In one of my trips in Davao earlier this year, I made sure to come again at Eden’s Nature Park in Talomo, Davao City. Though quite far from the city center, it’s all worth another visit. This time, its no longer for leisure or event, but for one thing about this blog: gardening. I was not able to cover the entire mountain resort of 80 hectares, nestled in 3000 meters above sea level in my earlier trips, that’s why this time, it is worth spending time in this man-made forest park. Before, I have indulged in their lunch buffet of fresh garden salads handpicked in their organic garden with variety of self-concocted dressings and vinaigrette. This time, my priority is to visit that garden where those fresh salad greens and herbs came from.
I listed for a guided shuttle day tour, along with some friends since I don’t have much time to stay in the resort, as I need to go back to Cebu on that same day. Unfortunately along the way, there were only three pitstops for photo taking and the hydrophonic gardens as well as the organic garden were not included. I was a bit disappointed, but managed to get some photos while the shuttle paused for seconds in these places. As advised by their guide, guests are not allowed to enter the hydrophonic garden. None of the chefs and culinary students visiting the place were able to do that.
Here are some photos on how they grow their produce.
I have not known of hydrophonic technology being used by our farmers in Busay or in Mantalungon. This is something Cebuanos can learn so as to lessen our dependency on locally imported vegetables.
These "greenhouse" structure serves many purpose: one is to diffuse sunlight that is directly hitting the plants, and protection from pest and other airborne diseases.
I have an earlier posts about hydrophonics in Talisay City made by a graduating student for her thesis, see this link.
Garden in high altitude enjoys the most stable cool weather, one thing that is very important for vegetables. Most of our vegetables came from Busay, or Baguio, and one thing common in them is the cold weather in high altitude.
Raised-bed garden is just like a thing in my elementary days when we were taught how to grow vegetables in our Home Economics subject. This serves a purpose: to naturally drain the soil if it is raining, as a pathway for the gardener, and as a way on how you divide your plants from the other varieties.
Open lot gardens are achieved if you have available unused parcel of land. For us living in urban setting, all we can do is manage to plant something in pots.
Even herbs grow fast and healthy in an open garden. Therefore if you intend to have a garden someday, invest in open lots or farms.
Who would not love to live in a place where you can just pick-up these fresh greens, wash a little and munch it away!?
For this reason, my next visit will be the farms in Cantipla, Busay and in Mantalungon, the vegetable baskets of Cebu. I want to explore what gardens and farms we have here in Cebu that grows organic vegetables and herbs.
Based on observation on this type of garden, I have listed here basic points to consider when starting your own organic garden:
1. This type of garden is best for those who have the luxury of open spaces. If you have a parcel of lot that is not being used, you can start your raised bed garden like this.
2. Soil is very important in any garden. Make sure you put the best soil. One of the characteristics of a good soil is it does not hold water long or it is porous/permeable and is aerated. Poor soils can be enhanced through using compost materials (or vermicompost) to make it richer and use of porous stones for easy drainage and aeration.
3. Since this is organic and fertilizers and pesticides should not be used. Enhance their natural defense against pest and diseases through arranging your plants in a way that each of them can help protect themselves naturally. Intercropping green leafy vegetables with some herbs that has strong aroma is one way to drive pests away. Don't worry, there are friendly insects that help guard your plants from enemies.
4. Ensure that plants get 100% sunlight (there are also plants that don’t want, and it is good to leave them under shaded areas).
5. Water – this is essential for plants. You can put mechanical waterers to save on effort and time. But if you have smaller areas, pail system is worth it.
6. Weeds – from time to time remove weeds that compete, to ensure all nutrients and water go directly to your plants.
7. Rotation is another thing. Once you harvested already, do not plant the same thing on the same bed on the next cropping cycle. Same type of plants deplete certain soil nutrient than the others, so it is advisable to rotate what you plant from time to time.
If you want to ensure what goes to your mouth and stomach, you should know how to grow your food. Organic gardening is not a new term or movement to embrace. If you can understand its wisdom, it is telling us to go back to our roots – that is how our forefathers used to grow their plants and cook their food.
The next time you are in Davao City and thinks this is worth a visit, here's the details:
Sales and Reservation Office:
Matina Town Square, McArthur Highway, Matina Davao City
Tel. Nos# +6382-299-1020, 296-0791
Day Tour Package: Buffet Lunch – 470.00, Plated Snacks – P200.00, Guided Shuttle Tour – P170.00