Many will say that gardening and farming is not for everyone. But I beg to disagree.
We are now in the internet and information age and there’s no more excuse not to plant vegetables and fruit-bearing trees. Living in the city and in a condominium unit? Many people have done it and I know you could too!
For those with small garden lots and porches, there’s more reason for you to plant vegetables that you commonly use in your kitchen. Not only you will be healthy, you will also save money.
To make the most of your money, time, and space, these are the vegetables that we recommend to Filipino households to plant in their pots and backyards.
The Sinigang/Nilaga Combo
Pechay. This leafy buddy is one of the most favorite vegetables in the Philippines. In the local markets, one bundle may cost around P10 to P15. A pack of pechay seeds (containing hundreds if not thousands seeds) will only cost you around P25 to P40.
Tomatoes. Tomatoes can save you a lot of money. It is one of the most common veggie used in Filipino cuisines and household kitchens. A significant ingredient of many local dishes, tomatoes can be grown easily. You can even get the seeds from the tomatoes you bought from the market and plant them on your pot with wet soil.
Sitaw (Pole beans). Another veggie that is always part of the cast whether it’s sinigang or ginisa, is the sitaw. You can plant some sitaw seeds in a relatively big can of soil and let them crawl up a 4 to 5-foot bamboo stick or wood. You can also use other materials such as strings and old wires as “balag” or trellis.
Gabi (Taro root). This root crop grows not only in the provinces as this can be seen even around Metro Manila where there are vacant lots and open soil. A great pampalapot for your sinigang!
Kangkong (water spinach) or talbos ng kamoteng baging (sweet potato tops). Study shows that these leafy vegetables are rich in ‘antioxidants’ like ‘chlorogenic acid,’ ‘isoclorogenic acid,’ at ‘caffeic acid’. I just love the sweet potato tops (talbos)
Herbs. Yes, you can easily grab them from the shelves of your favorite supermarket. But did you know that you can grow a lot of herbs indoors? Try to plant a few pots of rosemary, basil, and even chilis and let them grow near the windows in your kitchen.
The Ginisang Gulay/Pinakbet Gang
Okra. This slimy friend of yours is definitely very good for your body, and your dishes. I remember my parents putting a couple or more okra on top of our nearly-cooked hot steamed rice and then crushing them with tomato and the locally-made bagoong isda. Yummy!
Ampalaya (Bitter Gourd). It may be bitter for your tongue but very sweet for your body. Another easy-to-grow ingredient for your pinakbet or ginisa with egg.
Calabasa (Squash). The ginataang kalabasa (with sitao) is one of my favorite Filipino dishes. Imagine the savings you will have if you have this in your garden instead of buying them from the market.
Luya or luyang dilaw (ginger or turmeric) Not only it is a great ingredient for your dishes. Luya has medicinal benefits also. Have you tried drinking salabat or ginger tea? Make it a part of your breakfast and see how your health improve along the way.
What Are The Benefits of Growing Your Own Vegetables?
1. You have control over what ends up on your table. You can even decide what fertilizer and pest control to use. You can also choose whether to grow organic. In short, you know that you are eating vegetables that are safe from chemicals you may not like and are bad for you and your family.
2. Your food are surely fresh. There’s nothing better that fruits and vegetables picked from your garden. Did you knwo that once vegetables and fruits are picked these begin to lose moisture and nutrients? But if you are the one who made them grow, you are sure when it was been picked and how fresh it is.
3. A garden is good for your visual and mental health. A garden with vegetabls and fruits can bring color, beauty, and life to your garden. Plus the sight and smell of them can be refreshing for you and your family.
4. You save money. Did you know that the price of a pack of vegetable seeds is almost equivalent to what you would pay for a single vegetable or fruit at the supermarket? You even have to consider the fare or the gas you have to spend on getting to the store and back home.
5. It is a great family activity. Let your and your kids hands get dirty. Let them plant seedlings and harvest the fruits with them. You want them to get off the TV screen and their gadgets? This is the answer! It should be a lot of fun for the whole family!
6. Acquire some Vitamin D. Remember your parents letting you dry like clothes under the morning sun when you were a kid? Yes, it’s true. The sun’s rays promote Vitamin D production which really very good for our health. A 20- to 30-minute a day gardening can promote good sleep and positive energy. So go out now and have fun under the morning sun!
7. You can make money! If you have a garden big enough to plant 20 to 100 vegetable seedlings, then you can make money by selling your produce to your neighborhood or have them picked up by a vendor. The soil is a gift from nature and God so why not use them to bless other people?
Regardless of what you want to plant and grow in your pot or garden, make sure that you only choose those that you and your family will eat and those that will really give you what you want and need.
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