These past months, we kept ourselves busy despite the onslaught of the El Niño phenomenon that was predicted to be one of the worst and longest ever. And while we say goodbye to drought, we brace ourselves to the upcoming heavy rains of La Niña.
During the first weeks of the year, we prioritized installing the water distribution lines to the fields and gardens before we could plant anything. With the help of the RDC-Kaduami, our non-government organization partner, we’re able to set up the lines using International Boat Containers (IBCs) for storage, irrigation pipes for distribution and plumbing fixtures including sprinklers.
Unlike the past dry seasons, we were able to plant some crops this year because of the availability of water. Because we were still observing the first year cycle of our groundwater source, we decided not to plant rice, which requires more water than other crops. Instead, we planted the fields with legumes such as mung beans, peanuts and bush string beans. We also had some native corns. In our vegetable gardens, we planted pechay/bok choy, eggplant, lettuce, white radish, tomatoes, long chillies, bitter gourds, okras, patolas, squash, patani, sweet potatoes, yams and some herbs like basil, oregano and rosemary. And just after a few weeks, we started harvesting.
We worked in the fields and the gardens early mornings and late afternoons. During the hottest part of the days, we stayed under the shades and built our cob oven, two-burner rocket stove and a cob wall of our semi-outdoor kitchen. We started this build project in February and finished it in April.
We now bake our own bread and pizza! And we can cook two dishes at a time with only one set of firewood.
While we kept ourselves busy working in the farm, we also had a number of visitors and volunteers these past months. But the most special was the crew of the show Green Living, a national TV show that features sustainable practices all over the country. They came and shot a feature on us and what we do. We had a great time during the shoot. The feature will be aired on June 28 (Tuesday) at 6PM on ANC, to be replayed on Wed (June 29) 1:30am, 2:30pm, Thurs (June 30) 3am, Sun (Jul 3) 9:30am, 9:30pm.
Last May 3, we were invited by the Commission on Audit (CoA) to share our stories during their 117th year anniversary celebration. We were personally invited by Commissioner Jose Fabia who’s also a certified permaculture designer and a weekend farmer. According to him, he wanted the commission’s officials and employees to learn permaculture and its advantages. His dream is for government employees to have an option when they reach retiring age and for more Filipinos to learn to love farming again. And he sees it through the practice of permaculture.
And now we’re geared towards preparing for the rainy season and the forecasted La Niña these coming months. The tools are oiled and ready to be used for digging some swales and catchment ponds. Trees are set to be trimmed off of dead branches, to be chopped and used as firewood. The clearing of the dead bamboos and clumps has started. The materials are gathered for securing existing pens and coops and for building new ones.
Although we’re prepping for the rains, we’re also set to grow more food. The compost materials sitting and brewing for a few months are ready for harvesting. The tree seedlings slowly growing in bags will be transplanted. The mature and dried vegetable seeds are set to be planted. The raised beds and trellises are being repaired and readied for the next batch of veggies.
Here’s to more bountiful harvests for the rest of the year. We’re praying to the gods and goddesses for everybody to be safe during this rainy season.