Gardening in the Philippines

With the severe drought in the USA, it is predicted that food prices will rise 10% or more world wide on into 2013. The Philippines imports a lot of wheat from the USA, together with soybean meal and beef. The prices will be higher in the days ahead.

Since 2009, when we moved to the Philippines, we grow some of our own vegetables. We now live in the city in a subdivision but we still grow potted vegetables and we grow some vegetables on the small strip of soil that we have in front of our house.

The good news is that we still have our other house and farm, located south of Bacolod about a one hour drive, and we recently began preparing for a larger garden.

Our  home garden

Initially, we planted long green beans and pechay, which is Filipino bokchoy. It is the rainy season now in our area of the Philippines, so it is a gamble to plant anything right now, so we will add more to the garden after September. Eggplant, sweet peppers, hot peppers, Spanish onions and tomatoes are what we are soon targeting.
We have many free range chickens at our farm and we have two “chicken houses” that the chickens like to use when laying eggs. 

Chicken House

Busted!

Someone trying to sneak in and rustle some chickens. Only joking! It is our niece, who was in the sugar cane field looking for some lost chicks who strayed off. No luck.

Orchids and Plants

My wife’s hobby.

More Orchids and Plants

The orchids in the background are growing on driftwood mounts. The nicer ones in our area can be sold for up to P5,000 each or a little more than $100 USD.

We raise sugar cane and rice commercially and we plan to increase our home production of vegetables.

It really is more fun in the Philippines!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homegrown Tomatoes

A little bit is better than nada and I am happy with my tomato plants. It is not so easy to grow large tomatoes in this part of the Philippines. It is much easier in the cooler climate of Don Salvador Benedicto and Mt. Kanlaon, aka “The Salad Bowl of Negros Occidental.” Those areas are higher elevation and it is cooler there. Great weather for growing many vegetables and the tomato that are not hindered by the intense heat.

Homegrown Tomatoes

There are a few little green tomatoes and soon, they will become larger red tomatoes, ready for picking and eating!

Another tomato plant

These tomato plants are potted and growing at our home in Bacolod City. We have a farm but these tomatoes are city tomatoes!

I remember as a child, I would get a big ole ripe tomato from my dad’s garden, put some salt on it and eat it just like I would eat an apple. Now, that is good eating on a hot summer day, especially if you chill the tomato in the fridge first.

Living in the Bacolod area the past 3 years, I discovered it is more difficult to find the larger tomatoes in the public markets but they are available. For a price. Now, I am trying to grow my own tomatoes and it looks like I have a good start!

There are many things you can do with tomatoes. You can make your own salsa or make your own tomato relish. There are hundreds of ways to eat a tomato and you are only limited by your imagination. I like a BLT, Bacon/Lettuce/Tomato, sandwich on toasted bread with lots of mayonnaise. Sometimes, I eat just a tomato sandwich with lots of mayonnaise.

Sliced tomatoes are good at breakfast and go with most anything. We sometimes forget that tomatoes are actually fruit.

I enjoy fried green tomatoes very much. This is the way I do fried green tomatoes. Slice the tomatoes on the thinner side but not too thin, so about 1/2 inch thick. Beat one or two eggs for dipping the tomato slices, depending on how many you need to dip. You can add a little milk to the egg if you wish but it is not required. Put flour that has been seasoned with salt and pepper on one plate for dredging the tomato slices and put cornmeal on another plate for dredging the tomato slices. In order, dredge the tomato slices in flour to coat, dip in the egg mixture and then dredge the tomatoes in the cornmeal. Now, you are ready to fry the tomatoes in cooking oil over medium heat. Don’t overcrowd the skillet or wok, which you are using, and the tomatoes should not touch each other when frying. When the tomatoes are brown, flip over and brown the other side. Drain on paper towels before eating. Fried green tomatoes are best eaten while hot.

As you can see, I am already thinking about what I will do with my homegrown tomatoes. You can buy tomatoes in many places but you just can’t buy your own homegrown tomatoes.