced this. Until now corn meal mixed with rice is a staple food in some places in the Visayas.
Back to my dream projects now, I plan to campaign for the greening of our homes in our cities. Do you notice that in our country all houses have vacant lots, small or big around their homes? Even high rise dwellings have patios to grow their plants.
To convince and encourage you let me cite the advantages of this greening program.
First, it will minimize the bad effects of global warming. Green plants absorb the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to use this in manufacturing carbohydrates, the basic source of our food. You see why the earth maintains its forests.
Second, we can have green crops, fruits, trees, and ornamental plants in our urban homes. Never cut grown up fruiting trees already in your lots. We can use them for our food supply and sell them if there are excess yields.
Third, you can decide what you want to plant. These can be orchids, ornamental plants, spices, orchards, vegetables, leafy and fruit bearing.
Fourth, planting and caring for plants has a very good therapeutic effect on your health. The pleasure you derive from this cannot be underestimated.
Now, I will give you the ABC of greening our urban environment.
First, decide on what kind of garden you want to start. A good choice is the mixed garden type. Plants are easy to maintain without much care. Here you have all kinds of soil. For crop choices, I will just name vegetables and fruits in each type. Loose soil is best for camote, alugbati, talinum, and kamoteng kahoy. For good soil plant, malunggay and siniguelas. For root crops, singkamas, ubi, togue, and potato. Patani, radish, and onions may be planted, too.
Second, garden in fences with trellis and support for saluyot, kutchai, ampalaya, garlic, tomato, and spinach.
Third is garden in rocks. Crawling or runners are best here. With water-clogged areas, kangkong is best. Floating plants will thrive here. Garden in pots is best for condos and high rise homes. Get fertile soil and you can plant anything here.
Follow nature in natural farming. East to west orientation must be known to get either maximum sunlight or shady sections to fill the needs of the plants. Use natural insecticides and fungicides. Use organic fertilizers from kitchen wastes and animal wastes treated in the compost pits. Try all these practical instructions. Happy planting and make use of your green thumb endowments.
For comments text cp. no. 09202112534.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 10, 2013.