Imagine our delight when we found out that our youngest staff member, JC Carandang, started an urban-based vegetable garden during quarantine! In her home in Taguig, our social media manager is now puttering around with her seed packets and potting soil, growing and harvesting her own food. Here she tells us all about her new adventure and gives helpful tips on how you can get started too.
So, JC, how did you start?
I started planting herbs and greens during the first month of quarantine. I bought a couple of herb and microgreens starter kits online.
During the first few weeks, I was regularly researching how to make seeds grow, because mine would not (haha!). I tried all sorts of methods, had a couple of fails, but eventually I got the hang of it. I’ve been able to grow greens like lettuce, mustard, kale, and microgreens.
What do you do?
Prior to planting, I plan out what crops I want to start. I do a little bit of research on new seeds I want to plant, to see if it can grow in our current weather or if it needs any sort of special care to help it germinate. This is my favorite part of the process, especially if I have new seeds because I get to learn new things.
Then I plant the seeds in trays with starting mix I get online or in stores. I rarely plant seeds directly in its final pot because our backyard is currently all cement. With the limited space, I have to plan it out a bit. I usually grow seeds every two weeks. This way, there’s always something growing.
Once you start planting and you get into a cycle, you won’t really run out of things to do. Sure, there are days when all you have to do is water and trim a few plants. That’s when I shop online for more seeds to get me excited to start the new cycle.
I’m learning every day how to grow plants better. There are times when seeds don’t germinate or it does but then it dies. I’ve learned that there are really no easy or difficult plants. Sometimes, I’ll have consistent fails with greens that were supposedly easy to grow. On the flip side, I’ve had success with plants that were labeled as difficult. Some plants will really just test your EQ. I think the important thing is to be patient and just keep at it.
Recommend websites where they can buy starter kits?
I started out with Qubo Herb Starter Kits (@quboph or quboph.com). They're really straightforward and includes all the things you’ll need, plus a step-by-step guide on how to start. Ramgo also has starter kits that have more variety like leafy greens.
Once you graduate from kits, there are lots of good sources online for seeds, soil, and pots. My favorite is Marikina Farms for Vermicast and Ramgo for seeds and everything else. A bonus is that they are both on Lazada!
Why do you like doing this?
It’s very therapeutic to plant from seeds. I find it relaxing, but exciting at the same time. It’s where I can just zone out and work with my hands. It’s super exciting if I get to harvest from the plant. If not, at least I was able to learn from it, and I can always try to grow it again.