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Food security is one of the gravest concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic. The community quarantine has displaced 1.048 million Filipino employees and disrupted the supply chain, making it harder for people to put food on their tables.
Several weeks into the quarantine, and it’s become more apparent than ever that some of us are luckier than most. It’s easier for other families to secure food when they’ve got money to burn, haven’t lost their jobs, or have the means to go totmode supermarkets.
If you have the resources, one thing that can help you ensure food security during the pandemic is backyard farming.
Not everyone has access to farmable soil or time to tend to crops. But if you can, backyard farming can significantly add to your food supply. Plus, you’ll never have more time on your hands than you do right now, so a little gardening can make your quarantine a bit more entertaining.
Personally, my family has been tending to several crops in our home for as long as I can remember. Tomatoes, okra, eggplants, chilis, and calamansi are fairly easy to grow, so we’ve always had those stocked in our fridge.
Below are some tips on how to start your own backyard farm.
1. Start small
Your garden doesn’t have to span the whole yard for it to reap rewards. It’s better to start with one to two plants to let yourself become acquainted with the process of farming. It helps you understand the needs of your crops, letting you build your own efficient gardening routine.
By starting small, you also get to observe how your plants grow and their changing needs as they mature. Some crops may need repotting; others require trellises and other structures to bloom.
2. Choose low-maintenance crops
Easy-to-grow plants ensure that you’ll get the fruits of your hard work. Choose crops that only need moderate attention, plenty of sun, and regular watering, so you wouldn’t have to check on them so often.
Here are some low-maintenance vegetables you can consider:
Tomatoes are a popular starter vegetable for beginners. This sun-loving plant needs support for their stalks to grow taller. Plant basil beside your tomatoes to have a natural pest repellent and improve the flavor of your tomatoes.
You can grow carrots by cutting the top off and placing it in a saucer with water. Transfer it onto soil once it sprouts roots. Carrots are best grown in deep, well-drained soil, although they can also thrive in rocky soil.
Malunggay trees grow super fast. Take a healthy branch from a mature tree and cut it diagonally on both ends. Place it in a pot with 85 percent soil, 10 percent sand, and 5 percent compost. Water the plant once a week and keep it in direct sunlight.
Get the seeds from a ripe chili and dry them on a tissue under the sun. Plant the seeds on a tray using potting mix then transfer them to separate pots after two to three weeks. Water them every three days.
3. Prioritize diversity over quantity
Gardens with a variety of crops are more productive than those that grow only one type of plant. The crops mature at different times of the year, so they won’t have to compete with each other for nutrients and water. By keeping a small quantity of plants, you also reduce your waste if they fail to grow.
4. Stick to a schedule
Consistency is the key to a successful garden. Set a watering and tending routine – one that accounts for the different needs of your crops – and stick to it to ensure the growth of your plants.
Backyard farming requires only a few resources, but it reaps generous rewards. It’s also a way for you to make the community quarantine worthwhile. Make the most of your time at home by growing your food today and cutting your future grocery expenses.
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