"FARMING is an art. Speaking with the same language to the soil and seeds and microorganisms and the environment is essential in farming. You have to have a connection with them."
This is according to Francis "Koko" Sajulga, the man behind Aloha Organic Garden located in Mahayag in Bunawan, Davao City.
An almost a hectare garden, Aloha is back in the business operations in February this year after it stopped operations for a year.
"We temporarily suspended our operations when we moved to the US for a year for benchmarking with other organic and botanical gardens outside the country," Sajulga said in vernacular, adding that he and his family came up with the decision in their pursuit for learning and acquiring new knowledge, techniques and methods in organic farming.
Aloha is a "Compost Tea" method in gardening, which utilizes an effective, low-strength, natural fertilizer for seedlings and garden plants. It can suppress fungal plant diseases.
The tea brewing process, Sajulga said, extracts and multiplies nutrients and beneficial bacteria and fungi from the wastes called rabbit dung, goat dung, among others and suspend it in the water then spray it to the plants. The process is called "collar spraying."
"One of the things I learned during my educational tour and seminars to different botanical gardens which I applied in Aloha is the compost tea method. What's good in this agricultural practice is it does not require special equipment, it is very easy and it's natural," he said, adding that he learned it during his seminar at Minnesota Botanical Garden in in Minneapolis.
Aloha offers a wide array of culinary herbs that come in packs and potted plants. These are Tarragon, Rosemary, Hybrid Basils, Turmeric, Peppermint, Spearmint, and Cilantro, among others.
The organic garden employs five farmers who were trained by Sajulja himself.
"Since the garden is expanding, I can't do it alone so I hire staff to help me. It is also my way of helping them and incorporating in their lifestyle the organic way of living. I even encourage them to plant and have a garden in their houses," he said.
Aloha plans to expand and develop some idle properties of his friends and business partners to covert these lands to organic garden.
Aloha is also in the process of securing a certification from organic certifying bodies.
Aloha organic herb is available in different malls in the city and has plans in introducing new products in the market called "organic dried seasoning." It also offers organic vinegars, herb isaw, organic grilled pork steak, roast beef with herb sauce made available during their food bazaars and exhibits.
It also offers organic potted herbs in a form of giveaways for eco-themed events at P100 to P150. It was featured in the recently concluded 1st Mindanao Halal Festival last July 15 to 16.
For more information, visit their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/AlohaOrganicGarden