I answer back with a question---have you ever tasted garden-fresh organic vegetables? Especially one that you picked yourself from your own home garden? Most people haven't. Eaten raw, smoked or sauteed, these veggies are sweet, juicy, crunchy and rich in vibrant textures. They're so different from the usual commercial veggies.
The good news is, we (HOV Gardeners Club) make it easy for you to start your home organic vegetable garden, no matter the size of your available space at home. Just comment below or contact us to get the Home Organic Vegetable (HOV) Gardener's kit and start right away for only P1,888 a kit (20 percent lifetime discount on your next purchase of the fertilizer included). Click here for more on this kit.
Anyway, here's what you should do:
Start a Small Garden. Always start small. Gardening is a science, art, hobby (and therapy) that requires patience. You cannot hurry up and start big at once, especially when we're talking of a home organic vegetable garden in Metro Manila. And it's better to take pride in a small garden than fail with a big one.
And don't plant a lot at once. If you should suffer an error (because you're still a newbie), planting a few would limit the cost. Newbies will learn a lot about gardening and may incur some wasted expenses, so don't do a lot at once.
Choose a Sunny Portion of the Property. See where in your house or yard sunlight is present most of the time. Vegetable plants need some 6 hours of sunlight a day at least. Better if direct sunlight. If plants get enough sunlight, they produce more harvests and better tasting at that.
Land Prep. When you plant palay, you need to do land prep. So with home organic vegetable gardening. The roots of plants need soft soil to easily penetrate through for good foundation and better absorption of soil nutrients. So make sure the soil is well tilled before planting, cleaned of debris, and choose loamy soil.
When plants have grown enough, it is good to gently till the soil around to for air circulation. Mix the soil with organic compost for rich nutrients. For containerized gardens, it's better to replenish new soil now and then, every 2 months at least. The same with compost. This and potting mix will be discussed in a coming article. Soil layers in containerized gardens, if well prepared, can prevent water from collecting on top or getting drained away too fast.
Crops Spacing. Plants should be spaced well. Eggplants can overshadow lettuce, for instance, so that the lettuce gets less sunlight. And their roots might fight each other for survival. And corn planted too near an eggplant may do the same. They will fight over water supply, soil nutrients and sunlight. The result? Growth or cropping failure, disease or death.
Use the Best Seeds. Choose the best seeds to plant. Weak seeds will cost you time, energy and money all wasted. Good seeds may cost more but they yield better results.
Where to Plant. Look for spots in your property where sunlight is seen most times of the day. Place your containerized garden there. If you have enough backyard space, build garden plots that are well tilled (so the soil gets soft and fertile), well irrigated (not susceptible to flooding), and the rows should be perpendicular to the east-west direction, taking in more sunlight.
Containerized gardens are best placed on high-rise shelves, tread and runner shelves (or staired shelves), hanged on walls or windows, or hanging by ropes attached to ceilings.
What to Plant. If you want plants that can produce more crops in a single season, choose beans, cabbage, lettuce, pechay, radish, spinach, carrots, and native chili (labuyo). Moringa or malungay is an excellent plant that needs less care and management but produces a lot of harvests for you. And the more you harvest the leaves the thicker they grow the next time.
Green leafy veggies like lettuce, mustard and pechay can be harvested by cutting the leaves (instead of pulling the tree by the roots), leaving the stump in the soil to produce a second round of leaves. Here, spraying an organic liquid fertilizer helps a lot.
When watering the plants, always gently sprinkle. Never pour water. It is better to use a sprinkler sparingly and in several phases. Let the water seep into the soil and make sure the top soil never gets flooded. A sprayer is best for containerized vegetable gardens to prevent soil from getting washed down through the pores of the containers (containers should be pored just enough at the bottom and at the sides for air and water to circulate properly.
When preparing the layers of soil during potting mix, containers should have soil, compost and aggregates like a little bit of sand or small tee barks or pebbles for creating small "pockets" inside for air and water to travel through properly.