Grow Your Backyard, Grow Your Health

Grow Your Backyard, Grow Your Health
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Backyard planting can be a fun and health-boosting hobby. It also won’t cost you a lot of money. It will require, though, some creativity, ingenuity, resourcefulness, and a bit of patience. But the payoffs are substantial and long-lasting. To start with, you can have a long-term supply of food growing within your picking distance. Next, if you grow a lot of them into sufficient quantity, you can even start your own small business. If the veggies are lush-looking, your neighbors just might be your first customers. Finally, there’s the aesthetic side. Old pots and pans converted into colorful containers where red tomatoes and green malunggay sprout side by side can make for a wonderful mini-garden.

To begin backyard planting, the first thing you need to find out is to suspend everything you need to know about farming. It’s understandable if you’re skeptical at the first. After all, how can anyone grow any living and fruitful plants in an urban setting which is beset by pollution and constrained by lack of air space? Plus, you don’t happen to have acres of farming land spread in the center of the city.

Wooden Box - Urban Farming
Wooden boxes are useful when building your own backyard farm

That’s where the concept of backyard planting comes in. Sometimes, all you need to start with are a few sturdy pots and rich soil. Then you need to buy the right seeds that can grow in those pots. Finally, you need a space where your growing plants can have access to oxygen, sunlight, and rain.  There are no hard and fast rules here. Some urban mini-farmers have started their backyard planting projects on empty roofs, unused balconies, and neglected yards.

Planting veggies

Now as to the seeds you can plant, here are a few you should take a good look at:

Calamansi:  these little green citrus fruits that are sour to the taste are packed with vitamin C. They are also easy to plant and grow. Once harvested, your mom or whoever cooks in your home would love to have them add flavor to their pansit or sinigang. Kilos of calamansi can also make for a cool drink during summer; just add sugar and a lot of ice. Chilled calamansi juice can cool your thirst and your neighbor’s – this early, plan to place a lemonade stand beside your backyard garden.

Malunggay:  this homegrown vegetable, scientifically known as moringa in international circles, is your go-to source of vitamins, minerals, and a lot of nutrients. It has more calcium than milk and a lot more potassium than bananas. The range of vitamins it offers includes A, D, and E.  Freshly picked malunggay can always be an added dish to your lunch and/or dinner.

Urban Farming - Moringa Oleifera
Newbies in urban farming can start with a Malunggay tree. Aside from the fact that it is drought resistant, the malunggay tree is also very low maintenance.

Tomatoes:  many new backyard gardening farmers start off with the trusty red tomato. Aside from the fact that it’s easily planted and nurtured, that red shiny color, especially if basked by the sun’s rays, can be an inspiration to continue seeding and planting. Tomatoes are rich in fiber, iron, magnesium, and vitamins A and C.

One last word of advice for newbie farmers:  make sure that your mini-garden or farm is free of pests, away from clutter, and not easily accessible to the family pets, no matter how friendly they are. Once you’ve harvested your first veggies, put them in the refrigerator immediately, or lay them aside for cooking. Just picking them up and putting them in the kitchen can spoil them. Keep them fresh and ready for cooking, and you’ll get all the nutrients you need from what started as a simple, inexpensive hobby.

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