Get down and dirty...
Grow your own vegetables
at home

by Rissa C. Gimenez

Aside from sea vegetables, my family enjoys loads of land veggies too. In our salads are hydroponically-grown lettuce, tomatoes, and brocolli. And in our sauteés and side dishes are organically-grown carrots, peppers, and potatoes. We’ve tried orchard-fresh, market-fresh, and garden-fresh. But probably the sweetest, most succulent veggies we’ve ever tasted are the “veranda-fresh” ones—handpicked of course, from our very own veranda!

Why veranda-fresh? I’ve always wondered if those veggies at the farmer’s market were truly pesticide and fertilizer free. Remember, we ingest these! After all, like any business, vegetable farms must turn a profit. Produce a larger yield at the lowest possible cost. And the best way to achieve that is to “fertilize” the soil and “keep the bugs away”.

We decided to get down and dirty.

Malabar spinach are nutritious and make great ornamental plants too!

Sweet potato tops are perfect for vinaigrette salads and sour soups.

Our vegetable patch is simple to grow and care for. Malabar spinach or alugbati and sweet potato tops or talbos ng kamote are very popular veggies in tropical areas like the Philippines, and propagate easily with stem cuttings. After preparing our soil, we simply stuck a few stalks from the market, into the earth to grow. Added some sunshine, water then voila! Now, we enjoy the freshest and juiciest produce all year ‘round. Best of all, our veggies are fertilizer and insecticide-free! Touted as a designer vegetable in catalogs elsewhere, the alugbati is also a medicinal plant great for diabetic management.

So, why not, try garden, backyard or even veranda-fresh? Nothing beats the wholesome goodness of homegrown.