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close this bookBio-intensive Approach to Small-scale Household Food Production (IIRR, 1993, 180 p.)
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Open this folder and view contentsStarting a biointensive garden
Open this folder and view contentsSoil management
Open this folder and view contentsSeed and seedling management
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Open this folder and view contentsPest management
Open this folder and view contentsHandling of garden produce
Open this folder and view contentsNutritional dimension of bio-intensive gardening

(introduction...)

International institute of rural reconstruction
Silang, Cavite, Philippines

Characteristics of the bio-intensive approach to small-scale household food production

THE big-intensive approach to small-scale household level food production differs considerably from the conventional gardening systems because of its stress on deep bed preparation, nutrient recycling, building up of the soil's biological base, diversified cropping, use of indigenous cultivars or locally adapted varieties and its emphasis on a balanced and integrated ecosystem. Here are some of the characteristics of the approach as developed and/or promoted by the author.

Sustainability

The big-intensive approach, as the name suggests, is a biological (as opposed to chemical) form of agriculture in which a small area of land is intensively cultivated, using nature's own ingredients to rebuild and then maintain the soil's productivity. At the heart of the approach is the effort to improve the soils' capability to nurture and sustain plant life. What a big-intensive gardener tries to do on his/her small plot is to simulate/replicate a natural forest (with the constant recycling of nutrients and maintenance of soil, moisture and microbial conditions). Many countries of the world (and China is particularly notable) have farmed biologically for thousands of years and have been able to sustain output levels over these years. In sharp contrast, the "efficient" but shortsighted approaches being used in many Western and third world countries have often been disruptive of the natural resource base. Farmers in many parts of the world are experiencing that they are having to use steadily increasing quantities of fertilizers and pesticides to sustain previous yield levels.

In the big-intensive approach being recommended here for small-scale plots, the soil is gradually improved and the composition of beneficial microbial life actually improves from season to season. The soil structure and humus content also greatly benefits. The nutrient content of the soil is built up after each crop rather than being depleted. A healthy soil means a healthy stand of plants, and that means fewer insects and less disease. In the big-intensive approach, yields continue to rise for the first few years and then tend to stabilize (at an overall higher yield). Such systems and the outputs (i.e., yields) are easily sustained at that level for many years with unchanging or even reduced levels of material and labor inputs.

Recycling of Plant and Animal Wastes and Residues

Every big-intensive gardener attempts to maximize the use of plant and animal residues and wastes. In an attempt to return to the soil much of what come out from it, material is recycled back to the soil. Typically, such material is transported away from the site where it came from in the first place and/or dumped in the garbage or burned. Organic matter must be resumed to the soil that helped build it.

A big-intensive gardener usually composts such plant and animal wastes before returning it to the soil. In addition, other materials (also produced at the soil's "cost") are added, such as ash, bone meal, etc. This replenishes the soil with what was taken from it. Soil requires food just as humans and animals do. Once again, the example of a natural forest and how it regenerates itself through continuous recycling (dead trees, fallen leaves decompose on the forest floor with help from forest animals and microbial life) is helpful in understanding the need for recycling nutrients in the backyard garden.

Source: Gonsalves, J. F. Paper presented at the Asian Vegetable Research and Development Centre, Taiwan. VIP Gardening Workshop. April 25,1985

Today, soils in conventional farming are being literally mined with little or no recycling of organic matter. In the past, various approaches to permit regeneration such as leaving lands to fallow or the abandonment of swidden plots (slash and burn) for periods of 3 - 10 years were used to permit the regeneration of plant and animal life and rebuild the organic matter status. In other parts of the world (in recent years particularly in India), available chemical inputs were combined with animal manure which served to partially return the organic matter to the soil. In the big-intensive approach, organic matter is returned to the soils in the form of compost after each crop.

The cultivation of a range of crops (each of different rooting lengths) tends to retain organic residues in the soil at different depths (when plants are pulled out, rootless and root hairs invariably remain in the soil). Organic matter builds and sustains soil life. No amount of chemicals can do that job. Such organic manure helps "break up" sticky and hardened clays and hold together separate soil particles of sandy soil. Organic matter acts like a sponge that soaks up moisture and retains it for future plant use (at a level) in the soil where it is readily accessible to the plant.

The organic matter can contribute to the buildup of the soil's population of earthworms, which in turn improves the aeration and nutrient status of the soil. John Jeavons of Ecology Action indicates that earthworm castings are five times richer in nitrogen, seven times richer in phosphorus and 11 times richer in potassium than the soil they inhabit. When you consider that earthworms produce twice their weight in castings every day, that's a lot of nutrients added to the soil! The cultivation of a range of different crops having different rooting depths serves to tap different layers of the soil profile, thus, reducing soil exhaustion. In fact, different crops require different quantities of soil nutrients, e.g., leafy crops are heavy on nitrogen, root crops are heavy on phosphorus, fruit crops are heavy on potash and legumes in fact add nitrogen. Hence, crop rotation helps build a sustainable and stable soil.

Self-reliance in Production Inputs

As mentioned earlier, the big-intensive approach is characterized by a greatly reduced dependence on the expensive inputs that are generally used in conventional food production approaches. Many of these non-renewable inputs, such as chemical fertilizers and pesticides, are produced at high energy costs (usually petroleum-based). Instead of such energy- intensive chemicals inputs, plants and animal wastes and natural mineral substitutes are used. In the methods being advocated here, the inputs required are bones, wood ash, eggshells, mudpress (by-product of sugar mills) or compost, ipil-ipil (Leucaena) leaf meal or fish meal (only in places where they are readily available). Liquid manures or manure teas (fresh manure fermented in water) are used as "top-dressing" every 2-3 weeks during the first two months of a plant's life.

Locally available seed material is advocated rather than the purchase of hybrids and other 100% imported substitutes. Experience suggests that it is feasible to achieve a 100% self-reliance in recurring input needs. Other than hand tools, all material inputs are usually available locally or are within easy access. This reduces significantly or eliminates the need for cash outlays. It also provides and produces a sense of being able to control the required production resources. Finally, by emphasizing the use of local and biological resources rather than energy-intensive fossil-fuel based chemical imports, a small step is being made in the direction of conserving the world's nonrenewable resources.

repellent properties as well as applications in the preparation of home remedies for minor ailments. By encouraging the use of traditional medicinal plants with proven values such plants (and knowledge) are "conserved" for future generations. Indigenous vegetable varieties are not readily available in stores; a big-intensive gardener must attempt to retrieve such varieties. Remote and neglected provinces and villagers are good places to begin the search for these vanishing resources. Many indigenous varieties have special features which make them invaluable to the gardener (e.g. hairy stems and leaves which reduce insect problems staggered ripening of produce tolerance to partial shade longer storage quality etc.)

Pest Control

In the big-intensive approach the soil and not the insects is considered the primary source of the pest problem. The wide diversity of vegetables within a single bed tends to reduce insect infestation. In addition specific plants are raised because their odor helps repel insects from plants surrounding them. The use of indigenous and resistant varieties of vegetables also further reduces pest problems (the very fact that these indigenous varieties have been around for generations says something about their resistance to pests). Finally various organic (usually botanical) formulations can be prepared at home for use on small patches of crops. These formulations are generally prepared from locally available material and have no adverse affects on the environment and pose no health hazard to the gardener or the consumer of the sprayed vegetables.

Elimination of Pesticide-related Health Hazards

Every year hundreds of thousands of people are killed due to accidental poisoning by agricultural chemicals. However what is equally concerning is the cumulative deposit of chemicals in the human body (chronic toxicity) which do not result in Immediate deaths but may have long-term effects the origins and causes of which are usually difficult to trace. The lack of "controls" in developing countries often account for the importation of banned chemicals or the use of chemicals without required safety precautions. Pesticide residues in vegetables in markets of the developing world are frighteningly high. Adequate documentation is already available to suggest that the health hazards at the family level both in the developed and developing world are serious. Biointensive gardeners may not be able to solve all the chemical hazard problems but they can ensure that all their own vegetable harvests can be totally free from such hazards. Thus the produce harvested from such a garden is worth far more than its market value in money.

Improved Family Nutrition

One of the most important reasons for raising one's own vegetables using organic methods is the high nutritional quality of the produce. The nutritional value of a vegetable is greatly affected by the condition of the soil. The carbohydrate vitamin protein and mineral content are linked to the soil's mineral and trace-element content. One needs a healthy soil in order to produce a healthy and nutrient-laden vegetable crop.

The emphasis on techniques that do not involve costly inputs tends to provide a greater assurance that vegetables produced this way will be consumed (at the minimum one knows that the vegetables are not being sold in order to recover the capital invested - no small concern of the poor). The emphasis on a diversity of vegetables improves the range of sources of food typically available. By growing a diverse selection of vegetables (as opposed to monocropping) the availability of nutrient-rich vegetables is spread more widely throughout the season. Also since only small quantities of many different kinds of vegetables are being produced the incentive to sell such produce is reduced (relative to the situation when only 1 or 2 crops are raised resulting in peak harvests.

Space Intensive

Given the use of big-intensive techniques, between 60 - 150 sq m of land area (depending on how much land is available) is all that is needed to meet the vegetable needs of a family. This makes the approach highly relevant to areas where there is a high population pressure on land resources or if people are landless. Landless people often have access to at least some backyard space. Also, organizations can often arrange for small community lots where each family can be allocated 60 - 90 sq m of intensive gardening.

In many parts of the world, particularly in the continent of Africa, while land might not be a limiting factor, other inputs such as water and fertilizers are usually severely restricted. Since big-intensive gardens almost always produce higher yields per unit area compared to conventional approaches, such intensive plots may be relevant even in areas where land per se is not limiting. The big-intensive plot is intensively used throughout the year. Plant spacings (i.e., very close) are such that, when plants are fully grown, their leaves barely overlap. Maximum use of space is achieved through companion cropping, succession cropping and multistoried cropping.

Labor-intensive rather than Capital-intensive

The bio-intensive approach is labor-intensive initially and, therefore, is best suited to smallscale, family-centered food production. It is also particularly relevant to the poorest section of society who generally lack the capital but often have underutilized family labor potential. Typically, each of the two beds (30 sq m each) recommended for a family takes 4-8 hours to prepare if the double digging option is chosen. If the other options to prepare raised beds are used, 50% less time is required. However, if the double digging option is chosen (in humid tropics such as the Philippines), a single onetime bed preparation is all that is required.

No subsequent digging will be necessary, (assuming the beds are always covered with some plants and/or mulch). Whatever the option, the amount of labor required declines from season to season.

Water Conservation

The big-intensive approach described in this kit uses significantly less water than conventional garden plots. The method of deep bed preparation and the fact that the soil in the bed remains loose (only the soil in the path between beds is subject to compaction) permits the absorption of most of the water which is applied or falls (in case of natural rainfall) on the bed itself. Once in the soil, the judicious quantity of compost which was added to the soil serves to retain moisture within the rooting zone. The closer spacing of plants recommended in the big-intensive approach reduces the evaporation of water from the soil surface as a result of the sun's action on the soil. Mulching (a layer of grass or straw applied onto the soil and between plants) serves to keep the moisture loss to the minimum. The close spacing of plants reduces further the loss of moisture as a result of the wind's action on the soil and plants.

Conservation of Plant Genetic Resources

The big-intensive approach, as developed by the author, puts strong emphasis on the use of indigenous vegetable varieties. Ideally, a home garden should aim at 100% dependency on such selected traditional seed varieties. The strategy which emphasizes indigenous cultivars not only provides a significant insurance against pests due to the diversity, inherent hardiness and pest tolerance (through years of evolution) but also serves to ensure that this valuable heritage of humankind is conserved for future generations. The best conservators and curators may not always be the seed banks but the farmers and gardeners themselves.

Another aspect stressed by the author is the inclusion of indigenous plants which have insect quantities that are far greater than the consumption needs of the family). Special emphasis is given to the nutritional aspect of vegetable gardening and preparation of produce with special emphasis on leafy vegetables (e.g., amaranth) and grain legumes (including winged bean) besides the crops more commonly grown. The emphasis on traditional varieties means that more than one plant part is usually edible (e.g., roots, leaves, flowers, pods, etc.). Certain plants are usually good contributors of energy (e.g., lima, pigeon pea, rice bean, hyacinth bean all consist of approximately 50% energy and 20% protein).

Income Generation

The dependence on home-grown vegetables usually results in a significant saving of cash resources. This can be used for nonfood needs of the family. However, the big-intensive approach can also be used as an income-generating project, through the production of vegetables for sale Lo nearby markets. Such ventures must be preceded by a well-designed educational campaign to ensure that at least a certain percentage of the harvest is utilized at home.

The cultivation of a wide variety of crops tends to insulate cultivators against the risk of (i) devastation of monocrops by pests and (ii) risk of price slumps resulting from overproduction of a particular crop. If the big-intensive approach is to be used as an income-generation project, the number of beds needs to be increased from two (each 30 sq m) to at least ten or twelve. If these are prepared during the slack period (e.g., after harvest), the bed preparation can usually be accomplished over a period of time and with no cash outlay: family labor or through mutual help in a village community. Since small quantities of a large number of vegetables are raised, the producer can market them locally or/and directly, thus, ensuring higher cash returns.

Risk-free

The use of readily available natural resources and the total reliance on family labor in the bigintensive approach reduce any financial risks to the family. The use of organic nutrient sources, the continuous improvement of soil and the growing of a highly diverse selection of vegetables (usually 8-10 in two beds) tend to reduce very significantly, pest problems. If pests do cause damage, only a portion of the crop is lost because of the diversity of crops grown. (The risks of monocropping are eliminated here.) If-a complete shift can be brought about to the use of traditional varieties (those that have been around for generations), the pest problems and therefore, the risks are negligible.

Ecologically Sound

The big-intensive approach suggests that human beings must work with nature rather than attempt to dominate and control it. Renewable sources of energy are used in this system. Every attempt is made to maintain an environmental balance. The non-use of increasing quantities of chemical-based inputs reduces the contamination of the environment with chemicals that tend to persist in the soil for many years after use (i.e., they are not big-degradable). The use of animal manures (in countries where they are not already being used, as in parts of the Philippines and Africa) can reduce environment sanitation problems and related health problems in rural areas. The big-intensive approach at the home-garden level can set people thinking about the "larger" environmental issues. It can get people to question what they may hitherto have accepted as an inevitable consequence of modernization and development.

Why household food security through gardens makes sense?

Rural people in many parts of the world have always used their house-yard space to grow food, but modem agriculturists have generally not recognized this.

Degradation of the agricultural and natural resource base requires the use of intensive small-scale biological approaches to vegetable production.

Garden produce is usually raised with the use of ash, compost, waste water and mulch. This provides an opportunity to recycle household waste and maintain sanitation.

Pesticide residues on vegetables have reached alarming proportions. Growing ones own is one way of ensuring pesticide-free and safe vegetables.

Food grown around homes and without the use of external inputs is usually consumed by the family. Fresh and higher quality vegetables with better nutritional values are harvested.


Why household food security through gardens makes sense

Information, education and communication approaches to household vegetable gardening

View the garden program as a multiagency activity and not the prerogative or responsibility of specialised agricultural agencies.

Conduct short appreciation courses for policymakers and agency heads using day-long garden tours and slide lectures accompanied by testimonials from gardeners.

Identify the landless, or populations with limited or ecologically marginalised land holdings, for whom food acquisition is currently a problem.

Select three or more project sites as opposed to a single one. Start with a few gardeners in each site.

Conduct short courses for gardeners (three days at maximum). In the first year of a new program, conduct follow-up courses every quarter.

In the second year and when scaling up, rely on cross-visits and garden tours conducted by experienced gardeners rather than on formal training.

Make available simplified, single-concept technical information sheets to gardeners, extension workers and agency staff.

Involve both the nutritionist and the agriculturist in the garden program.

Document and share experiences an an annual basis through written reports to agency staff.

With the advancement of the program, solicit more and more gardener involvement in training and monitoring. Give technicians the responsibility for trouble-shooting and training- orchestration.

In the third year, consider an interagency newsletter to exchange experiences between gardeners and across agencies.

Devote a minimum of three years and preferably five years to any major effort to introduce gardening.


Information, education and communication approaches to household vegetable gardening

The household as a production and consumption unit

The household, seen as a production and consumption unit, has three subsystems:

A. The Household Subsystem: This is the socioeconomic unit concerned with the household structure and its composition: husband and wife, children, grandparents and often other family relatives. Different responsibilities (some culturally defined) are to be found with regard to food production and utilization and related decision-making. The access to, and control of, productive resources may differ from household to household.

B. The Production Subsystem: This refers more to the physical unit with an emphasis on homestead-level production (halaman sa bakuran) and, to a lesser degree, on field production (pulo or bukid). This subsystem is affected by the access to productive resources mainly land area, capital and other inputs. This includes production from backyard activities, such as small livestock, home gardens (including traditional sources such as the mixed backyard garden) and, sometimes, fish ponds. If the production from the main field is even partly consumed at home, that physical unit must also be considered (e.g., cereals or large animals).

C. The Consumption Subsystem: This is the biological unit and refers to the actual utilization of the food produced at the household level. Consumption is affected by factors such as: the total quantity of food produced; the numbers of consumers involved; the pressure to market the food (e.g., to repay capital costs); cultural values and attitudes to the kinds of food produced and not produced locally; patterns of distribution of food within the household system; and, food preparation and preservation practices (to prevent waste during peak production months).

Food consumption includes items that were not specially grown by the consuming unit or purchased but were either bartered, or scavenged (mamumulot), collected from other sources (e.g., fish, backyard trees or halaman sa bakuran) or procured as part of some culturally accepted norms (hunusan or share of harvests given to laborers assisting in the harvest).


The household as a production and consumption unit

Definitions of homegardens

1. Homegarden is an area of land, individually owned, surrounding a house and usually planted with a mixture of perennials and annuals. (TERRA, 1954)

2. A plot of land that has a residence on it, fixed boundaries and a functional relationship with its occupants. (Second Homegarden Seminar Indonesia, 1978)

3. A subsystem within larger food procurement systems which aims to produce household consumption items, either not obtainable through permanent shifting agriculture, hunting, gathering, fishing, livestock, husbandry or wage earners. (Anonymous)

4. A garden is defined as a supplementary food production system that is under the management and control of household members. A household garden can be consumption-or market-oriented, but at least some of the produce will be consumed by the household. As a supplementary production system, the household garden is secondary to both the primary source of household food, whether from field production or purchase and to household income, whether from sales of field produce, wage labour or other sources. (Soleri, D.; Cleveland, D. A. and Frankenberger, T. R., 1991)

5. Homegarden covers the production of vegetable for family use. It is an important but inexperienced way of providing a continuous supply of fresh vegetables for family table. Yields from the homegarden contribute to the family nutrition and may even provide additional income. (Soriano, J.M. and R.L. Villareal, 1969).

6. Homegarden is a land use with definite boundaries and a house, which is usually (but not always) a mixture of annual, perennial plants and animals and serves as variety of biophysical, economics and sociocultural functions for the owner. (Soemarwoto and Soemarwato, 1985)

7. A small area where vegetable-growing is being done. In this type of garden, planting is done regularly. Its primary purpose is to provide a continuous supply of nutritious but cheap good quality vegetables for home use. In certain cases, it also provides an extra income when excess vegetables are sold. (Aycardo, H. B. and C. R. Creencia, 1981)

8. Refers to garden within the household perimeter, including the garden located out in the field, the produce of which is normally intended for household consumption. (Eusebio, J. S., 1988)

9. An area within the home lot or elsewhere cultivated for home consumption. (Torres, E. B., 1988)

10. A piece of ground usually adjoining a dwelling where vegetables, fruits and ornamentals are cultivated. (Javier, F. B., 1988)


Definitions of homegardens

Vegetables throughout the year

You can fight malnutrition right in your backyard!

The Food Always In The Home (FAITH) gardening method is a nonconventional form of gardening that, with minimum capital and lots of-native enterprise, can assure needy families of a steady supply of nutritious food - and extra income. FAITH can provide the necessary protein, vitamin and mineral requirements needed by a family of six. It can also reduce the country's heavy reliance on chemical fertilizers that pose health hazards and wreak havoc on the environment.

The system was developed and popularized by the Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center (MBRLC), a nongovernment organization working in Kinuskusan, Bansalan, Davao del Sur, Philippines since 1974.

While vegetables can be grown easily in the Philippines, Filipinos do not grow enough of them. The average per capita consumption of 12.4 kilograms of green and yellow vegetables is far short of the recommended allowance of 32.4 kilograms per year. (Medrana 1988)

Home gardening can reduce, by about 20%, a family's total daily food expenditures. (Tones 1987)

19%, or one out of every five of the country's pre-school population, is severely or moderately underweight.

16.8% of the country's school children (7 - 10 years) have weights that fall below the standard weight for their age.

The Ten Steps of FAITH Gardening

1. Locate the best site for the garden. Select a site with a good water supply (it is vital, particularly during the dry season), good soil drainage (if your land is flat, dig drainage channels or ditches around the planting site) and fertility (it must be fertile enough to make plants grow), sunlight availability (growing plants need sunshine to manufacture food), and good air circulation (the site must have natural windbreaks).

2. Provide enough space. The ideal garden size is 96-100 square meters and has a dimension of 6 × 16 meters. This size is adequate to supply every day the fresh vegetables needed for a family of six.
3. Thoroughly prepare the plot. Prepare the land manually with a hoe and rake. Clean the site and save cut grasses and weeds for composting later on. Dig the land at least two times to a depth of 15 - 20 cm, harrowing with a rake and pulverizing clods between diggings. To provide good surface drainage, make raised beds 10 - 15 cm above ground level.

4. Fertilize with compost. Make compost baskets of wire or shape flexible bamboo strips around stakes to make round forms at least 30 cm high. Plant seeds/seedlings 5 - 8 cm away from the composts. Watering should be done inside the baskets - not directly to the plants.

5. Plant 1/3 of the section to early maturing vegetables. Divide the garden into three sections. Set aside the first section for vegetables that you can harvest in 2-4 months, such as tomato, pechay, sweet corn, etc. Do not plant the whole section; reserve I/2 of the section for relay planting.

6. Plant another 1/3 to semi-annual vegetables; Set aside the second section for vegetables that are harvestable in 6-9 months. Examples: winged bean, bitter gourd, cucumber, ginger. As in the first section, plant ½ of this section and reserve the remaining half-portion for relay planting.

7. Plant the remaining 1/3 to annual vegetables. Set aside the last section for planting year-round vegetables like lima beans, upland swamp cabbage, basella, pigeon pea, etc. Reserve In of the section for relay planting.

8. Plant the surrounding area of the garden to permanent crops and semipermanent crops. Examples of these crops are papaya, pineapple, guava, yam beans, horseradish, banana and citrus.

9. Plant reserved portions on time. This will further help ensure continuous and adequate supply of fresh vegetables in your home. In the third section of the garden, plant the reserved half-portion when the first crops in the other half are about 5 months old. In the second section, plant the reserved portion when the first crops are about 4 months old. In the first section, plant the reserved portion when the first crops start to flower.

10. Practice crop rotation when replanting. This is done to improve soil fertility and prevent the spread of pests and diseases. This means that you plant leguminous vegetables (like soybean, bush sitao) to garden plots where non-leguminous vegetables (such as tomato, eggplant, ginger) were previously planted and vice versa.


Locate the best site for the garden


Thoroughly prepare the plot


Fertilize with compost


Plant 1/3 of the section to early maturing vegetables


Plant reserved portions on time

Before transplanting seedlings in the garden plots, "harden" them first for several days. This is done by exposing them gradually to strong sunlight in the field or by withholding water from them.

Cultivate or loosen the soil around the plants to enable their roots to expand and develop fully.

When you observe that your vegetable crops are no longer productive, you can rejuvenate plants like ladyfinger, lima beans, winged beans, eggplants sweet pepper and horseradish by cutting to a height of ½ to 1 foot above the ground.

Plants like cucumber, bitter gourd, bottle gourd, winged beans, string beans and snap beans need trellises or supports. Poles 2.4 - 2.7 meters in length are usually set in the ground to a sufficient depth in a tepee-like arrangement.

FAITH is not the final word in family gardening. This is only an attempt to develop a home garden that can provide adequate food with minimum cost, labor and land utilization. It is meant to be used as a guide.

Source: Tacio, H. D., HR. Watson and W. A. Laquihon. (Undated). Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center.

Layout for a small-scale, household level vegetable production plot


Layout for a small-scale, household level vegetable production plot

TOTAL AREA: 400-500 sq ft (35 - 45 sq m)
OUTPUT: 3-6 Ibs (1 - 2.5 kg) per day for 300 days

Important Considerations

1. Orient the rows in an east-west direction to avoid shading of the crops by the trellis.

2. Beds should not be more than 1.5 m wide to permit working on either side-of the bed without trampling on it (thus avoiding compaction).

3. Each bed should be intensively planted. It should preferably contain at least one of each of the following categories: leaf, root, legume and fruit-bearing vegetables.

4. Aromatic herbs should be intercropped in between vegetables to repel insects.

Technological profile

Plot Size: Only 20-30 sq m of "growing bed" area

Bed Preparation:

a Raised, narrow (not more than 1.5 m), deep-dug (30 - 60 cm) beds
b. Use of compost or other organic alternatives such as mudpress (0.25 - 0.75 cu m/9 sq m)
c. High labor usage initially (2-6 hours/9 sq m)
d. In humid tropics: possibility of eliminating subsequent digging of beds
e. The use of narrow beds restricts compaction to the pathways only.
f. Continuous crop cover and mulch reduces compaction (within beds) from rainfall.

Bed Fertilization:

a 0.25 cu m of compost or mudpress (by-product of sugar mills), egg shells, bone-meal, wood or cane-trash ash, ipil-ipil leaves/fish meal

b. Use of liquid manures or manure teas (fermented water-manure mixtures)

c. Inclusion of nitrogen-fixing crops into the annual crop cycle.

Crop Planning:

a Crop rotation (root, leaf, legume and fruit crops) aimed at regenerating soils and breaking pest life cycles

b. Intensive planting to achieve maximum use of space and higher yields per unit area

c. Conservation of genetic resource through the promotion of local varieties (backyard curators)

d. Inclusion of culturally acceptable, nutritionally important vegetables (amaranth, rice bean, winged bean, etc.)

e. Diversification of diet through cultivation of a wide range of vegetables or multipurpose plants

f. Inclusion of short-duration crops to deal with wet season and/or dry-season food deficiencies

g. Cultivation of trellis-crops along side the growing beds

h. Perennial, polycultural, multistoried fence crops ("edible fences")

i. Cultivation of shade-tolerant crops under the trellis.

Water Conservation:

a Close spacing of crops reduces evaporation from the soil.

b. Mulching lowers soil temperature and reduces evaporation.

c. Deep tillage and organic matter in the soil encourages water entry and conservation within bed (reduces runoff).

d. Overall a 30-50% reduction of water needs can be expected.

Weeding:

a. Significant reduction of weeding time (70% of weeding time is eliminated.)

b. Significant reduction of the growth of weeds due to deep tillage, mulching and close spacing of crops.

Pest Control:

a Soil improvement; good drainage; balanced soil nutritional status; presence of beneficial fungi (mycorrhiza) is the basis for pest reduction.

b. Crowing a diversity of crops reduces insects.

c. Crop rotation breaks the life cycle of pests.

d. Inclusion of acclimatized, hardy pest-tolerant indigenous varieties

e. Use of medicinal plants that also have insect-repellent properties (as intercrops)

f. Removal of diseased plants/plant parts prevents the spread of infestation.

g. Use of botanical formulations as pest control sprays

h. Encouragement of predatory species of insects.

Average Yield: 0. 75 kgs /9 sq m/day

The rationale for deep-dug and raised beds

More plants can be accommodated/unit area.

Increased entry of rainwater into plots and less runoff.

Reduced evaporation of applied water due to the dense crop canopy.

Applied -water is stored in lower profiles of the plot and thereby conserved.

Improved earthworm activity and nitrogen-fixing bacteria due to improved soilmoisture organic matter status.

The plots are spared from the effects of too much rain and flooding-out of rooting zones.

Plants have deeper and well-developed root systems, mitigating or delaying the impact of drought.

Permanent pathways between plots reduce soil compaction (from walking) in the growing area.

While the initial bed preparation time is 5 - 6 hours/9 sq m, subsequent preparation is only 1/3 to ¼ the time.

Improved garden microclimate (lower soil and air temperatures).

An improved garden ecosystem encourages garden predators, biotic life.


The rationale for deep-dug and raised beds

Why deep-dug beds are important?

Deep digging makes the soil loose and friable. This enables the plant roots to penetrate easily, so a steady stream of nutrients can flow into the stems and leaves.

Different plants have varying rooting depths, so extract nutrients and moisture from different points of the soil profile. The cultivation of different plants in the same part of the bed from season to season does not overburden the soil.


Why deep-dug beds are important?

Rooting Depth of Different Vegetables

Tapering Taproot of a Spinach Plant. Other crops such as celery, chicory, Chinese cabbage, collard, endive, kale, lettuce, mustard, parsley, sunflower and Swiss chard have about the same type of mot system.

Root System of a Transplanted Cabbage Plant. Brocolli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and kohlrabi took somewhat the same when they are transplanted.


Root System of a Transplanted Cabbage Plant

Short Taproot of a Pepper Plant. Roots of eggplant, okra and tomato are comparable


Short Taproot of a Pepper Plant

Thin Taproot of a Cucumber Plant. Cantaloupe, pumpkin, squash and watermelon have similar roots.


Thin Taproot of a Cucumber Plant

Fibrous Root System of an Onion. Garlic, leek and corn also have true fibrous roots.


Fibrous Root System of an Onion

Short Taproot of a Carrot. Parsnip and salsify roots are very similar, but the storage roots of beet, radish, rutabaga and turnip are shorter and rounder.

Wide-spreading Root System of a Pea Plant. Beans are similar.

Root System of a Potato Plant. Plant grown from a seed potato. Sweet potato and peanut roots look somewhat similar

Source: Wallace, D. et al. 1980. Getting the Least From Your Garden. Rodale Press, Emmaus, Pennsylvania.

Development of rooting systems

Root distribution depends upon the


(1) depth of the plowed or dug area.


(2) depth of top soil.


(3) downward movement of applied water or rain.


(4) amount of air available.


(5) depth of placement of fertilizer or other nutrients.

Raised-bed garden technologies

1. Measure about 1 m by 6 m bed area. (The length can be altered depending on the availability of land.) Divide the bed temporarily into sections, 75 cm wide using wooden stakes as guide.

2. Spread evenly a 8-cm thick layer of compost over the bed.

3. Dig a trench 30 cm deep and 75 cm wide at one end of the bed. Place the soil from this trench on one end of the bed.

4. Dig a second trench adjacent to the first one. Cover the first trench with the soil coming from this trench.

5. The process is repeated until it reaches the other end of the bed. Fill the open trench at the other side of the bed with the soil previously dug out from the first trench. (See step 3.)

6. Apply the following into the bed: 2.5 cm compost or decomposed manure or mud press, 1 kg wood ash, 1 kg bone meal, 0.5 - 1.5 kg fish meal or dried leaves of leguminous trees and 1 kg Ibs of any of the following: crushed egg shells, snail shells, etc.

7. Mix these plant foods thoroughly into the top 15-cm layer of the soil. Level the bed. It is then ready for planting.

Note: The same natural amendments are added to all the other options of bed preparation.


Raised-bed garden technologies

For rocky and waterlogged areas, soil can be taken from other sources and formed into a bed using artificial sidings like banana trunks, coconut trunks, wood planks, etc.


For rocky and waterlogged areas

For very hard soils, initial digging of 15 cm can be made. Then beds can be raised further by getting soil from the sides of the bed.


For very hard soils

Double digging is one way of upgrading the soil structure by improving soil aeration and waterholding capacity at the lower depths of the soil. Instead of 30 cm, the soil is dug 60 cm deep.


Double digging is one way

Integrated alley cropping bio-intensive garden

Integrated alley cropping is a form of intercropping vegetable plots between rows of fast-growing trees or shrubs. It is applicable in areas where animal manure/compost is not available. Its main purpose is to provide a steady and reliable source of organic material to crops. Since these hedgerows are legumes which fix atmospheric nitrogen. they add a continuous supply of this element as well as valuable organic matter.


Integrated alley cropping bio-intensive garden

Important Considerations

1. Select fast-growing and nitrogen-fixing trees/shrubs that can withstand frequent pruning.

2. Some potential alley-cropping tree hedgerow species: Gliricidia septum Calliandra calothyrsus Flemingia macrophylla Cassia siamea

3. Orient the rows in an east-west direction to avoid shading of the crops by the hedgerows.

4. Rows of trees/shrubs should have a minimum space of 5 m to allow more space for vegetable crops.

5. Soil should be dug and loosened to a minimum depth of 30 cm.

6. Plant tree/shrub seeds and vegetables crops at the same thee.

7. Pruning is first done after the trees are 9-12 months old. Trees are cut 0.5 m above ground level.


Hedgerows Lopped and Incorporated into Beds

Procedure

1. Cut the trees when they are about three meters in height or the stem diameter is more than one centimeter. Subsequent cuttings are done whenever leaves are needed or die trees begin to shade the garden plots. Leave one branch/tree longer to ensure regrowth in the event of very dry weather.

2. Place cut branches of tree hedgerows (within leaves) over the entire bed.

3. Leave them in place for two days. This will allow the leaves to wilt and hasten defoliation.

4. Shake branches or use hand to remove remaining leaves. There should at least be a 8-cm layer of leaves over the entire bed. (The branches can be used as fuel for cooking.)

5. Incorporate leaves into the soil to a depth of 15 cm.

6. Allow leaves to decompose for 10-14 days. If possible redig the bed once or twice to turn over the incorporated materials.

7. After another 10-14 days apply necessary soil supplements like 1 kg of wood ash 1 kg of eggshells and 1 kg of crushed bones (where these are available). (Rates mentioned are for a 9 sq m bed area.)

8. Shape the bed and plant.

Pot-garden technologies

Containerized gardening is very appropriate in areas where space is limited. It is one of the important features in urban gardening. A lot of vegetable crops can be grown with their roots contained. They can perform as well as when they are in the ground.

A general poking mixture for most plants is: 1 part garden soil, 1 pan coarse sand and 1 pan compost. Whatever container is used, it is important that it drains freely - It should have hole(s). Enough coarse gravel should be placed in the bottom of the container so that the dim will neither sift through the holes nor clog them.


Herbs and some leafy vegetables (shrubs) are best grown in pots:


Productive vine crops can be grown in hanging baskets.

Common garden tools

The ease of gardening depends largely on the use of right tool in the right way. The proper tools will also make the work more productive.


Common garden tools

Know your soil

Which crops will do well in your garden soil? Aside from trial and crop failure - an expensive proposition at best - testing the soil is the only way to find out. Generally, there are three soil types:

Neutral Soil (pH 7)

Most common vegetables, fruits and flowers do best on soils that have a pH of 6.5 to 7 - slightly acid to neutral.

Soils in this pH range offer the most favorable conditions for microorganisms that convert atmospheric nitrogen into a form available to plants.

This also creates the best environment for bacteria that decompose plant tissue and form humus.

All of the essential mineral nutrients are available to plants at this level.

This soil has good filth because a good crumb structure is easily maintained.


Neutral Soil

Alkaline Soil (pH 7-11)

Very alkaline soil robs nutrients from growing plants.

It ruins soil structure.

It also breaks humus apart and causes a concentration of salts which inhibit or prevent plant growth.


Alkaline Soil

Recommendations:

1. Alkaline pH can be lowered to the neutral range by adding organic materials.

2. If the garden is located in an area with low rainfall, the high soil pH is probably linked to accumulated salts. These can be flushed below the root zone of sensitive plants (such as beans, carrots, onions and peppers) by watering regularly with non-saline water.

Acid Soil (pH 1 to 6.5)

Bacteria that decompose organic matter cannot live when the soil is too acidic.

Organic matter level gradually declines, resulting in poor soil structures.

Manganese and aluminum can become toxic to plants because these elements are very soluble in highly acidic soils.

Worse, strong acidity limits nutrient availability to plants.


Acid Soil

Recommendations:

1. pH can be raised by working in bone meal, pulverized egg shells, clam shells, oyster shells or a form of fineground agricultural lime. Unleached hardwood ashes are another good material for neutralizing acidic veils.

2. If soil test reveals magnesium deficiency, use the dolomitic form of lime. If calcium is low, choose the calcitic type.

3. Spread the liming material after the soil has been plowed, tilled or spaded deeply. Do not plow the lime under since it leaches down into the soil too rapidly.

4. It is best not to apply lime with other fertilizers.

5. Do not apply lime around acid-loving plants or in any area where runoff water may carry the lime downhill to such plants.

6. When using ground limestone, do not expect a tremendous difference on the first year of application. Changes can be seen only on the second year. Repeat liming every fourth or fifth year, depending on the results of soil tests.

Reference:

Quick Ways To Better Soil. 1990. Organic Gardening Magazine.

Discovering your soil type firsthand


Discovering your soil type firsthand

Soil modifiers

Dolomitic lime

A good source of calcium and magnesium to be used when both are needed. Do not use lime to "sweeten" a compost pile as doing so will result in a serious loss of nitrogen. A layer of soil will discourage flies and reduce odors.

High Calcium Lime (Calcite)

A good source of calcium when magnesium levels are too high. Oyster shell flour lime is a good substitute.

Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate)

Used to correct excess levels of exchangeable sodium. Apply only upon recommendation of a professional soil test.

Crushed Eggshells

High in calcium, especially good for cabbage family crops. Eggshells help break up clay and release nutrients tied up-in alkaline soils. Use up to 1 kg/12 sq m.

Manure (All Types)

A good source of organic matter in the garden. The nutrient levels in each manure will depend on proper management of the curing process and on the amount of straw or sawdust in the manure. Optimally, do not use more than 62 kg of aged manure per year (about 12.7 mm layer). It is best to use manure that contains little undecomposed sawdust. Approximately 23 kg of dry manure applied per 12 square meter can lower the pH one point.

Manures-Solids (Approximate)

N

P

K

Chicken-Fresh

1.50%

1.00%

0.50%

Chicken-Dry

4.50%

3.50%

2.00%

Dairy Cow

0.56%

0.23%

0.60%

Horse

0.69%

0.24%

0.72%

Pig-Fresh

0.50%

0.32%

0.46%

Sheep

1.40%

0;48%

1.20%

Steer

0.70%

0.55%

0.72%

Compost

A good compost is the most important component of garden beds. It aerates soil, breaks up clay, binds together sand, improves drainage, prevents erosion, neutralizes toxins, holds precious moisture, releases essential nutrients and feeds the microbiotic life of the soil, creating healthy conditions for natural antibiotics, worms and beneficial fungi. Use 25 mm of compost each year (124 kg/12 sq m) or up to 75 mm in a first-year garden. Manure may be substituted for compost the first year if you do not have a ready supply of compost.

Source: Jeavons. J, 1991 How to grow more vegetables.

Nutrient composition of various organic materials

Organic Matter

% Nutrient Content

Animal Wastes

N

P

K

Cattle

1.50

1.00

0.94

Water buffalo

1.09

0.82

0.70

Horse

159

1.65

0.65

Sheep

2.02

1.75

1.94

Pig

2.81

1.61

1.52

Rabbit

2.40

1.40

0.60

Chicken

4.00

1.98

2.32

Duck

2.15

1.13

1.15

Bat

1.00-12.00

2.25-16.00


Crop Residues




Tobacco stem

3.70

0.65

4.50

Tomato stem

0.35

0.10

050

Wheat straw

0,49

0.11

1.06

Rice straw

0.58

0.10

1.38

Corn stover

0.59

0.31

1.31

Cotton stalks $ leaves

0.88

0.15

1.45

Peanut roots

1.18

0.07

1.28

hulls

1.75

0.20

1.24

Cowpea stems

1.07

1.14

2.54

roots

1.06

0.12

1.50

Sugarcane trash

0.35

0.04

0.50

Banana skin (ash)

-

3.25

41.76

Banana stalk

-

2.34

49.40

N-fixing Trees (Leaves)




Leucaena leucocephala

4.29

0.19

1.37

Acacia ferruginea

2.96

0.13

0.88

Acacia arabica

2.61

0.17

1.20

Gliricidia sepium

1.81

1.80

21.85

Sesbania acullata

2.18

-

-

Sesbania speciosa

2.51

-

-

Crotolaria juncea

1.95

-

-

Crotolaria usarmoensis

5.30

-

-

Vigna sinensis (cowpea)

3.09

-

-

Melitotus indica

3.36

0.22

1.27

Pisum sativum (pea)

1.97



Desmodium trifolium

2.93

0.14

1.30

Calopogonium mucunoides

3.02

-

-

Water hyacinth

2.04

0.37

3.40

Azolla sp

3.68

0.20

0.15

Algae

2.47

0.12

0.37

Other Composting Materials




Ground bone (burned)


34.70


Eggshell

-

0.43

0.29

Feathers

-

15.30


Molasses

0.70

-

4.50

Wood ashes

-

1.00-1.50

1.00-3.00

Compost




Municipal*

0.40- 1.60

0.10-0.40

0.20-0.60

Garbage**

0.40-4.00

0.20- 1.30

0.20-2.10

Garden

1.40-3.50

0.30- 1.00

0.40-2.00

* Includes garbage, paper, household and yard trash
** Food wastes

Composting

This process involves decomposition of a mixture of organic materials to form "smaller bits" of matter called compost. This process does not solely refer to waste disposal; it also relates to the return of wastes to the soil as part of the cycle of life.


Figure 1: Most human intervention results in wastes dumped in waterways rather than resumed to the land.

Decomposers:

Majority of decomposers are microorganisms. Macroorganisms such as earthworms, termites and other insects also help break down organic materials.


Figure 2: Food web of the compost pile (D. Dindal)

Composting Parameters

1. Composting materials

a. Good quality compost contains high organic matter content and a minimum of non-organic material. Some compostable wastes, particularly from industrial areas, can contain high levels of metals such as copper, lead, nickel and zinc and should therefore be removed. Other non-organic materials such as glass, plastics and artificial fibers should also be removed.

b. Succulent and young plants can be decomposed much faster than old and tough ones because they are high in water and contain relatively more sugars.

c. If possible, use materials that are high in N. such as residues from leguminous plants because they are preferred by microorganisms since they provide both C and N. They are also easier to break down. The insects, worms, bacteria and fungi found in the compost pile do the work of composting.


Composting materials

2. Particle size - The smaller the size of the particles of organic material, the greater surface area available for attack by the microorganisms. If the particle size is very large, the surface area for attack is smaller, and the reaction will then proceed slowly or may stop altogether. It is necessary to chop or shred bulky material to reduce the particle size to a range of 10-50 mm.

3. Moisture- All organisms require water for life. The optimum moisture content of ingredients for composting is 50-60 percent. At too low a moisture content, the biological reactions in a compost heap slow down considerably. Excess water on the other hand, leads to waterlogging of the spaces between the particles of the materials. The maximum practical moisture content depends on the structural wet strength of the materials. For practical purposes the material should be as damp as a squeezed-out sponge.

4. Aeration -An adequate supply of air to all parts of a compost heap is essential in order to supply oxygen for the organisms and to flush out the carbon dioxide produced. Absence of air (anaerobic conditions) will lead to the development of different types of microorganisms causing either acidic preservation or putrefaction of the heap, producing bad odors.

Aeration is achieved through the natural movement of air into the compost heap, by turning the material over regularly.

5. Temperature - When organic material is gathered together for composting, some of the energy released by the breakdown of the material is given off as heat. This causes a rise in temperature. The higher the temperature within certain limits, the faster the activity of microorganisms.

At the beginning of the process the material is at ambient temperature. In the first stage, warming up, the microorganisms present on the materials multiply rapidly and the temperature rises. During this period all the very reactive compounds such as sugars, starches, and fats are broken down. When the temperature reaches 160°F the fungi stop working and the breakdown is continued by actinomycetes and spore-forming strains of bacteria. The breakdown slows and the temperature peak is reached. At this period, the heap is losing as much heat as the microorganisms produce.

When cooling down, the straws and stalks are decomposed, mainly by fungi. This is because as the temperature falls below 160° F the fungi re-invade from the cooler regions of the heap and attack less reactive compounds such as hemicelluloses and cellulose, breaking them down into simpler sugar compounds, which become available for all the other microorganisms. The actinomycetes also help during this period. At the end of the cooling down period most of the available food supply has gone, competition starts among the microorganisms, antibiotics are released, and larger soil organisms, especially worms, move in for a few weeks.

The increase in temperature is one of several factors in the composting process which act against the survival of pathogenic organisms. Table 1 shows that the common pathogens which cause diseases in humans and domestic animals are readily destroyed at temperatures of 55 to 60°C for periods of a few minutes to a few hours under the moist conditions used in composting.


Experimental Compost Data


Temperature Comparison


Ideal Temperature Curve

Table 1. Pathogen survival in composting and agricultural application of human wastes

Organism

Survival in: Composting

Agricultural Application

Enteric viruses

Killed rapidly at 60°C

May survive up to 5 months on soil

Salmonellae

Killed in 20 hours at 60°C

On soil, S. typhi up to 3 months; other species up to 1 year

Shigellae

Killed in 1 hour at 55°C or in 10 days at 40°C

Up to 3 months

E. cold

Killed rapidly above 60°C

Several months

Cholera vobrio

Killed rapidly above 55°c

Not more than 1 week

Leptospires

Killed in 10 minutes at 50°C

Up to 15 days on soil

Hookworm ova

Killed in 5 minutes at 50°C and 1 hour at 45°C

Up to 20 weeks on soil

Ascaris ova

Killed in 2 hours at 55°C 20 hours at 50°C and200 hours at 45°C

Several years

Schistosome ova

Killed in 1 hour at 50°C

Up to 1 month, if damp

Source: Health Aspects of Excreta and Sillage Management, World Bank, 1980.

6. Acidity (pH)-Compost material becomes slightly acidic at the start of composting due to the simple organic acids produced at the initial phase of decomposition. The heap then turns slightly alkaline after a few days as proteins are attacked and ammonia is released. Highly alkaline conditions will lead to excessive loss of nitrogen as ammonia; accordingly it is wise not to add lime to a heap. Highly acid initial conditions may lead to a failure of the heap to warm up. If careful attention is paid to the mixing of materials, moisture content and aeration, there is no necessity to influence the pH of the process. The amount of ammonia lost from a compost heap can be reduced by adding a little soil, about 1% of the weight of the heap.

7. Nutrients-The composting process depends upon the action of microorganisms which require a source of carbon to provide energy and material for new cells, together with a supply of nitrogen for cell proteins. Nitrogen is the most important nutrient and, in general, if sufficient nitrogen is available in the original organic matter, most other nutrients will also be available in adequate quantities. It is desirable that the ratio of carbon to nitrogen (C/N) is in the range of 30-35/l in the initial mixture. If it is much higher, the process will take a long time before sufficient carbon is oxidized off as carbon dioxide, if it is lower, then nitrogen, which is an important fertilizer component of the final compost, will be given off as ammonia. The simplest method of adjusting the C/N ratio is to mix together different materials of high and low carbon and nitrogen contents. For example, straw materials which have a high C/N ratio can be mixed with materials such as manures which have low C/N ratio.

References:

Bautista, O.K. et al. 1983. Introduction to Tropical Horticulture. pp. 205-206

Cosico, W.C. 1985. Organic Fertilizers: Their Nature, Properties and Use. pp. 39 - 50

Dalzell, H.W. et al. 1987. Soil Management: Compost Production and Use in Tropical and Subtropical Environments. FAO Soils Bull. 56: 22-27,162.

Conventional method of compost preparation

1. Choose a spot that is at least partially protected from rain.

2. Gather the crop residues, animal manures and other wastes and bring them to the preparation site.

3. Pile the crop and other plant residues (15 cm thick) first. For the next layer, spread the animal manure to a thickness of about 8 cm, followed by about 3 cm of good soil. Pile another layer of the materials in the same sequence and repeat until a height of about 1.5 meters of the compost pile is attained.

4. Water the pile until it is sufficiently moist. Water regularly.

5. Turn over or mix the pile with spading fork after 3 weeks, then again after five weeks.

6. Harvest the compost in three to four months.


Conventional method of compost preparation

The 14-day method of composting

1. Chop the vegetative materials/plant wastes (dry or green or both).

2. Thoroughly mix these with an equal amount of fresh manure.

3. Pile the mixture into a heap measuring at least 1 m × 1 m × 1 m. (However, 1 m is the maximum height.)

4. Cover the heap with banana leaves or damaged burlap sacks.

5. By the third or fourth day, the inside of the heap should be heated up. If not, mix more manure into it.

6. On the same day (3rd or 4th), turn the heap inside out so that the materials from the center will appear outside and vice versa.

7. Turn the heap every two days thereafter.

8. In 14 - 18 days, the compost should be ready for use.


The 14-day method of composting

Composting in triple-compost bin

Making three compartments permits us to keep adding to our compost pile. The compartment at left is ready for the fields while the others are still rotting.

1. Fill compartment one with composting materials.

2. Add a small amount of soil or animal manure.

3. Continue in this way till the compartment is full.

4. After a month, empty the contents of compartment one into compartment two, mixing, watering and breaking up the compost in the process

5. Cover the second compartment with a layer of soil, which has to be kept humid and loose.

6. Once compartment one is empty, the process of filling it should begin again as before.

7. After another month, fill compartment three with the contents of compartment two, airing the contents well without turning over.

8. Cover the third compartment with a layer of soil.

9. Fill compartment two with the contents of compartment one and cover with soil.

10. Fill compartment one with refuse and the cycle goes on.


Composting in triple-compost bin

Deep bed composting


Garden Layout


Cross-section of Composting Bed

Bed Construction

Lay out garden beds at least 12 cm wide.

Dig trench 8 cm wide and 5 cm deep along center line of bed. Place spoil (dirt from trench) on both sides of trench.


Bed Construction

Addition of Organic Materials

Place 15 - 30 cm layer of leguminous leaves and other vegetative materials.

Spread layer of animal wastes over vegetative materials.

Cover with layer of soil. Use ½ of spoil pile along side of trench.

Pile another layer of the materials in the same sequence, returning all of spoils in or on trench.
Shape bed by raking.

Planting

Soak bed thoroughly with water.

Plant seeds or transplant seedlings around the trench.

After harvesting, remove the contents of the trench and work the compost into the soil around the trench. Place new compost materials in the trench for the next crop.

Semi-sunken composting

1. Clean the area selected for building the compost pile. Dig a hole one-half meter deep.


Clean the area

2. Cut composting materials into small pieces. Mix them with manure at 5:1 ratio.


Cut composting materials into small pieces

3. Place the mixture in the hole until it reaches one to two meters above the ground. Use a shovel or your hands to keep the edges square.


Place the mixture in the hole

4. Cover the pile with straw or smear it with mud to protect it. Add a layer of soil on top of the pile and make a series of holes on top of the finished pile. The compost should be ready is 1 to 2 months.


Cover the pile

Basket composting

Basket composting is the process by which decomposable home garbage, garden and farm waste and leguminous leaves are allowed to rot in baskets half-buried in garden plots as a method of producing organic fertilizer.


Basket composting

Benefits

1. Basket compost can be used immediately without waiting for the usual 34 month period as is necessary in other methods of composting.

2. Baskets hold the composting materials in place, hence minimizing nutrient depletion by runoff.

3. Stray animals and fowls are prevented from scattering the compost materials.

4. Since garbage and wastes are collected and utilized, home and surroundings will become cleaner.

5. It serves as reservoir and collector of the moisture and nutrients.

6. More nutritious vegetables can be produced at less cost.


Preparation of Materials

Preparation of Materials:

Long bamboo strips, 2-3 cm in width.
Bamboo stakes at least 30 cm in length.
Home organic garbage, farm and garden wastes, leguminous leaves.
Manure.

Preparation of Garden Plots

Clean garden site, save weeds and grasses for composting.
Dig at least 30 cm deep and raise the bed.
Dig holes along the center of the plots at least 15 cm in depth and 30 cm in diameter.
Space them 1 m apart


Preparation of Garden Plots

Construction of Baskets

Drive 7 stakes around the holes; uneven number of stakes (5,7 or 9) makes perfect brace for weaving.

Weave the long strips of bamboo around the stakes to form a basket. Without bamboo strips, closely space the stakes (about 1 cm apart).


Construction of Baskets

Addition of Organic Wastes

Place the most decomposed garbage and manure into the basket first.
Place the undecomposed materials like leguminous leaves, grasses and weeds next.
Fill to the brim with other organic wastes.
Earthworms maybe added to speed up decomposition.


Addition of Organic Wastes

Planting and Care and Maintenance

Plant seeds or transplant seedlings around the basket. The distance from the basket should be 15 - 20 cm to prevent the decomposing materials from "burning" the plants.

Water the seedlings while young. Eventually just water the basket. The plant roots will later move toward it.


Planting and Care and Maintenance

Incorporation of Decomposed Materials into the Soil

After harvesting, composts are already used up. Remove the decomposed materials from the basket and incorporate them into the soil while cultivating.

Add new composting materials to the basket for the next plants.


Incorporation of Decomposed Materials into the Soil

Reference

Laquihon, W. A. and H. R. Watson. 1983. A Manual on FAITH Garden. MBRLC, Bansalan, Davao del Sur, Philippines.

Liquid fertilizer

Liquid fertilizer is made by immersing a sackload of fresh animal manure in a drum of water and allowing it to ferment. When used to water the plants, the "tea" makes possible the easy nutrient extraction by the plants. Depending on the availability of materials, animal manure can be substituted with fresh leaves of nitrogen-fixing trees like Leucaena (ipil-ipil) and/or Gliricidia (kakawate) or with green grass clippings and/or fresh weeds.

Preparation

1. Fill the burlap bag ¾ full of wet manure or fresh leaves or compost.

2. Tie the open end then place the bag info the empty drum (regular size, 55 gallon capacity).

3. Place a big stone to hold the bag down.

4. Fill the drum with water. Cover.

5. After 3 weeks, remove the bag from the drum.

6. Dilute solution at a ratio of 1 part liquid fertilizer to 4-6 parts fresh water.

7. Apply the liquid fertilizer around the base of the plant (avoid any direct contact with the plant) 2-3 weeks after germination or Immediately after transplanting. Repeat after 3-4 weeks.

8. Start over again with fresh materials following steps 1-6.

9. Smaller quantities of liquid fertilizer can be produced in smaller containers (if a 55-gallon drum is not available), using the same ratios.


Preparation

Fish emulsion as plant food for bio-intensive garden

Made from a blend of saltwater fish wastes, fish emulsion is a thick, gooey concentrate with about five percent nitrogen and small but significant amounts of trace minerals. It also contains a lot of fish oil. Most of the nitrogen in fish emulsion is present as amino acids from the breakdown of protein or as ammonia and nitrate. These amino acids can easily be absorbed by the leaves or roots. Diluted in water, fish emulsion can be either sprayed on leaves or poured around the base of plants.

Significant Findings from Research

1. Fish emulsion applied once a week to greenhouse soil stimulated vegetative growth and delayed flowering and fruit ripening in tomatoes by over a week. (Virginia Polytechnic Institute of State University in Blacksburg, Virginia)

2. Fish emulsion fertilizer added to the soil reduced nematode population. (Biological Testing and Research Laboratory, California)

Preparation

1. Put any kind of scrap fish or unused fish-parts in a glass jar or plastic container. Fill with water.

2. Cover the top with a cloth, securing firmly to keep out insects and animals.

3. Place the container in a storage bin and let it ferment for two to three months.

4. After this period, a layer of mineral-rich oil will float on top, water underneath and the bones and scales on the bottom. Skim off the oil and store in a container.

5. When ready to use, dilute one cup of oil with five gallons of water. The remaining sludge may be sun-dried and then mixed with the soil.


Preparation

(introduction...)

Green manuring is of special relevance to small gardens. It is a practice of using plants as source of organic matter incorporating them into the soil for decomposition before the planting of crops. Garden fertility can be sustained entirely on the nutrients from green leaves.

Nitrogen-fixing trees

Sources of Green Manures

1. Nitrogen-fixing trees - trees that fix nitrogen from the atmosphere. These can be intercropped with the main crop or used as fence. The leaves are incorporated into the soil or used as mulch.

Benefits

a. increases soil nitrogen
b. helps control weeds when used as intercrop
c. serves as windbreak/controls erosion
d. provides feed for livestock and firewood for the home
e. increases available moisture by improving infiltration and reducing runoff
f. reduces cost of inputs such as fertilizers and herbicides
g. improves soil structure
h. may also provide cash income

Characteristics of N-fixing trees ideal for green manuring

a. should be fast-growing
b. high production of herbage
c. high nitrogen content
d. fast decomposition of leaves
e. tolerant to pruning
f. pest-resistant
g. tolerant to a wide range of soil conditions

Characteristics of Some Nitrogen-fixing Trees


Herbage

Tolerance to

Adaptability







Scientific Name

Common Name

Growth Rate

Dry Matter Drought

Water

Low logging

Soil Fertility

Rainfall

Remarks (annual)





Yield

(t/ha.)






Calliandra calothyrsus

Calliandra

fast

3.70

very good

poor

good

well- drained

750 mm

Cut 50 to 65 cm from the ground

Desmodium rensonii

Rensonii

fast

2.50-4.00

fair

fair

good

well- drained

1,000 mm and over

Cut 0.5-1 m from the ground

Flemingia macrophylla

Flemingia

moderate

2.65

good

fair

good

well- drained

800 mm

Cut 0.5-1 m from the ground

Gliricidia septum

Kakawate

moderate

2.60

good

fair

good drained; slightly acidic

well-

1,000 mm

Cut 1m from the ground

Leucaena diversifolia

Acid ipil-ipil

fast

6.00-9.00

good

fair

good

well- drained

50 mm

Cut 1m from the ground

Leucaena leucocephala

Ipil-ipil

fast

7.00-24.00

very good

poor

good

well- drained; slightly acidic to slightly alkaline

760 rnm pruning.

Cut 1m from the ground, susceptible to Problem of psyllid flies

Sesbania grandiflora

Katuray

moderate

15.0022.50

very good

very good

very good

wide range of conditions



References:

FAO-RAPA. 1988. Nitrogen-Fixing Trees for Wasteland. FAO, Bangkok.

Friday, K. 1989. Species Choice for SALT. Lecture Notes. Peace Corps Philippines.

NFTA. 1986. Sesbania - A Treasure of Diversity. NFT Highlights 86 04, Nitrogen-fixing Tree Association, Waimanalo, Hawaii, 2 pp.

NFTA. 1989. Flemingia macrophylla - A Valuable Species in Soil Conservation. NFT Highlights 89-04, Nitrogen-fixing Tree Association, Waimanalo, Hawaii, 2 pp.

NFTA. 1989. Gliricidia Production and Use. Nitrogen-fixing Tree Association, Waimanalo, Hawaii, 44 pp.

Cover crops

2. Cover crops are creeping and bushy plants with dense vegetative growth, grown mainly to cover and protect the soil.

Benefits

a. provide large quantities of nitrogen (more than 200 kg N/ha)

b. Some cover crops like Centrosema, Pueraria and Crotalaria develop deep root systems on acid soils and may, therefore, help to recover nutrients leached to the subsoil.

c. increase soil's organic matter content up to 30 tons or more per hectare, thereby improving topsoil depth, water-holding capacity, nutrient content, friability and soil texture

d. shade the soil for as long as 11 months, , keeping the soil temperature as much as 10°C lower than uncovered soils. Therefore microorganisms remain active and organic matter is preserved.

e. Dense foliage of cover crops protects the soil from wind and water erosion.

f. Vigorous growing foliage competes well with weeds and suppresses their growth, thereby reducing or eliminating costly weeding operations.

g. provide high protein fodder for animals

h. provide human food and additional source of income

i. help sustain garden plots during dry months when other crops are hard to grow

Characteristics of cover crops ideal fur green manuring

a. rapid, prolific growth habit
b. ability to fix significant amount of nitrogen
c. tolerant to a wide range of soil conditions
d. good drought-tolerance
e. resistant to pests
f. ability of the plant to produce its own seed
g. fast decomposition of leaves
h. easy to control; some cover crops can be very aggressive and may be difficult to eliminate.

Some cover crops successfully used by farmers

Canavalia ensiformis (jackbean, habas)

drought-tolerant
180-300 days growth period
shade-tolerant
fairly tolerant of waterlogging and salinity
tolerant of a wide range of soil types provided the pH is between 5 and 6.

Voandzeia subterranea (Bambara groundout)

120-150 days growth period

tolerant of excessive rain

adapted to a wide range of soils, but light sandy, welldrained loams with a pH of 5.0-6.5 are preferred.

Cicer arietinum (chick pea, garbansos)

115-125 days growth period
can tolerate shade but for high yields bright sunshine is required
drought-tolerant
can be grown on a wide range of soil types provided the drainage is good.

Crotalaria sp. (sun hemp)

determinant growth habit
produces high herbage yield (1.4-2.42 tons dry matter/ha)
does not tolerate shading.

Cyamopsis tetragonoloha (cluster bean)

110-165 days growth period
sun-loving, intolerant of shade
drought-tolerant; cannot stand waterlogging
grows on a wide range of soils provided they are welldrained and not acidic
Sandy or sandy loams, pH 7.5 to 8.0, are generally preferred.

Dolichos lablab (hyacinth bean, batao)

75-300 days growth period
drought-tolerant; intolerant of waterlogging
grows on a wide variety of soil types provided they are well-drained
does particularly well on sandy loam, pH 6.5.

Lathyrus salivas (grass pea, chick pea)

150-180 days growth period
very tolerant of drought conditions
tolerates waterlogging
grows on a wide range of soil types, including very poor soils and heavy clays.

Macrotyloma uniflorum (horse gram)

120-180 days growth period
drought-tolerant; cannot stand waterlogging
grows on a wide range of soil types provided they are well-drained and not highly alkaline
thrives on light, sandy soils, red loams and gravels.

Mucuna pruriens (velvet bean, kokua)

180-270 days growth period

tolerant of drought conditions; cannot stand waterlogging

grows on a wide range of soil types, including heavy clays tolerant of fairly acid soils, but for optimum yields light sandy loams with a pH of 5-6.5 are required.

Phaneolus aureus (mungbean, munggo)

80-120 days growth period
fairly tolerant to drought; cannot stand waterlogging
grows on a wide range of soil types tolerant of alkaline and saline conditions
well-adapted to clay soils, but for optimum results a deep loamy soil is required.

Phaseolus calcaratus (rice bean, tapilan)

120-130 days growth period
fairly tolerant of drought conditions
grows on a wide range of soil types
cannot withstand waterlogged conditions.

Psophocarpus tetragonolobus (winged bean, sigarilyas)

economically productive from 5 years or more
does not survive prolonged drought
cannot tolerate waterlogging or salinity
Well-cultivated, rich, sandy loams are best for optimum yields.

Vigna unguiculata (cowpea, paayap)

60-240 days growth period
well adapted to semi-arid regions
grows over a wide range of soil types cannot tolerate waterlogging and salinity
Although reasonably tolerant of acidity, a pH of 5.5 to 6.5 is preferred.

Reference:

Bunch, R. 1986. What We Have Learned to Date About Green Manure Crops for Small Farmers. World Neighbors - Honduras 12 pp..Produced by the International

Cover crops as soil conditioners

In heavy clay, cover crops add humus and stimulate microorganisms to-loosen rock-hard compaction and create a crumbly, well-aerated and well-drained soil structure.


In heavy clay

In sandy soils, the extensive, deep-penetrating roots of cover crops bring up needed nutrients that have leached into the subsoil. As the nutrients decompose, the matted roots give the soil enough body to hold onto nutrients and water that otherwise would quickly drain below the reach of plants.


In sandy soils

In nitrogen-deficient soils, velvet bean, hyacinth bean, jackbean and winged bean treat nitrogen deficiency.


In nitrogen-deficient soils

In dry conditions, cover crops maintain lower soil temperatures and, thereby, conserve microorganisms and earthworms, and generally conserve the soil's organic matter and humus.


In dry conditions

Reference:

Quick Ways To Better Sail. 1990. Organic Gardening Magazine. 16 pp.

Nutrient requirement of vegetables

Vegetable

Nit.

Phos.

Pot.

PH Requirement

Asparagus

EH

H

EH

6.0-7.0

Beans,bush

L

M

M

6.0-7.5

lima

L

M

M

5.5-6.5

Beets, early

EH

EH

EH

5.8-7.0

late

H

EH

H

same

Broccoli

H

H

H

6.0-7.0

Cabbage, early

EH

EH

EH

6.0-7.0

late

H

H

H

same

Carrots, early

H

H

H

5.5-6.5

late

M

M

M

same

Cauliflower, early

EH

EH

EH

6.0-7.0

late

H

H

EH

same

Corn, early

H

H

H

6.0-7.0

late

M

M

M

same

Cucumbers

H

H

H

6.0-8.0

Eggplant

H

H

H

6.0-7.0

Lettuce, head

EH

EH

EH

6.0-7.0

leaf

H

EH

EH

same

Muskmelons

H

H

H

6.0-7.0

Onions

H

H

H

6.0-7.0

Parsnips

M

M

M

6.0-8.0

Parsley

H

H

H

5.0-7.0

Peas

M

H

H

6.0-8.0

Potatoes, white sweet

EH

EH

EH

4.8-6.5


L

M

H

5.0-6.0





6.0-7.0

Radishes

H

EH

EH

6.0-8.0

Rutabaga

M

H

M

6.0-8.0

Soybeans

L

M

M

6.0-7.0

Spinach

EH

EH

EH

6.5-7.0

Squash, summer

H

H

H

6.0-8.0

winter

M

M

M

6.0-8.0

Strawberries

M

M

L

5.0-6.0

Tomatoes

M

H

H

6.0-7.0

Turnips

L

H

M

6.0-8.0

Nutrient Requirements
EH= Extra Heavy
M= Moderate
H= Heavy
L= Light

Saving seeds through gardener curators

THE consciousness today about genetic resources and their importance to humankind is at an all-time high. Discussion has focused specially on the loss of traditional varieties, or "genetic erosion" and the control of germplasm by vested groups or companies. Varieties are being lost as they cease to be cultivated. There is a call to search out and retrieve these vanishing resources - if not for any other reason than for preservation, the same way a curator in the museum preserves heirloom cutlery. Finally, traditional varieties are sources of useful genes concerning special qualities such as resistance to diseases or drought. Such genes are invaluable in breeding new cultivars.

Tomorrow is Late

Unfortunately, conferences and workshops, do not save seeds. Despite the many meetings and papers on the topic of genetic erosion, action efforts to save seeds are sadly lacking in quality and impact. Historically, the best conservers of seeds have been small farmers and backyard gardeners, but programs to conserve seeds at their level are sadly lacking. Meanwhile, every day, the seed heritage slowly but steadily diminishes.

The Gardener or Small Farmer as Curator

Nongovernment organizations and others interested in saving seeds in situ (as opposed to storing them in laboratories) need to address this issue with a sense of urgency and through field-level and farmer-or gardener-involved interventions.

The concept of a farmer/gardener curator is valid because the seeds used by the majority of today's farmers in developing countries have been handed down by generation of farmers. When planted out every year, these varieties continue to evolve and adapt to the changing environment. These same seeds, stored in conventional low-temperature seed storage facilities, just remain dormant, and their characteristics remain unchanged - they do not evolve any further. In fact, varieties stored this way, if planted many years later in the field, may not be able to withstand the changed environment in the place they were originally collected.

Many traditional varieties do not meet the criteria and standards of today's consumers and so are not planted commercially even if they have superior nutritional, taste or storage qualities. One example is the bitter gourd. A favorite of Filipinos, improved varieties of this crop are superior in production and of larger individual size but are dependent on chemicals. Other varieties do not have synchronous harvests and so are getting lost. An example is the araw-araw ("daily") eggplant, so called because it provides a few eggplants every day compared with the improved varieties that come to harvest at a peak time and so are preferred for marketing.

Many traditional vegetable cultivars have multiple uses. A good example is the winged bean which produces a tasty and nutritious pod and has edible flowers and tubers. Unfortunately, many of the tuber-producing cultivars are rare and can only be found in remote areas such as Papua New Guinea.

The potato yam is another crop which is steadily getting lost. Even though it produces both aerial and ground tubers on the same plant, this is not enough to ensure its survival for the next generation of farmers.

The list of cultivars that have special qualities is long: cherry-sized tomatoes which can be grown in the rainy season with no fungal problems (as many as 1000 fruits can be harvested in the life of this cultivar), the mung bean with hairy leaf surfaces that keep most insects away and the deep-rooted leafy amaranths that can go for as long as six weeks i!, summer with no water and no wilt symptoms.

These qualities do not often make a difference to the consumers of marketed vegetables, who look for good size more than anything else. The bigger the better is the norm! In fact, most farm produce in exhibitions and competitions use size as a major criterion in crop judging. Is it not ironic when miniature vegetables in the West fetch the highest prices, but developing countries prefer the longest, heaviest, largest products? Why this obsession, when we know that eventually these are going to get cut down into small pieces to be eaten?

The emphasis on producing seedless products is another example of how preferences have changed over the years. The seedless grape and the papaya with just a few seeds in each fruit are examples.

But, finally, the most important factor is how our technicians and extension workers perceive the growers of such indigenous cultivars. If they treat farmers as primitive or outdated in their thinking and choice of varieties, then the farmers will have a poor self-perception and image. Unless an effort is made to give these traditional cultivars a new image, they will gradually be neglected by the farmers themselves. When that happens, all is lost for the cause of seed conservation.

The greatest opportunity for conserving such varieties is by reintroducing them for use in gardening programs'- in backyards of farm households, in urban gardens or in school areas. These gardens are raised primarily for family use and nutrition for school children. The special qualities of traditional cultivars, their hardy nature, prolific seed production, high nutritional value, well distributed fruiting periods (as opposed to peak production), shade tolerance, etc., all make them especially useful for these programs. What is also important to realize is that their yields do not have to be low because, if combined with improved crop husbandry techniques such as the big-intensive technologies, their output per unit area could compare favorably with the output, using conventional technologies and chemicals. Such gardens can consist of a great diversity of crops: a typical big-intensive garden area of 200 sq m can contain as many as 30 selections. Isn't that biodiversity also? While biodiversity often refers to natural forest ecosystem, we can create this in garden spaces and backyards as a conservation strategy. Of course, they will not have the looks of a neat garden with distinct rows and clean space between rows.

How Does One Get Started if There Are No Traditional Varieties in the Area?

Most developing countries still have a vast selection of materials to collect, if one knows where to look for them and what to look for. Where modern agriculture has been aggressively promoted, these genetic resources will still be around but often growing only in remote areas in backyards or in intercropping systems, or often as weeds. However, the way to ensure success is to focus the seed retrieval and collection missions in areas away from the beaten tracks and asphalt roads. It is less likely that seed merchants will have reached these places. Ethnic groups in most countries are especially important communities from whom to collect seeds. Often, these groups continue to grow old cultivars because they have not been exposed to extension agents or for cultural reasons (in defense of their cultures) have been resistant to change. The most diverse collection of planting materials can be found in the remotest areas.

One has to time one's visit to ensure that seeds are ready for collection. Usually, the three to four months immediately preceding the summer season are ideal times for legumes and other vegetables. The end of summer is the best time to select droughttolerant vegetables: just look for unirrigated areas where the crops have survived through the summer season. Market days are excellent opportunities for seed collection, especially in those parts of the world where small quantities of seeds are traditionally sold by fanners in the weekly market. If seeds are not available, these market days are good for acquiring produce from which seeds can be extracted. In the case of legumes, these can be bought from traders dealing with dried legumes - though germination is inevitably a problem with this method of acquiring seeds.

One of the most efficient ways to collect the greatest diversity of seeds is to get in touch with local schools in remote areas and through the authorities, launch an effort for seed retrieval through children. Finally, a consortia of NGOs in a country can be used for seed retrieval and subsequent exchange. NGOs working with farmer organizations can use their infrastructure to collect planting materials and seeds.

Common Problems Faced by Seed Collectors

The amateur seed conservationist will find the seed-saving idea a lot more complicated than when he or she anticipates. The problems of categorization, outplanting, characterization, storage and quality control are all essential to a systematic effort; yet, they are theeconsuming and, unfortunately, require financial resources.

The NGO or amateur conservationist will first have to limit the collection based on priorities, e.g., vegetables, cover crops, trees, fruits or rice. It is a common mistake to try to collect everything because it soon becomes overwhelming, difficult to manage and expensive. With cooperation, it is conceivable mat each NGO could focus on one crop and then exchange the collected and tested materials with other partner NGOs.

The planting-out of collected seeds is another important step - probably the most expensive. Human labor is needed for this, as long as the crops are in the field. Seeds must be planted and observed for two to three seasons to ensure that the characteristics (e.g., planting season, flowering habits, pest susceptibility, etc.) can be recorded. Here we are not talking of sophisticated data but very simple but essential information without which the gardener or farmer receiving the seeds could get the wrong conclusion, i.e., indigenous varieties are not good. Many traditional varieties are season-bound and, if planted in the wrong season, give very poor results. Others do badly if fertilized and do well only under low fertility conditions.

The collection of seeds is labor-intensive and time-consuming. The next step, that of drying and then depodding or cleaning, is also labor-intensive. However, all activities mentioned so far can be easily learned and require systematic effort rather than expertise.

The storage of seeds and maintenance of viability is probably where the most problems will occur and where guidance from a seed technologist in the design of a technical strategy is important. Seeds can be dried too much or not enough. They can get infested with fungus while in storage, affecting their viability, or the seedlings can be damaged soon after germination. The seed moisture content in storage is the single most important factor. But the storage temperature and humidity often critical determinants of how successful the seed production effort has been.

The importance of labeling seed packets with information on the place of origin, local name and the date of collection cannot be over emphasized. Any observations from the gardener or farmer will be very helpful in future characterization of accessions, e.g., some cultivars store better than others, an important characteristic of old cultivars of beans and a trait lost in the new varieties. If this information is not recorded one might not know it by observing plants in the field. Another attribute of traditional legumes that farmers know well and use to describe their collections is the versatility, for instance, some legumes can be sold as green vegetables but are also equally good as dried legumes. This knowledge is best collected from the original growers themselves.

An institutional effort to conduct seed collection missions is justified (as opposed to farmers collecting the seeds from their own area for in sin' conservation) if seeds are rare and must be brought from other parts of the country and exchanged in order to reinstate the original diversity and variability. But such efforts are only useful and relevant if the seeds collected, tested and multiplied are returned to the communities for them to plant, try out and conserve. The sooner the materials are moved out, the better. The ideal approach is to give farmers a diversity from within each crop, e.g., six kinds of mungbeans, so they can choose from a range. Some retain what others will not. So somewhere in every village the materials will get preserved.

Unless the program is backed up with an elaborate conscientization strategy, one should not expect fanners to understand the philosophical or aesthetic dimensions of genetic resources conservation program. Their agenda may be different from that of the organization: they conserve the varieties for a host of reasons, the last of which may be conservation for conservation's sake. So, the idea of getting growers to continue to raise seeds only for purpose of saving them, as is being done in some Western countries, is a bit unrealistic. There is need to focus on seed accessions whose attributes will in themselves result in their being conserved. The genetic resources agenda then become a hidden one and need to be integrated with other activities, such as family food production though improved agricultural technologies for farms and gardens, or health and nutrition interventions.

It seems clear that conservation will not result from workshops on the topic of genetic erosion, even as we admit these are important at certain stages of the campaign. Nor will it result only from storing seeds in national or international germplasm banks, because of the need for these plants to continue their process of evolution and adaptation. Seed conservation is everybody's concern and not an activity limited to geneticists and breeders.

We still have time to do something about this ... only if we start today.

Why producing your own vegetable seeds is important?

1. High-quality seeds can be easily produced and at a low cost, thus, reducing the costs of
gardening.

2. When the seeds you want are not available in the market, you can produce your own seeds.

3. When you produce your own seeds, you can sell them for income and/or share them with neighbors and friends.

4. By producing your own seeds, you can select seeds suited to your environment. If you want fruits that are big and are not attacked by pests in your garden, you can choose seeds of the plants that are grown in your garden with these specific traits.

5. Saving your own seeds is fun. It is also challenging to save seeds since you can experiment with different seed-saving techniques.

6. Seed self-reliance can be achieved by producing your own seeds.

7. Valuable traditional or indigenous seed varieties of vegetables can be preserved for future generations.

Definition of a Seed

A seed is an undeveloped and dormant plant, usually with a reserve food supply and protected by a seedcoat. It is also defined as a miniature plant in an arrested state of development.

Botanically, the seed is a mature ovule enclosed within the ovary or fruit Seeds of different species vary greatly in appearance, shape, location and structure of the embryo and the presence of storage tissues.

A seed has three basic parts: (1) embryo; (2) food storage tissues or endosperm; and, (3) seed covering or seedcoat.


Definition of a Seed

Traditional or indigenous seeds

Traditional or indigenous seeds are those produced, growing or living naturally in a particular country or climate. They are seeds that have been selected and managed by local people in the local growing environment.


Traditional or Indigenous seeds

Characteristics of Traditional Seeds

1. Adapted to the conditions of the area where they are grown.

2. Multiple uses (examples: food, medicine, fuel, fiber, fertilizer, craft materials, feed for animals, religious articrafts).

3. Most are resistant to pests, diseases and environmental conditions, such as drought.

4. High nutritional value.

5. They do not have a peak season harvest. The fruits do not mature at the same time, so harvesting is staggered. Hence, they can provide a daily source of food for the family.

6. They provide plant breeders with valuable traits needed for crop improvement.

Choosing Good Plants for Seeds (Plant Selection)

The selection criteria for seeds depend on the selector's needs or use (example: food, fodder). Below is a list of characteristics which can help the selector find good plants for seeds:

1. vigor and health of the plant
2. resistance to pests and diseases
3. resistance to adverse environmental conditions, like drought, heat, flood
4. time of fruit bearing
5. yield
6. characteristics of fruit and seed like color, size, shape, texture, etc.
7. cooking and eating quality (if the fruit or seed is meant for eating)
8. storage life of fruit and seed
9. other characteristics depending on the use (example: medicine, crafts, religious articrafts)

Based on the above criteria, select the plant to be used for seeds. Put a tag or mark the plant so that it is not harvested by accident and so that special care can be given to it.

Seed production

Seeds come from flowers. Plants have to be pollinated in order to produce seeds. The pollen, the fertilizing powder which comes from the male part of the flower or anther, is brought to the female part of the flower - the stigma or pistil.


Seeds come from flowers

In cross-pollination, the pollen that will fertilize the plant will come from another plant. The plant cannot produce seeds if only one plant is planted because there will be no source of pollen. Examples of cross-pollinated plants are watermelon, melon, cucumber, squash, bottle gourd, sponge gourd, bitter gourd, pechay, mustard, radish, onion, carrot.


In cross-pollination

Plants may either be self-pollinated or cross-pollinated. In self-pollination, the plant can produce seeds without another plant. The pollen comes from the same flower or from another flower from the same plant. Examples of self-pollinated plants are tomato, hyacinth bean, soybean, lima bean, mungbean, Baguio bean, pea, winged bean, yardlong bean, cowpea, water hyacinth, lettuce.


Plants may either be self-pollinated or cross-pollinated

Sometimes mixed-pollination occurs. A single plant may either self-pollinate or cross-pollinate, depending on the environmental conditions. Examples of mixed-pollinated plants are eggplant, bell pepper, chili, pigeon pea, cauliflower, amaranth, ladyfinger.

Site selection and timing of seed production

Seed comes from the flower. The flowering and seeding are affected by the health of the plant and its surroundings or environment. Seed quality is also affected by the parent plant.

I. Environmental Factors that Affect Seed Production

A. Photoperiodism

Photoperiodism refers to the flowering response of a plant to the length of day, or more precisely, the length of the light and dark periods.

1. Short-day plants flower and bear fruit juring the months where the nights are long and the days are short. In the Philippines, short-day periods occur during the months of. September to February.

Example: most soybean varieties, winged bean, hyacinth bean, lima bean, pigeon pea

2. Long-day plants flower and bear fruit during the months wherein the nights are short and the days are long. In the Philippines, long-day periods occur during the months of March to August.

Example: onion, sunflower

3. Day-neutral plants flower and bear fruit all year round.

Example: yardlong bean, ladyfinger, cowpea

Depending on the variety, some plants, like soybean, can either be short-day, long-day or dayneutral.


Photoperiodism

B. Temperature

Temperature has a direct effect on flowering and seed production.

1. Tropical plants - These are plants that flower and produce seeds in hot or tropical areas. Most of these plants flower and produce seeds in the Philippines.

Example: tomato, pepper, cowpea, ladyfinger

2. Temperate plants - These are plants that flower and produce seeds in cold or temperate areas. Most of these plants flower and produce seeds in cold areas in the Philippines, like Baguio and Tagaytay.

Example: pea, cabbage, pechay, radish, onion, carrot, cauliflower


Temperature

In areas where the temperature is not cold, temperate plants can be induced to flower and produce seeds if they are placed in cool conditions before planting. This method is called vernalization. Vernalization is done by soaking the seeds in water and placing them (after the radicle or rudimentary root has protruded) or their plant parts (example: onion bulb, tuber of carrot) in a cold (but not freezing) place like a refrigerator.

Example:


No. of days inside the refrigerator

onion bulb

30 - 90

onion seed

15

garlic bulb

40 - 50

tuber of carrot

14 - 56

radish seed

5- 7

pechay seed

4 - 8

cabbage seed

5 - 7

mustard seed

5 - 7

C. Water/Rain

The right amount of water is needed for the growth of the plant. Hard and continuous rain is not good for seed production since:

1. pollen is not transferred;
2. seeds do not develop from flowers;
3. the vegetative stage of the plant or the maturity of the fruit/seed is prolonged;
4. seeds germinate even if it is still not harvested from the plant;
5. harvesting becomes more laborious;
6. pests attack or infest the plants; and,
7. seed yield decreases.

To prevent seed production during the rainy periods, plants can be spaced at wider or longer distances so that all the plants can have enough sunlight.

On the other hand, lack of rain or water is not good for the plant since it will prevent the normal growth of the plant and the plant may not produce flowers and seeds. Even if flowering occurs, the quality of the seeds is not good and the the seed yield is low.

D. Wind

The strength and direction of the wind affect the pollination of flowers.

E. Soil

To produce good seeds, the soil must be healthy and fertile. The right pH (acidity of the soil) for a specific plant should also be obtained.


Water, rain, wind and soil

II. Cultural Practices

A. Timing of Planting

Plant seeds when the weather is good. Usually, seeds are planted during the rainy season in order to have continuous amount of water. It is good to transplant early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

B. Planting Distance and Rate of Planting

The distance between plants used for seed production is wider compared to that of plants used for other purposes (example: vegetable production, fodder production). More seeds need to be planted if the broadcast or sowing method is done. The distance of planting is also wider if the soil is not fertile and in the rainy season. Widening the distance will enable plants to receive enough sunlight.

C. Hastening Seed Germination

1. Seed Cleaning or Seed Washing - Soak the seeds in a container of water and remove the seeds that float. Seeds which float have poor quality.

2. Use of Inoculants - Some microorganisms help in good growth of seeds. Rhizobium (a kind of bacteria) gets nitrogen from air and gives the nitrogen to the plant and soil. This is usually used for legumes. Mychorrhiza (a kind of fungus) helps the root absorb elements like phosphorus from parts of the soil that cannot be reached by the root. This has been found effective in corn and different vegetables. The two inoculants can be used to Minimize the use of fertilizer.

3. Seed Scarification - This method is appropriate to seeds (example: winged bean, bitter gourd, sponge gourd) that are hard and difficult for water and air to penetrate. This is done by (1) nicking off the seed coat with a knife or nailcutter, (2) puncturing the seed coat with a needle; and, (3) rubbing the seeds in sandpaper, file or any rough material. Care should be done so as not to injure the internal portion of the seeds, especially the radicle.

4. Hot Water Treatment - Pour hot water (boiled and then cooled for about 10 - 15 minutes) into a container with seed (10 parts water to 1 part seed). Let stand for 3 -10 minutes or until water cools off. Seeds may be left soaking overnight. Old seeds are soaked for a shorter time than new seeds.

5. Soaking Seeds in Ordinary Water Overnight - Soak seeds in tap water for 1248 hours (depending on the species). This method is not recommended for all seeds, especially seeds that quickly absorb water like most legumes.


Cultural Practices

D. Maintaining Seed Purity

The following methods are important to prevent contaminating other plant varieties from the variety that is being grown.

1. Planting distance - The plant being grown should be kept at a distance from other varieties and also from plants that are of the same family. Varieties of cross-pollinated plants should be planted at greater distances from each other than self-pollinated plants. For self-pollinated plants, the planting distance should not be less than 10 meters. For cross-pollinated plants, the planting distance should not be less than 100 meters.

2. Planting timing - Avoid planting at the same time plants from the same family or of different varieties of the same species. This ensures that they will not flower at the same time.

3. Use of Windbreaks -Choose an area where there are tall plants in between plants of the same family or species.

4. Border Rows - Rows of plants of the same variety as the plants being used for seed production, planted on the edges of the plot. Seeds from the plants in the border rows are not used for planting.

5. Roguing - Roguing is done by pulling out plants that are: (1) off-types (plants with different color, shape, etc.); (2) diseased or insect-damaged; and, (3) of different varieties. Failure to remove off-types results in poor quality seeds since off-types might cross-pollinate with good plants.

6. Bagging and Caging - This prevents pollination of plants that are of different species and variety.

E. Nutrition

Proper care and the right nutrition should be given to the plant to have good and high seed-yield. Organic fertilizers are recommended.

F. Irrigation/Watering

The amount and frequency of watering should be adjusted for good seed-yield. Plants need less water after flowering than during the vegetative stage.

G. Pest and Disease Management

Pests and diseases affect the quality and quantity of seed yield. To prevent infestation of pests and diseases, cultural practices like intercropping, mixed or multiple cropping and crop rotation are recommended.

Botanical pesticides can also be used to prevent infestation of pests and diseases. If some plants already have disease, pull them out and burn or bury them underground to prevent contaminating other plants.

Use of good quality seeds (seeds with good germination percentage and without seedborne pests and diseases) can also prevent pest and disease infestation.

Another way of controlling pest and disease infestation is to use traditional seeds.

Seed harvesting and seed extraction

Seeds should be carefully harvested to ensure high quality. The seeds should possess the qualities of the variety that was planted. For example if a long purple eggplant was planted the harvested fruit should possess these qualities. Seeds from more plants should he harvested when the plant is cross -pollinated.


Seed harvesting and seed extraction

Seeds should also be harvested when they are already mature. Seeds that are overmature are not recommended since they might have already been infected with pests and diseases. Secondly they are already weak because they are old. Seeds that are undermature will not produce good seedlings and usually do not germinate. Usually for fruits that have lots of seeds (example: bottle gourd sponge gourd bitter gourd eggplant) the seeds that will be used for planting are collected or extracted from the middle portion of the fruit where the maturity of the seeds is just right and the seeds are the same age. If earliness or lateness of fruiting is not one of your selection criteria it is recommended to get fruits that ripen in the middle of the fruiting season.

To allow for losses during storage germination and early growth' about 50% more seeds than needed for planting should be harvested. It is very important that the seeds are labelled after harvesting to avoid mixing up the seeds.

How To Determine if the Seeds are Already Mature

1. The fruit has a hollow sound.
Example: squash watermelon melon

2. Color size and shape of the fruit.
Example: tomato and chili (red); cowpea and other legumes (yellow to brown); eggplant (yellow)

3. Shattering of pods.
Example: legumes

4. Fruit is disconnected from the branch.
Example: squash watermelon melon

5. Number of days - This depends on the familiarity of the farmer for the type of plant.


How To Determine if the Seeds are Already Mature

After-ripening

Some seeds improve their germination if they are allowed to stay inside the fruit for several weeks.
Example: squash bottle gourd sponge gourd

Seed Extraction/Cleaning

The extraction of seeds from the fruit depends on the condition of the fruit and seeds that will be harvested:

1. Wet seeds from fleshy fruits -The fruit and the seeds are both wet. Usually, the flesh is attached firmly to the seeds. Seeds are extracted using the hands or a knife. The fermentation process is sometimes done to remove the seeds. Soak the fruit in water for one to two days. After soaking, separate the seeds from the flesh, and throw away the flesh together with the seeds that float (except when the seeds naturally float). Sunken seeds are then washed and dried.

Example; eggplant, cucumber, tomato, bitter gourd, squash, sponge gourd, bottle gourd

2. Dry seeds - These are obtained or extracted from a dried fruit or pod. These are extracted by hand or pounded collectively while inside a sack or net bag. Pounding the seeds inside the bag is necessary to prevent them from scattering.

Example: cabbage, cauliflower, mustard, pechay. lettuce, pea, lima bean, cowpea, hyacinth bean, yardlong bean, pigeon pea, munghean, onion

If possible, do not harvest these seeds when it is raining or in early morning when there is still dew. Also, do not harvest at midday since the pods will break or shatter, allowing the seeds to come in contact with the soil and with microorganisms that lower seed quality.

3. Dry seeds from fleshy fruits -The ripe fruit is dried before extracting the seeds.

Example: chili, ladyfinger

For all kinds of seeds, winnowing or removal of contaminants after drying and before storage is recommended to maintain good quality. Contaminants include weed seeds, seeds of other crops or of different variety of the crop, chaff, dust and other inert materials like rocks, dirt, twigs and leaves.


Seed Extraction/Cleaning

Seed drying

It is necessary to dry moist seeds before processing and storing. Seeds with high moisture content are more susceptible to physical damage during processing. This reduces viability and encourages the formation of molds.

In addition, the germination of moist seeds that are stored can be severely reduced. In this condition, the respiration of the seeds and of the microorganisms present in and on the seeds may produce enough heat to kill the seed. Excess moisture favors infestation of insect pests. It also increases the respiration of the seeds, consuming the stored food of the seeds and resulting in weak seedlings. Seeds which are not welldried have high respiration rates, causing them to rot. Usually, the moisture content of seeds after harvesting is high, especially when they are cleaned by washing.

If the air is humid, dry seeds absorb the water from air. If the air is dry, it absorbs water from wet seeds. This is why air-drying can dry wet seeds. This is also the reason seeds are stored in air-tight containers after they have been properly dried.

Things to Remember in Drying Seeds

1. Do not allow the seeds to come in contact with the soil or ground. This will prevent the seeds from getting in contact with soil microorganisms that will lower the quality of the seeds. Use a wedge so that the seeds can be dried above the ground.

2. Use a drying material with holes (example: sack, winnowing basket, mat) to allow air to pass through, giving fast, even drying.


Do not allow the seeds to come in contact with the soil or ground

3. Do not dry the seeds rapidly because it will lower seed germination. Rapid drying can also harden the seed coat, making the seed impermeable to water when planted. If the initial moisture content of the seeds is high, air-dry the seeds in a shady area for one to two days before sun-drying. Do not dry seeds under the sun from 11:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. when the heat of the sun is intense because it will kill the seeds.


Do not dry the seeds rapidly

4. Spread the seeds thinly and stir and turn them occasionally (at least 4 to 5 times a day) to make drying fast and even.

5. Before it rains or gets dark, cover the seeds and take them indoors to prevent their moisture content from increasing.

How to Determine if Seeds are Well-dried

1. Seeds that were harvested dry have enough moisture content when they are dried under the sun for 2-3 days. If seeds were harvested wet or were washed before drying, 3-5 days sun-drying is enough after they have been air-dried for 1-2 days.

2. Seeds have distinct sounds when their moisture content is already low enough for storage.

a. Large, thin seeds will break with a "snapping" sound when twisted between the fingers.

Example: squash, bottle gourd


Will break with a "snapping" sound

b. Large, thick seeds will break with a "cracking" sound when bitten between the front teeth. Do not do this for very hard seeds because it might damage your teeth. Also, avoid this if the source of the seeds is unknown since they might have been applied with chemicals.

Example: ladyfinger, cowpea

c. Small seeds will break with a "cracking" sound when squeezed between the fingernails.

Example: mustard, pechay, amaranth

3. Seeds 'have a distinct tinkle when they are well-dried.

4. If possible, use an oven which can reach a temperature of 100°C or higher. Weigh the seed sample before placing it inside the oven. Weigh the seeds again after drying for 17-20 hours inside the oven. The lost weight indicates how much water was lost after the seeds have been dried. From these, the percent moisture content of the seeds can be computed. The seeds are dried enough for storage when they reach a moisture content of or less than 10%.

Example: Before oven drying - weight of seeds is 10 grams After oven drying - weight of seeds is 9 grams

Lost water 1 gram
% Moisture Content of the Seeds = 1 / 10 × 100= 10%

However, it is not easy to obtain an oven to determine the moisture content of the seeds so the practical methods above are recommended.


How to Determine if Seeds are Well-dried

Seed storage

The length of time that seeds can be stored depends on: (1) the seed type; (2) its quality; and, (3) the storage conditions.

Factors that Affect the Longevity of Seeds During Storage:

1. Moisture Content of the Seed - Even if seeds are thoroughly dried, improper storage can still enable them to absorb water. To avoid damage caused by excessive moisture content, (1) store seeds in air-tight containers (bottle with tightly closed metal cover, tin can, sealed thick plastic); (2) keep seeds dry by including desiccants or materials that absorb moisture (example: dry charcoal, dry ash, toasted white rice, lime, silica gel) inside the storage container, and, (3) replace desiccants, such as dry charcoal, dry ash and toasted white rice, each time the container is opened. The moisture content of the seeds can also be kept low if the seeds are sun-dried from time to time.

2. Temperature - The life of vegetable seeds during storage is prolonged when the storage temperature is low or cold (but not freezing). If a refrigerator or airconditioner is not available, choose a cold place (example: near the river, under trees, underground, inside a clay jar). Ensure that the seeds will not get wet.

As a general rule:

The life of seeds doubles when the moisture content is lowered by 1% or when the storage temperature is lowered by 5°C.

Example:

If the storage life of a seed with 14% moisture content is two years, its storage life can be prolonged to four years if the moisture content of the seed is lowered to 13%.

If the expected life of a seed is three years in a storage room with a temperature of 15°C, its life can be prolonged to six years if the storage temperature is lowered to 10°C.

If both the moisture content of the seed and storage temperature are lowered, the increase in the life of the seed is greater.

Example

Condition Result

Moisture Content

Temperature

Storage Life

% Germination

13%

30°C

½ year

50%

12%

30°C

1 year

50%

13%

25°C

1 year

50%

12%

25°C

2 years

50%

11%

25°C

4 years

50%

10%

30°C

4 years

50%

3. Pests - Storage weevils, fungi and bacteria shorten the life of seeds during storage. Storage weevils begin to multiply when the moisture content is 10%. Fungi infestation becomes a problem when the moisture content is 13%. Bacteria become a problem when the moisture content is above 20%. To prevent pest infestation, choose only pest-free seeds during storage. Pest problems can also be prevented if the seeds are maintained dry. Materials that prevent or stop the growth and multiplication of pests can also be used. These are:

a. Dry ash and charcoal - They absorb water inside the storage container. Ash prevents the growth and increase of weevils. Use one-half kilo of ash for every one kilo of seed. Use ash which has been cooled for at least 12 hours to prevent the seeds from burning.

b. Sand - Mix the sand with the seeds and make sure that the storage container is full so that the weevils cannot move around.

c. Cooking Oil - Some seeds can be mixed with cooking oil to prevent increase of weevil. The recommended rate is one teaspoon oil for every one kilo of seeds.

d. Lime - In addition to absorbing moisture, lime can also prevent an increase in the number of weevils. Mix 15 teaspoons (about 50 grams) of lime for every kilo of seeds.

e. Dried and powdered leaves or seeds of different aromatic plants - Weevils are sensitive to odorous plants which prevent their multiplication and cause their death The effect of the plants depends on their preparation, the amount applied and the type of seed and weevils. Some of these plants can affect the seed so it is important to test what is appropriate for a certain kind of seed. Also, make sure that the right amount is applied.

Examples of Aromatic Plants

Neem - Dry the leaves or seeds under the sun and grind them to a powder. Mix 3-4 teaspoons (15-20 grams) of powdered seeds (double the amount if powdered leaves are used) for every one kilo of seeds.

Hot pepper or chili - Dried and powdered fruits are better than dried whole fruits. Mix 46 teaspoons (20-30 grams) of dried and powdered chili for every one kilo of seeds.

Black pepper - Mix 6 teaspoons (30 grams) of powdered black pepper (double the amount if powdered leaves are used) for every kilo of seeds.

Other plants which can be tried:

Powdered rhizome of turmeric - Mix 4 teaspoons (20 grams) for every kilo of seeds.

Powdered leaves of mint - Mix 14 teaspoons (5-20 grams) for every kilo of seeds.

Powdered seeds of yambean -Mix 1-2 teaspoons (5-10 grams) for every kilo of seeds.

Powdered leaves of lagundi, mango and tobacco - Mix 14 teaspoons (5-20 grams) for every kilo of seeds.

4. Other factors - The storage life of seeds can become shorter if the seeds are overmature, if they came from plants that have been attacked by pests and diseases or if the seeds were damaged during seed processing.

Labeling

Place labels inside and outside the storage container, especially when lots of different types of seeds will be stored. The following should be included in the label: (1) name of seed; (2) date harvested; (3) date stored; (4) date germination test was conducted; and, (5) percentage germination. If necessary, the characteristics of the plant and the seed should also be included.

Testing seed quality

Seed quality should be determined when buying seeds, selling seeds, giving or sharing seeds, storing seeds and sowing or planting seeds.

A. Seed Vigor

The strength or vigor of seeds, especially after exposing these to conditions of the storage room and planting area, needs to be determined. Weak seeds planted in poor field conditions will die, or the resulting plants will be susceptible to pests and diseases. Yields will, therefore, be low. Weak seeds will also not survive long during storage. In addition, even if a number of seeds have germinated, their rate or timing of germination and growth will be slow and not uniform. Determine seed vigor at the same time as measuring the percentage germination, in which seed vigor is the speed and uniformity of germination of the seeds. Compare the number, speed and uniformity of germination of the seeds being tested to those of good quality seeds.

Seed vigor can also be determined by soaking the seeds in water. Usually, the seeds which float are weak.


Seed Vigor

B. Seed Health

Healthy seeds are free of pests and diseases which can kill or damage. They will not infect other plants and spread a disease. If a microscope is not available, examine the seeds carefully. Look for blemishes or stains in the seedcoat, molds, holes caused by insects or eggs of insects. These seeds might cause an epidemic or will introduce a new pest or disease and are, therefore, unfit for planting. Clean the seeds and remove diseased or infected seeds.

Sometimes, a disease can be seen only after the seeds have been planted. Check if germinating seeds have fungi or bacteria (symptoms of infection: seeds are watery, shiny and have bad smell). It will also be helpful to know the place and the plant where the seeds were collected, especially for purposes of determining seed-borne diseases.

Many fungi and bacteria which can be killed by soaking the seeds in hot water (50°C) for 30 minutes. However, some pests and diseases cannot be killed by this method. Some tests on seed health are better conducted in the laboratory. If you think that your seeds have pests and diseases, have them tested in appropriate offices or agencies (example: Bureau of Plant Industry).

C. Seed Purity

Make sure the seeds you procure are the right ones or the ones as stated in the label. This can only be determined by knowing the characteristics of the seeds well. Also, determine whether there are contaminants in the seeds, such as dirt, stones, leaves or seeds of other plants, broken seeds and pests and diseases. The contaminants lower seed quality. If possible clean the seeds before storing or giving to others.


Seed Purity

D Moisture Content of the Seeds

The standard moisture content is 14% for seeds that are not oily (like ladyfinger and pechay) and 12% for seeds that are oily (like soybean, peanut, yardlong bean and mungbean). High moisture content decreases the viability of seeds.

E. Percentage Germination

Obtaining percentage germination gives an idea on whether the seeds should still be stored, planted or thrown away. This will also indicate the number of seeds to be planted to get the desired number of plants. You need a material which can absorb water. For large seeds, use river sand or clean soil (usually boiling water is poured on the soil before using to kill germs) as a germination medium. For small seeds, paper (example: filter paper, tissue paper) or cloth (example: cheese cloth) can be used as a germination medium. Arrange the seeds (not dose together) in the germination medium and roll the medium like a mat, or cover with another layer of the medium. Water the seeds, but do not flood them. Place the medium with the seeds in a box or plastic bag which allows air to penetrate, or stand it in a container with enough water to be absorbed upwards. Do not place the medium in the sun or where it can be reached by rats or ants.

After several days, count the number of normal seedlings (the ones which have the ability to continue growing normally and those which have normal leaves and roots).

Calculate the percentage germination.


Example:

The more seeds tested for percentage germination, the more accurate the percentage germination will be. If possible, replicate testing and use 50 or more seeds. You can then find the number of seeds to plant:


Example:


Abnormal Seeds

Do not store or plant seeds if their percentage germination is lower than 50%. These seeds will usually produce weak seedlings and will deteriorate rapidly, if stored.

There are instances when seeds do not germinate at once, not because they are dead, but because they are dormant or fail to absorb water (example: mungbean, winged bean). In addition, some temperate seeds (example: pechay, carrot, cabbage) absorb water but do not readily germinate, especially when they are new or fresh. Hard-coated seeds need methods that will open the seedcoat (example: rubbing in sandpaper, use of nailcutter or chipping with a knife). Take extra care in preventing embryo damage. You can also soak the seeds in hot water for 3-10 minutes (l part seed for every 10 parts water) or in boiling water for 1-10 seconds. The duration of soaking depends on the type of seed and the age of the seed. Seeds which are old, hard and easily absorb water should be soaked for a shorter length of time compared to seeds which are young, soft and do not easily absorb water. Seeds usually grown in cold areas can be placed in the cold for several days while In the germination medium before transferring them to a planting area.

References:

Chapman, S. and L. Carter. 1976. Crop Production - Principles and Practices. W.H. Freeman and Co., USA: 566 p.

Cleveland, D. and D. Soleri. 1991. Food from Dryland Gardens: An Ecological, Nutritional and Social Approach to Small-scale Household Food Production. USA: pp. 285 - 306.

Fernandez, P., E. Masilungan, E. Corcolon, B. Garcia, M. Petalcorin, C. Ramirez and M. Tolentino. 1992. Pagpaparami at Pangangalaga ng Binhi. Philippines. 33 p.

Janick, J. 1963. Horticultural Science. 2nd Edition. W.H. Freeman and Co., USA. 586 p.

McCollum, W. 1968. Producing Vegetable Crops. The Interstate Printers and Publishers, Inc., USA: 588 p.

Nursery techniques for seedlings

Direct seeding is the most common method of sowing vegetable seeds. However, some vegetable seeds perform better if they are sown in containers or seedbeds initially and are later transplanted. Here are some basic steps in starting plants by this method:

1. Select suitable container. Planting in a seedbed is cheaper than using a container. However, using a container allows the gardener to choose the right medium for growing the seedlings. Any container deep enough to allow seedlings to root and wide enough to prevent their becoming cramped will do. Containers may be:


Seed flats


Clay seed-pans


Plant bands/paper box


Rag doll

2. Prepare container for planting. Containers should be cleaned properly to ensure they harbor no fungus spores or insect pests. Adequate drainage should also be provided to avoid damping-off (soil-borne disease that destroys seedlings).


Cleaning containers


Providing drainage

3. Prepare the soil medium. The soil medium should be free of weed seeds, fungus spores and garden pests. It should be sufficiently porous to allow the delicate rootless to penetrate and to admit air and moisture. Usually, a mixture of equal parts of sand, soil and compost is recommended, though a modified mixture can be made to produce a soil mixture that is more favorable for the growth of seedlings.


Sterilizing soil


Filling flat or pan


Watering

4. Sow the seeds. The manner in which seeds are placed in the soil depends largely on their size.


Fine seeds are usually broadcast together with sand.


Medium-sized seeds are often sown in drills.


Large seeds can be poked in slightly with a finger.

5. Cover the seeds. Cover the seeds by sifting soil medium through a fine sieve held above the seed bed. Large seeds are covered to a depth equal to twice their width.


Cover the seeds

Fine seeds are not covered but are merely pressed gently into the soil with a flat, level piece of wood.


Fine seeds are not covered

6. Care for Germinating Seeds. Seedlings should be protected from temperature fluctuations. Enough moisture and air circulation must be provided.

Dry soil can stop germination, but overwatering can encourage damping off. When watering is necessary, soak by immersion if possible.

It is advisable to set the seedbox in the open. If it is covered or is indoors, the seedlings may suffer from lack of moving air.

The seedlings should continue to get some protection until the first true leaves emerge. When one or two sets of true leaves become visible, the seedlings are ready for transplanting.


The seedlings should continue to get some protection

7. Pricking/thinning is the process of transplanting seedlings from the seedbox to another seedbox. This step gives the seedlings a chance to start development of root and leaf systems before the plants are left to fend for themselves in the garden. Seedlings should be pricked out as soon as they have two sets of leaves


Pricking/thinning is the process of transplanting seedlings

Use a sharp tool to help remove the plants so as not to injure them.

If seedlings come up with their roots entangled, they can be separated by soaking the root ball in water.


If seedlings come up with their roots entangled

Transplant the Seedlings. Punch holes in the seedbed with a dibble at two inches apart. Working quickly, insert the roots of the individual seedlings in the holes and firm them in with either the dibble or with forefinger and middle finger.


Transplant the Seedlings

If roots of a seedling are lengthy, they should be cut with shears or sharp knife.


They should be cut

When the seedbox is filled, it should be watered with a fine spray from a hand syringe to settle the soil around the roots and to freshen wilted stems and leaves.


Should be watered with a fine spray

If plants are particularly soft and subject to wilting, cover the box with a sheet of newspaper or another box fumed upside down.


Cover the box with a sheet of newspaper

In about four or five weeks, the young plants will be ready to go out into the open ground. A week before transplanting, the plants should be hardened by gradually increasing exposure to sun and air. Before finally setting in the garden, the plants should be given several days of full sunlight; and if they are going into a sunny position, watering is also held back gradually before transplanting..

Reference:

Sunset Western Garden Book. 1959. Lane Publishing Co., Menlo Park, California, USA. 384 pp.

Crop planning

Crop planning considers what, when, where and which plants to grow in relation to their requirements for space, sunshine, water, maturation, season of planting and tolerance for each other.

For a garden to give the maximum yield for the family, it should be kept planted all the time. Good planning is necessary.

Important Considerations in Crop Planning

1. Diversification

Grow different kinds of vegetables, trees and other plants in one area. Each plot must contain at least one of each of the following crop categories: leafy, legume, tuberous and fruitbearing vegetables. In this way, the nutritional needs of the family are being met. By growing a diversity of vegetables of different durations, the family is assured of the availability of vegetables throughout the year. This practice is also one way of checking pest outbreaks and certain intercrops serve the additional purpose of being insect repellents.

Rotation of Each Crop Within Each Bed

Bed

Planting season

Subdivision

First

Second

Third

Fourth

1

Leaf

Fruit

Root

Legume

2

Fruit

Leaf

Legume

Root

3

Root

Legume

Leaf

Fruit

4

Legume

Root

Fruit

Leaf

2. Crop Rotation

Different plants have varying' rooting depths and so extract nutrients and moisture from different points of the soil profile. The cultivation of different plants in the same part of the bed from season to season does not overburden the soil. Also, each kind of plant takes away something from the soil, but also gives something back. By rotating the plants from one part of the bed to another, the land is allowed to rest from one kind of plant and the soil gets richer from the other plant that was put in its place. Crop rotation enables the land to "rest" without keeping it idle. Follow heavy feeders with heavy givers and then light feeders.

3. Intensive Planting

Use every bit of the area as many months of the year as possible. Close spacing is recommended to prevent the growth of weeds and reduce the direct exposure of the soil to sunlight, thereby reducing moisture evaporation as the plant canopy serves as "living mulch." Space plants closely, seeing to it that each plant has enough sunshine and space to grow. Plants are correctly spaced when the leaves of the fully grown plants barely overlap with the adjacent ones. This achieves maximum use of space and higher yields per unit area, when compared with conventional gardening. Plant in a triangular fashion. The seeds or seedlings are planted at each end of an imaginary triangle, with the sides of the triangle being equal to the recommended spacing. This portion allows more plants to be grown within a small area than the usual method of square or row planting.

Two Methods of Planting


Row planting has more soil space exposed to sunlight which leads to rapid evaporation of soil moisture.


Thick canopy of plants reduces moisture evaporation and prevents weed growth.


Square planting


Triangular planting

Triangular method of planting gives more plants per unit area.

Using the fenceline for planting annual and perennial crops

Trees, shrubs and other crops must be planted in such a way that a multistoried cropping pattern is achieved. This way, various crops can-be grown in a limited space without competing with each other. Weed growth is also controlled through shading by the upper canopy level and by crawling vines.


Using the fenceline for planting annual and perennial crops

Upper canopy species (A) - form a protective canopy against tropical sun and torrential rains.

Middle canopy species (B) - feature staple and fruit production including trailing plants which can be allowed to climb the trees.

Lower canopy species (C) - bush-level growth which can be grown to form a double layer of protection against stray animals.

Understory crops and - shade-tolerant crops and crawling vines can be planted to further
creepers (D) cover the soil.

Purpose of Live Fence

1. protection against stray animals
2. windbreak
3. green manure
4. food
5. fuelwood
6. fodder

How to Make a Fenceline

1. Dig a trench 1 ½ ft. wide and 1 ½ ft. deep along the fence.
2. Mix the dug out soil with wood ash and compost and return the mixture into the trench.
3. Plant the seeds or cuttings.

Examples of Plants that Can Be Used in a Fence:

A. Upper Canopy Species
Moringa oleifera (horseradish tree)
Sesbania grandiflora (katuray)
Gliricidia septum (kakawate)
Averrhoa bilimbi (kamyas)
Psidium guajava (guava)
Persia americana (avocado)
Artocarpus altilis (breadfruit)
Artocarpus heterophyllus (jackfruit)
Annona muricata (soursop)
Annona squamosa (sugar apple)
Calliandra calothyrsus (calliandra)

B. Middle Canopy Species
Carica papaya (papaya)
Musa spp. (banana)
Citrus mitts (calamansi)
Flemingia macrophylla (flemingia)
Desmodium rensonii (rensonii)

Climbers
Psophocarpus tetragonolobus (winged bean)
Dioscorea alata (greater yam)
Dioscorea esculenta (lesser yam)
Pachyrrhizus erosus (yam bean)

C. Lower Canopy Species
Sauropus androgynus (Japanese malungay)
Corchorus olitorius (jute)
Capsicum frutescens (chili)
Manihot esculenta (cassava)
Cajanus cajan (pigeon pea)
Zea mays (corn)
Pandanus odoratissimus (pandan)
Maranta arundinacea (arrowroot)

D. Understory Crops and Creepers
Ananas comosus (pineapple)
Zingiber officinale (ginger)
Colocasia esculenta (taro)
Adropogon citratus (lemon grass)
Sesamum orientale (sesame)
Foeniculum vulgare (fennel)
Ipomoea batatas (sweet potato)
Ipomoea aquatica (swamp cabbage)
Basella alba (basella)

Reference:

Ni V. 1984. Household Gardens and Small-scale Food Production. Food and Nutrition Bulletin 7(3): 1-5

Companion plant guide chart

"Companion" plants have complementary physical and chemical demands. They will grow well together. "Antagonistic" plants have a negative effect on one another. Avoid planting them close to each other.

Vegetable

Companion

Antagonist

Abelmoschus esculentus (ladyfinger)

sweet potato, swamp cabbage, squash, radish, pechay (Brassica chinensis)


Allium cepa (onion)

lettuce, beets, tomato

peas, beans

Allium sativum (garlic)

carrot, lettuce, beets, tomato

peas, beans

Apium graveolens (celery)

cabbage family, tomato, bush bean


Asparagus officinale (asparagus)

tomato


Beta vulgaris (beets)

onion, garlic

pole beans

Brassicas (cabbage family)

potato, celery, beet, onion, garlic

pole beans

Colocasia esculenta (taro)

sweet potato, swamp cabbage


Cucumis sativus (cucumber)

corn, pole beans, ladyfinger, cowpea, radish, eggplant

potatoes

Cucurbita maxima (squash)

bottle gourd, sponge gourd, bitter gourd, cucumber


Ipomoea aquatica (swamp cabbage)

taro, sweet potato, cassava (Manihot esculenta), tomato, ladyfinger, corn, eggplant, amaranth (Amaranthus gracilis)


Ipomoea batatas (sweet potato) ladyfinger,

corn, cassava, eggplant, pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan)


Lactuca sativa (lettuce)

carrots, radish, cucumber


Lagenaria siceraria (bottle gourd)

sponge gourd, bitter gourd, cucumber


Luffa cylindrica (sponge gourd)

bottle gourd,


bitter gourd, cucumber



Lycopersicon Iycopersicum

onion, lettuce, sweet potato,

potato, cabbage

(tomato)

radish, swamp cabbage,



squash, pechay, garlic, asparagus, carrots


Momordica charantia

lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus),


(bitter gourd)

hyacinth bean (Dolichos lablab),



winged bean (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus),



pole bean


Phaseolus aureus (mungbean)

corn, sorghum (Andropogon sorghum)


Phaseolus vulgaris (snap bean)

corn, carrot, cucumber, potato,

onion, garlic


cabbage family


Raphanus sativus (radish)

beans, cucumber, lettuce


Solanum melongena (eggplant)

beans, lettuce,


sweet potato,




swamp cabbage, squash, pechay,



radish, pepper (Capsicum annuum)


Solanum tuberosum (potato)

garlic, beans, corn, cabbage

cucumber, tomato

Vigna sesquipedalis (pole bean)

corn

onion, beet

Vigna sinensis (bush bean)

potato, cucumber, corn, celery

onion

Vegetables that can be harvested in less than a month

Scientific Name

Common Names

No. of Days from Planting to

Harvesting



Brassica juncea

mustard

25

Brassica chinensis

pechay

25

Raphanus sativus

radish

20-25

Basella alba

basella

25

Amaranthus gracilis

amaranth

25-30

Ipomoea batatas

sweet potato

20

Ipomoea aquatica

swamp cabbage

20

Coriandrum sativum

coriander

15

Cucumis sativus

cucumber

30

Lactuca sativa

leaf lettuce

25

Portulaca oleracea

purslane

25

Talinum triangulare

Philippine spinach

25

Shade-tolerant vegetables

As plants are fitted together according to their various above-ground growth patterns, one should be aware of the plants' light and shade requirements so that they can benefit from the shade-light patterns and grow with minimum competition for light. Vegetables that grow best in the shade should be planted underneath larger ones.

Scientific Name

Common Name

Light Requirements

Zingiber officinale

ginger

requires about 50% shade

Colocasia esculenta

taro

tolerates up to 50% shade

Basella alba

basella

requires partial shade

Apium graveolens

celery

requires partial shade

Cucumis sativus

cucumber

requires partial shade

Lactuca sativa

lettuce

requires light shade

Brassica oleracea var. capitata

cabbage

requires light shade

Talinurn triangulare

Philippine spinach

tolerates light shade

Daucus carota

carrot

tolerates light shade

Solanum tuberosum

Irish potato

tolerates light shade

Drought-resistant vegetables

Scientific Name

Common Name

Degree of Resistance

Voandzeia subterranea

Bambara groundnut

highly drought-resistant

Tylosema esculentum

Marama bean

highly drought-resistant

Arachis hypogaea

peanut

highly drought-resistant

Vigna sesquipedalis

yardlong bean

highly drought-resistant

Cajanus cajan

pigeon pea

highly drought- and heat resistant once established

Abelmoschus esculentus

ladyfinger

fairly drought-resistant

Vigna aconitifolia

moth bean

most drought- tolerant crop grown in India

Sorghum bicolor

sorghum

highly drought-resistant

Vigna sinensis

cowpea

drought- and heat-toleran

Solanun melongena

eggplant

drought-tolerant

Manihot esculenta

cassava

drought-tolerant once established

Dolichos lablab

lablab bean

drought-tolerant once established

Phaseolus lunatus

lima bean

drought-tolerant once established

lpomoea batatas

sweet potato

fairly drought-tolerant

Amaranthus gracilis

amaranth

fairly drought-tolerant

Phaseolus aureus

mungbean

fairly drought-tolerant

Solarization: A weed control technique using sunlight

Solarization is a technique for killing weeds in a garden plot using the sun's heat. A clear plastic sheet is used to cover the garden plots and is then exposed to the heating rays of the sun for 10 - 15 days. This technique is used before the crops are planted and only when weeds are a serious problem and in the first year of starting a garden. Subsequently, garden practices such as yearround cultivation, crop rotation and intercropping should control weeds.

How to solarize:

1. Dig the garden bed to a depth of 20 - 30 cm, pulverize and level.

2. Water the surface to a depth of 15 - 20 cm.

3. Cover the entire surface of the garden with clear plastic (polyethylene).

4. Seal all sides by covering the edges of the plastic with soil or pieces of lumber/wood.

5. Keep the plastic in place for 10-15 days. During this period, the weed seeds will germinate and, through the intense heat of the sun, will gradually be killed.

6. Remove the plastic cover.

7. Apply compost and other soil supplements and incorporate into the soil to a depth of 10 15 cm.

8. Level the garden bed and plant.


How to solarize

* Water buffalo, cow and horse manures, if applied directly (even in dried form). can result in increased weed growth due to the presence of weed seeds in the excreta. If such uncomposted manure is used, it should be incorporated into the soil before the plastic cover is placed onto the bed. Weed seeds are not generally found in pig and Poultry manures.

Watering

One of the most critical factors for successful gardening is water. Poor watering practices can stunt plant growth and can even be fatal to plants. As a rule, plants should be watered thoroughly but infrequently. Thorough watering dampens the soil. This allows the water to move down through the soil by progressively satisfying the waterholding capacity of every soil particle. Likewise, well-sequenced watering allows the water to sink slowly and the soil surface to dry up. These conditions encourage the development of a deep root system.


Well Sequenced Watering


Too Frequent Watering

Plants are deep-rooted and can withstand drought periods because they rely on subsoil water.

Plants are shallow-rooted and suffer with even a slight reduction in moisture availability; plants become dependent on applied water.

Note: This does not apply to young plants (i.e., less than 40 days old), which need daily watering in dry weather.

Mulching

Mulch is loose organic materials, such as straw, cut grass, leaves and the like used to cover the soil around the plants or between the rows for protection or improvement of the area covered. A mulch aids in maintaining a favorable condition of the soil underneath. The increased plant growth is due primarily to conditions resulting from the use of a given material rather than any growth promoting substances present in the mulch itself.

Since organic mulches are derived from plant materials, decomposition will occur and this has several positive effects on both the soil and the plants.


Mulching

Physical Effects

1. If mixed in the upper soil layer, the material dilutes the soil and usually increases root growth. Aeration and water-holding capacity are increased on clay and sandy soils, respectively.

2. During the decomposition of the organic material, soil microorganisms secrete a sticky material which promotes the granulation or clinging together of the soil.

3. Mulch improves and stabilizes soil structure or the arrangement of soil particles. It serves as a cushion, reducing soil compaction caused by pelting rain, coarse streams or drops of water from irrigation devices.

Chemical Effects

1. Most organic materials will raise the soil pH slighty, making it more alkaline. This can be remedied by mixing acid-forming or organic matter like sawdust and moss peat with the soil.

2. In two or three months, mulch rots and small amounts of fertilizer become available to the plants.

3. Nitrogen deficiency may become apparent with mulched plants because an appreciable amount of nitrogen is taken from the soil by the microorganisms decomposing the organic mulch. To avoid this, liquid fertilizer must be applied to the plant as nitrogen-supplement .

Biological Effects

1. Organic mulch serves as food for many microorganisms found in the soil. It also helps keep the temperature more constant so microorganisms activity can proceed at a uniform rate.

2. Sometimes undesirable organisms like disease-causing fungi, bacteria and nematodes may be added to the soil with the application of organic plant materials. Stirring the mulch occasionally eliminates the mold. During rainy season, mulch should be applied only when the plants are at least a month old to deter pest attack.

3. Weed seeds may be introduced into the garden with hay or straw. This can be avoided by using only the middle portion of the plant as mulching material. The flowers and the roots must first be composted.


Without mulch, weeds are growing in between plants.


Mulch prevents the growth of weed.


Mulching prevents soil compaction.

The role of organic mulches

Mulches have many beneficial effects upon the soil, plants and area surrounding the plants.

1. They conserve soil moisture by reducing evaporation of water from the soil.

2. They prevent crusting of the soil surface, thus improving absorption and percolation of water to the soil areas where the roots are growing.

3. They maintain a more uniform soil temperature by acting as an insulator that keeps the soil warm during cool spells and cooler during the warm months of the year.

4. They prevent fruits and plants from becoming mud splashed and reduce losses from soil-borne diseases.

5. They reduce weed problems when the mulch material itself is weed-free and is applied deep enough (at least 2.5-cm thick) to prevent weed seed germination or smother existing smaller weeds. Time and labor of weeding is reduced considerably when mulches are used properly.


The role of organic mulches

Some tropical materials for use as mulch


Nitrogen

Phosporus

Potash

Corn cobs

x

x

xxx

Corn silage

x

x

x

Corn stalks

x

x

x

Rice straw

xx

x

x

Rice bran

xx

x

x

Wheat straw

xx

x

x

Wheat bran

xx

x

x

Peanut shells

x

x

x

Egg shells

x

x

x

Feathers

xxx

x

x

Sugar by-products

x

xxx

x

Coffee grounds

x

x

x

Tea grounds

xx

x

x

Seaweed

xx

x

x

Fish bones

xx

xx

xx

Banana stalk

x

xx

xxx

Banana skins

x

xx

xxx

Banana leaves

x

xx

xxx

Tobacco leaves

xx

x

xx

Tobacco stalk

xx

x

xx

xxx - Good source
xx - Fair source
x - Poor source

References:

Brooks, W. M., J.D. Utzinger and H. R. Tayama. (Undated). Mulches for the Home Grounds. Ohio State University.

Gardening in dry environments

Some of the problems associated with dry-land gardening are light saturation and excessive evaporation, which can lead to more serious problems like nutrient deficiency and soil alkalinity. These problems can greatly affect the growth and development of plants. But, gardening is still possible under such conditions if a special environment is created.

1. Deep digging. This improves soil structure, making it more porous. With more spaces in the soil, greater amounts of water can be stored for the use of the plants.

2. Addition of large amounts of organic matter into the soil. While nutrients can be present in dryland soils, they are usually chemically unavailable due to high soil pH. Organic matter is essential to create humus, which can make the elements become available to the plants. It also acts like a sponge, absorbing water so that less evaporates.

3. Close spacing of plants. With all available spaces filled up with plants, there is less exposure of soil to direct sunlight; hence, less evaporation. Shading of the soil also keeps down weeds, another competitor for water.

4. Provision of windbreaks. Growing trees around the garden helps to lower the temperature in the immediate vicinity of the garden and deflects dry winds. It, therefore, decreases water loss from the plant surfaces.

5. Clay pot technique. Water in a clay pot buried in the soil will diffuse slowly from the pot to the plants:

a. Sink unglazed, porous clay pots into the beds (with the opening just above the bed surface) one meter apart. Fill with water and cover to reduce direct evaporation.

b. Add a thin layer (0.5 cm) of straw or grass clippings as mulch.

c. When the plants are about three weeks old, add more mulch (5 - 8 cm).


Close spacing of plants


Clay pot technique

Water-saving ideas for gardens during dry season

Conserving water is especially important during dry months when water is limited. However, water conservation does not necessarily mean cutting down on water, rather, it means making the most of available water.

1. Water early in the morning. Watering in the morning allows greater absorption of water by the soil. Later in the day, the air is hot and dry and water evaporates from the soil surface faster.

2. Water placement. The best method of watering is by trickle or drip irrigation with a perforated plastic hose placed adjacent to each crop row. This puts the water exactly where it is needed.

3. Mulch. Mulch helps retain moisture by reducing surface evaporation. It also prevents weed growth and builds up humus, improving the water-holding capacity of the soil.

4. Weed regularly. Undesirable plants should not be allowed to have a share of any available water.

5. Select adapted plants. Use plants with a low water need, a deep root system and which tolerate heat and drought. Cucurbits, beans and some grains are good examples of plants that can be grown with little water.

6. Recycle water. Any water from household uses (must be low in detergents and grease) can be saved and used in the garden.


Water-saving ideas for gardens during dry season

References:

Ameroso, L. (Undated). Plan Now to Conserve Water In Your Garden. Cornell Cooperative Extension, New York City Gardening Program.

Mollison, B. and R. M. Slay. 1991. Introduction to Permaculture. Tagari Publications, Australia. 198 pp.

Growing vegetables in saline areas

Saline soils are soils that have been harmed by excessive amounts of soluble salts - mainly sodium, calcium, magnesium, chloride and sulfate, as well as potassium, bicarbonate, carbonate, nitrate and boron. The abnormally high salt concentration of saline soils reduces the rate at which plants absorb water, consequently growth is retarded. Aside from growth retardation of plants, certain salt constituents, like boron, are specifically toxic to some crops.

What Causes Soil Salinity?

1. Lack of water. Salt-affected soils are common in arid or semiarid regions because there is less rainfall available to leach and transport the salts and because the high evaporation and plant transpiration rates in arid climates tend to further concentrate the salts in soils and surface waters.

2. Poor drainage. When water table rises to within 1.5 or 2 m of the surface, groundwater containing dissolved salt moves upward into the root zone and to the soil surface. Groundwater then causes the soil to become saline.

3. Excessive irrigation. Irrigation waters may contain large amount of salt. Considerable quantities of soluble salts may be added to irrigated soils in a short time.


What Causes Soil Salinity

How to Tell if your Soil is Affected by Salinity

The salinity status of soils is appraised by measuring electrical conductivity of the solution extracted from saturated soil paste. The yields of very salt-sensitive crops may be restricted at readings as low as 2, moderately salt-tolerant crops grow satisfactorily below readings of 8; only salt-tolerant crops grow satisfactorily when readings range between 8 and 16.

Management Practices for the Control of Salinity

1. Select crops or crop cultivars that can grow successfully under saline conditions. Among the highly tolerant vegetables are beets, kale, asparagus, spinach and tomato.

2. Use land preparation and tillage methods that aid in the control of salinity. Careful leveling of land makes possible a more uniform application of water and better salinity control.

3. Modify watering practices and bed shape to alter the of salts to accumulate near the seed. Pre-emergence watering in special furrows placed close to the seed often is done to reduce the soluble salt concentration around the seeds and thus permit germination. After the seedlings are established, the special furrows may be abandoned and new furrows made between the rows.

4. Use special planting procedures that minimize salt accumulation around the seed. The tendency of salts to accumulate near the seed during irrigation is greatest in single-row, flattopped beds. With double-row beds, most of the salt is carried into the center of the bed, leaving the shoulders relatively free of salt and satisfactory for planting.


Standard vegetable bed' for saline soils

For peppers chile, ladyfinger, sweet potatoes, cowpeas and sweet corn

5. Water properly, so as to maintain a relatively high soil moisture level and, at the same time, allow for periodic leaching of the soil and reduce salinity problems. The method and frequency of watering and the amount of water applied are of prime importance in the control of salinity. The amount of water applied should be sufficient to supply the crop and satisfy the leaching requirement but not enough to overload the system.

6. "Pond" water over the entire soil surface to make leaching efficient. Soils can be leached by applying water to the surface and allowing it to pass downward through the root zone.

7. Apply special treatments, such as, adding organic matters and growing sod crops to improve soil structure. Low permeability of the soil causes poor drainage by impeding the downward movement of water. The impedance may be the result of an unfavorable increase in groundwater level, which then causes the soil to become saline.

Reference:

Bower, C. A. and M. Fireman. 1957. Saline and Alkali Sails. In Yearbook of Agriculture by USDA, Washington, D. C.

Lead in urban gardens

URBAN gardens are often affected by the presence of metal pollutants in the air and on the soil. Air pollution can cause health problems for humans and can retard plant growth.

Of the metal pollutants, lead is a major concern. At least two sources of lead affect city grown produce: gasoline emissions and lead-based paint. Lead can be deposited directly on the plant leaves or on the soil. Lead in the soil is usually not taken up by plant roots unless it is present in large quantities. Soil-borne lead is rarely found in the fruiting parts of the plants. It is found mostly in the roots and leaves.

A number of factors affect the amount of soil-borne lead found in plants. Plants growing in soils with high organic matter content take up small amounts of lead. Decomposed organic matter and well-rotted manure tend to bind the lead and makes it insoluble to plant roots. If the soil pH is kept between 6.5 and 7.0, lead uptake can be reduced. Soil pH levels above 6.5 also reduce the absorption of metallic cadmium, another dangerous pollutant. Applying 8 - 10 cm of well-decomposed compost to each bed and incorporate it in the soil helps reduce lead uptake.

A bigger concern in lead-contaminated gardens comes from the exposure of children to the soil. Young children playing in the garden may put soil in their mouths, ingesting the lead. This method of lead poisoning is more common than through "consuming lead-polluted vegetables. Avoid taking young children into urban gardens to reduce their direct exposure to surface soil lead.

Fortunately, lead deposits on leaves can easily be washed off. Water alone is not sufficient. Wash with diluted vinegar (1% or one spoonful of vinegar in 100 spoons of water) or diluted dish washing liquid (0.5% or half a spoonful for every 100 spoons of water) is preferred. Root crops should be peeled to ensure that lead adhering to the skin is removed. Since green leafy vegetables are most affected by lead deposits, they should be planted as far away as possible from roads with heavy traffic.

Vegetables such as tomatoes, eggplants, beans, squash and peppers should be planted closer to the roads since they show lower concentrations of the metals. However, at least 10 meters should separate any garden from the street. Barrier crops such as a hedge planted at the side of the garden facing the road can effectively reduce the deposit of lead and other metals on garden produce and on the soil itself.

The problem of lead pollution in urban gardens can be addressed by the following measures:

Apply high quantities of organic matter to the soil.
Cultivate root and fruiting vegetables.
If you grow leafy vegetables, plant them away from the source of lead emissions.
Wash vegetables with diluted soap or vinegar.
Keep very young children away from lead-polluted gardens.

Reference:

Bassuk, N. L. 1983. Lead in Urban (frown Vegetables. Cornell University.

Some common garden pests

1. APHIDS

Sucking insects attacking the leaves and stems. When attacked, the leaves and stems of the plants begin to look pale and spindly. Aphids can change color to match plant parts and metamorphose from nymphs to adult, both with and without wings. When the aphids in one plant get overcrowded, they develop wings and fly to another plant host of the same plant family. Aphids mature in 12 days.


APHIDS

2. BORERS

Boring insects attacking the flowers, pods, stems and roots. Borers hatch, eat and grow inside plant part as caterpillars. The presence of borers is indicated by the sudden wilting of plant tops.


Borers

3. BUGS

Sucking insects that attach to plant parts and drain plant juices. In case of mealybug, eggs are laid in white, cottony masses. Young are crawlers like scale insects. Bugs excrete large amounts of honeydew that attract ants and encourage black mold fungus.


Bugs

4. BEETLES

Chewing insects which feed on leaves, flowers, stems and even roots. They feed on most vegetables. Severe infestation can defoliate plant.


Beetles

5. CATERPILLARS/WORMS

Chewing insects usually developing from patches of eggs on the underside of leaves. The larval stage of moths and butterflies, caterpillars feed on foliage and tender stems.


Caterpillars/worms

6. FLIES

Some are tiny sucking insects that hatch and live mostly on underside of leaves. In case of whiteflies, stationary scale-like nymphs do most of damage, sucking juices and excreting honeydew, thereby attracting ants and encouraging fungus growth.


Flies

7. HOPPERS/KATYDID

Feed on foliage of many plants. Grasshoppers are most often found in late summer when fields next to gardens become dry. In severe infestations, large plants may be defoliated. The tender bark may be stripped from trees and shrubs.


Hoppers/katydid

8. SCALE INSECTS

Small insects, covered by protective shells, that attach themselves to stems and undersurfaces of leaves and suck out plant juice. Generally, they are able to move about in younger stages, but become stationary or nearly so in adulthood.


Scale insects

9. SLUGS AND SNAILS

Slimy trails and tattered foliage indicate snail and slug invasion. In daytime, they can be found under rocks, leaves, densely foliaged plants, boards or any object that rests on the ground. At night, they can be found busily feeding on plant parts.


Slugs and snails

10. ROOT-KNOT NEMATODES

Microscopic worms that either stick their heads on a plant to suck the sap or actually spend their lives inside the plant. They attack roots of various plants and form galls or root knots. Infested plants wilt or die due to the inability of the damaged root systems to supply enough water to their tops.


Root-knot nematodes

Name of Pest

Target Vegetables

Suana concolor (Tussock moth caterpillar)

ladyfinger

Hippotion celerio (Sphinx moth)

peanuts, taro

Lamprosema indicata (Bean leaf roller)

beans, peanut

Stornopteryx subsecivella (Leafminer)

peanut

Eumeta fuscescens (Pepper bagworm)

solanaceous crops

Lymantria lunata (Tussock moth caterpillar)

solanaceous crops

Acherontia lachesis (Hornworm)

sweet potato

Euchnomia horsfieldi (Tussock moth caterpillar)

sweet potato

Aciptilia viveodactyla (Sweet potato plume moth)

sweet potato

Rhyncolaba acteus (Green sphinx moth)

taro

Agrius convolvuli (Sweet potato hornworm)

sweet potato, taro

Flies

Ophiomyia phaseoli

beans

(Bean fly)


Bemisia tabaci

cassava, garlic and onion,

(White fly)

sweet potato

Pieris canidia

crucurbits

(Cabbage butterfly)


Dacus cucurbitae

cucurbits

(Fruit flies)


Hopper/Katydid


Phaneroptera furcifera

corn, cucurbits, peanut, sweet potato

(Long-horned grasshopper)


Mecopoda elongata

cucurbits

(Katydid)


Empoasca biguttula

peanut, solanaceous crops

(Cotton leafhopper)


Atractomorpha psittacina

peanut, sweet potato

(Slant-fac grasshopper)


Empoasca fabae

potato

(Potato leafhopper)


Leptocentrus manilensis

solanaceous crops

(Tree hopper)


Locusta migratoria manilensis

sweet potato

(Oriental migratory locust)


Mites

Tetranychus telarius

cassava, potato, winged

(Spider mite)

bean

Tetranychus truncalus

cucurbits, sweet

potato


(Common mite)


Aceria tulipae

garlic and onion

Dolichotetranychus

pineapple

floridanus


(Tenuipalpid mite)


SCALE INSECTS

Chrysomphalus ficus

cassava

(Florida red scale)


Saissaetia nigra

cassava, ladyfinger

(Soft scale)


Saissaetia coffeae

cucurbits

(Hemispherical scale)


Aspidiella hartii

ginger, yam

(Ubi scale)


Aspidiella zingiberi

ginger

(Luya scale)


Aspidiotus destructor

ladyfinger, pineapple, taro,

(Coconut scale)

yam

Pinnaspis aspidistrae

ladyfinger, pineapple

(Fern scale)


Lepidosaphes rubrovittatus

ladyfinger

(Tampoi scale)


Abnidiella aurantii

pineapple

(California red scale)


Other Insect Pests


Macrotermus gilvus

cassava

(Mound building termite)


Thrips tabaci

cucurbits, garlic and onion,

(Tobacco thrips)

potato

Leucopholis irrorata

pineapple, corn

(Root grubs)


Anomala sp.

corn, sweet potato

(Root grubs)


Gryllus bimaculatus

corn

(Black cricket)


Gryllotalpa africana

potato

(Male cricket)


Dysdercus cingulatus

ladyfinger

(Cotton stainer)


Catochrysops cnejus

peanuts

(Bean Iycaenid)


Cylas formicarius

sweet potato

(Sweet potato weevil)


Tagiades japetus titus

taro

(Gabi skipper)


Aphids

Myzus persicae

celery, crucifers, cucurbits,

(Green peach aphid)

potato

Aphis gossypii

cucurbits, sweet potato,

(Melon aphid)

taro

Aphis craccivora

beans, cucurbits, peanuts

(Bean aphid)


Toxoptera auratii

cucurbits, citrus

(Citrus aphid)


Borers

Maruca festulalis

beans

(Bean pyralid)


Estiella zinckenella

beans

(Bean pod borer)


Apomecyna historion

cucurbits

(Vine borer)


Manilaboris cucurbitae

cucurbits

(Cucurbit boring boric)


Mimegralla coeruleifrons

ginger

(Ginger root borer)


Zeuzera coffeae

ladyfinger, coffee

(Coffee carpenter moth)


Phthorimaea operculella

potato

(Potato tuber moth)


Bugs

Ferrisia virgata

cassava, sweet potato

(Gray mealybug)


Phenacoccus hirsutus

cassava

(Hibiscus mealybug)


Dysmicoccus brevipes

pineapple, corn, taro

(Pineapple mealybug)


Physomerus grossipes

cucurbits, sweet potato

(Sweet potato bug)


Cyclopelta obscura

cucurbits

(Dapdap bug)


Nezara viridula

cucurbits

(Green soldier bug)


Acanthocoris scabrator

solanaceous crops, sweet

(Coreid bug)

potato

Malcus flavidipes

sweet potato

(Lygaeid bug)


Planococcus lilacinus

ladyfinger taro

(Cottony cushion mealybug)


Beetles

Leucopholis irrorala

corn, peanut

(June beetles)


Monolepta bifasciata

corn, ladyfinger, taro, yam

(Corn silk beetle)


Sylepta derogata

ladyfinger

(Leaf-eating caterpillar)


Hyposidra talaca

ladyfinger

(Measuring caterpillar)


Epilachna philippinensis

tomato cucurbits

(Tomato lady beetle)


Aulacophora cottigarencis

cucurbits

(Squash beetle)


Lasioderma serricorne

garlic and onion

(Cigarette beetle)


Nisotra gemella

ladyfinger

(Flea beetle)


Phytorus spp.

sweet potato

(Chrysomelid beetles)


Asphidomorpha fusconotata

sweet potato

(Tortoise shell beetle)


Caterpillars/worms

Homona coffearia

beans, garlic and onion,

(Leaf folder)

jute, peanut

Spodoptera litura

celery crucifers, garlic and

(Common cutworms)

onion peanut, potato, sweet


potato, taro

Pseudalatia separata

corn, cucurbits, sweet

(True armywomms)

potato

Agrotis ipsilon

corn, cucurbitus garlic and

(potted cutworm)

onion, potato

Helicoverpa armigera

corn, crucifers, cucurbitus,

(Corn earwomm)

garlic and onion, peanuts,


solanaceous crops

Chrysodeixis chalcites

corn, jute peanut

(Corn semi-looper)


Crocidolonia binotalis

crucifers, cucurbits

(Cabbage worm)


Plutella xylostella

crucifers

(diamond-back moth)


Pieris canidia

crucifers

(Cabbage butterfly)


Anadenida peporis

cucurbits

(Squash semi-looper)


Diaphania indica

cucurbits

(Leaf folder)


Dasychira mendosa

cucurbits, peanut

(Tiger moth caterpillar)


Sitotroga cerealella

garlic and onion

(Angoumois grain moth)


Ephestia elutella

garlic and onion

(Cacao moth or Tobacco


moth)


Anomis sabulifera

jute, ladyfinger

(Cutworm)


Xanthodes transversa

ladyfinger

(Cutworm)


Oxya chinensis

sweet potato

(Short-homed grasshopper)


Terophagus proserpina

taro

(gabi planthopper)


(introduction...)

This is an approach that utilizes different techniques other than the use of chemical pesticides to control pests. It involves natural pest population-control methods, including cultural and biological controls the use of botanical pesticides as needed.

Cultural method of pest control

These methods are aimed either at reducing the sources of inoculum or at reducing the exposure of plants to infection. Its primary objective is the prevention of pest damage and not the destruction of an existing and damaging pest population.

1. Good soil preparation

This is the first important element in pest control strategy. A healthy soil means healthy plants which are relatively more resistant to pests. A soil rich in humus hosts a wide variety of beneficial microflora that trap nematodes and destroy or keep in dormancy disease organisms, thereby encouraging beneficial insects.


Good soil preparation

2. Use of indigenous varieties

Traditional varieties are hardier and relatively more resistant to pests. They can withstand harsh environmental conditions better than modem hybrids.


Use of indigenous varieties

3. Pest control through the use of mesh screen (nylon nets)

Younger plants are usually preferred by insects and they suffer significantly from such attacks when compared to older plants. Therefore, a single netting over the plants during the first 3045 days of their growth can reduce pest damage. Also, the net helps diffuse sunlight thereby improving the quality of some vegetables. Finally, the net breaks the impact of raindrops thus (i) reducing physical damage to the plant and (ii) reducing soil erosion from the beds.


Pest control through the use of mesh screen

4. Roguing or Pruning

Removal of diseased plants or plant parts prevents the spread of microorganisms to uninfected areas.


Roguing or Pruning

5. Intercropping with aromatic herbs

Several types of odorous plants can be grown together with the main crop to repel insects. The following are some examples:

Allium cepa (onion)

Hyptis suaveolens (bush-tea bush)

Allium odorum (leek)

Mentha cordifolia (mint)

Allium sativum (garlic)

Ocimum basilicum (sweet basil)

Artemisia vulgaris (mugwort, worm wood)

Ocimum sanctum (sacred basil)

Coleus amboinicus (oregano)

Tagetes spp. (marigold)

6. Encouraging insect predators

Pests can be controlled by their natural enemies. By growing a variety of flowering plants, specifically those belonging to Umbelliferae family, such as, fennel (Foeniculurn vulgare) and celery (Apium graveolens), insect predators will be attracted to stay in the garden. These beneficial insects feed on pests, keeping the pest population below economic injury level.


Encouraging insect predators

7. Multiple cropping

This provides genetic diversity to minimize pest increase. Variation in susceptibility among species or varieties to a particular disease is great. Given abundant hosts of a single species or variety, a pest could easily be spread from host to host. When the number of hosts declines, the pest incidence will also decrease for lack of necessary food for the organism.


Multiple cropping

8. Crop rotation

This is a practice of following a crop susceptible to a pest by a resistant crop. There is no build-up of the organism to a high level since the growth cycle of the organism has been broken.


Crop rotation

Biological pest control

Biological pest control is the suppression of pest populations by living organisms such as predators, parasites and pathogens. These agents are responsible for keeping pests under control most of the time.

Predators are usually other insects and spiders. Both, but particularly spiders, feed on a wide range of insects. Adults and immatures are often predatory.

Praying mantis, Dragonfly, Damselfly, Assassin bugs
Feed on all types of insects.


Praying mantis

Lacewings, White-banded clerid Robber files Feed on aphids and soft-bodied insects.


Lacewings

Ground beetles, Whirligig beetles, Rave beetles, Tiger beetles, Green carabid beetles
Feed on other insects.


Ground beetles

Ladybird beetles feed on scales and aphids only. They eat 40-50 insects per day. Their larva eat even more.


Ladybird beetles

Toads, snakes and spiders eat insects and other garden pests. Toads eat as many as 10,000 insects and other pests in three months, including cutworms, slugs, crickets, ants, caterpillars and squash bugs.


Toads, snakes and spiders

Birds

Some birds are omnivorous. Some examples from the temperate zone provide a good illustration of what birds eat. A house wren feeds 500 spiders and caterpillars to her young in one afternoon; a brown trasher consumes 6,000 insects a day; a chickadee eats 138,000 canker worm eggs in 25 days; and, a pair of flickers eats 5,000 ants as snack.


Birds

Parasitic insects are usually small flies or wasps which attack one or a few closely related pest species. They are parasitic in their larval stages but free-living as adults.

Tachinid flies, Braconid wasps

Complete their life cycle on insect pests. They usually attack the egg of the host pest or the caterpillar by laying an egg into its body. The wasp larva hatches inside the caterpillar body and feeds on it.


Tachinid flies, Braconid wasps

Trichogramma spp.

Attacks eggs of butterflies and moth. This wasp produces very few side effects on beneficial insects.


Trichogramma spp.

Epidinocarsis lopezi

Feeds and reproduces on mealybugs of cassava. It has the ability to establish itself in cassava fields.


Epidinocarsis lopezi

Encouraging predators

In nature, pests are usually controlled by the presence of insect predators and parasites which keep the populations of the harmful insects in control Most of the insects in nature are either beneficial or at least harmless. There are many ways to encourage insect predators in one's garden.

1. Create a Suitable Habitat for Insect Predators - Flowering shrubs and trees throughout the garden will attract many beneficial insects, including parasitic wasps which require pollen and nectar for their growth and maturity. Plants belonging to Umbelliferae family are particularly effective in attracting natural enemies of pests.

2. Provide Alternate Hosts for Pests - To ensure availability of food for the beneficial organisms, grow alternate host plants along fence lines and in between cultivated crops. The natural enemy populations on these alternate host plants will control pests attacking the cultivated crop.


Encouraging predators

3. Create Nesting Sites for Frogs, Reptiles and Birds - Logs of dead trees, irregularly shaped rocks with crevices and cavities and plenty of mulch can be a good nesting sites for snakes, lizards, frogs, rove beetles and carabid beetles, which feed on insects.

4. Increase Humidity by Providing Water Holes - Humidity is much needed for the survival of natural enemies. It serves as a source of drinking water for reptiles, birds and frogs. Many predatory insects live in, on and near water. Well-vegetated small dams, little water pools and swales scattered throughout the garden will create conditions for the build-up of natural enemies.

5. Practice Mixed Cultivation - Growing mixed crops and harvesting them in strips help maintain natural enemies and confuses pests. For fungal pathogens, the practice of mixed cropping is desirable as the root exudates of another crop can be toxic to the pathogen. Mixed cropping also encourages soil microbes which, in turn, act as barriers to the fungal pathogen.

6. Reduce Dust Build up in Crop Plants - Dust inhibits the functioning of natural enemies. Growing well-designed windbreaks and ground cover crops like centrosema and lablab bean will reduce dust. Use of overhead sprinklers will also help periodically in washing off the dust.

7. Avoid Spraying Chemical Pesticides - Chemical pesticides eliminate beneficial insects. If pest infestation reaches economic threshold levels and spraying cannot be avoided, use selective chemicals, such as:

a soil incorporated granular systemic insecticides for sucking insects;
b. stomach poisons; avoid broad-spectrum contact poisons; and,
c. insecticides with short-term residual action rather than persistent action.


Improved application method should be developed and minimum doses should be applied.

Botanical pest control

Fungicidal Plants¹

Plant Name²

Part(s) Used

Mode of preparation and application³

Target Pest(s)

Diseases Controlled

Allium sativum

cloves

Chop finely, soak in 2 teaspoons of oil for one day,

Altenaria

fruit rot, early blight, purple blotch, leaf spot

(Garlic)


then mix with half a liter of soapy water and filter.

Cercospora

leaf mold, leaf spot, early blight, frog-eye



Mix 1 part solution with 20 parts water, then spray.

Colletotrichum

leaf spot, anthracnose, fruit rot, smudge




Curvularia

leaf spot, leaf blight




Diplodia

fruit and stem rot




Fusarium

damping-off, stem and root rot, early blight,




Helminthosporium

wilt, curly top




Pestalotia

leaf blight





leaf spot

Cassia alata

leaves

Extract juice and spray at a rate of 1 cup juice/liter water.

Altenaria

fruit rot, early blight, purple blotch, leaf spot

(Acapulco)



Cercospora

leaf mold, leaf spot, early blight, frog-eye




Colletotrichum

leaf spot, anthracnose, fruit rot, smudge




Diplodia

fruit and stem rot




Fusarium

damping-off, stem and root rot, early blight,




Helminthosporium

wilt, curly top




Pestalotia

leaf blight leaf spot

Amaranthus gracilis

leaves

Extract juice of 1 kg leaves, then mix juice with 3

Altenaria

fruit rot, early blight, purple blotch, leaf spot

(Amaranth)


liters of water, and spray.

Cercospora

leaf mold, leaf spot, early blight, frog-eye




Colletotrichum

leaf spot, anthracnose, fruit rot, smudge




Curvularia

leaf spot, leaf blight




Helminthosporium

leaf blight




Pestalotia

leaf spot

Leucaena leucocephala leaves

Pound, soak in small amount of water, and use

Altenaria

fruit rot, early blight, purple blotch, leaf spot


(Ipil-ipil)


infusion as spray.

Cercospora

leaf mold, leaf spot, early blight, frog-eye




Colletotrichum

leaf spot, anthracnose, fruit rot, smudge




Curvularia

leaf spot, leaf blight




Helminthosporium

leaf blight




Pestalotia

leaf spot

Allium cepa

bulb

Chop finely, soak in two teaspoons of oil for 1 day,

Cercospora

leaf mold, leaf spot, early blight, frog-eye

(Red onion)


then mix with half a liter of soapy water and filter.

Colletotrichum

leaf spot, anthracnose, fruit rot, smudge



Mix 1 part solution with 20 parts water, then spray.

Curvularia

leaf spot, leaf blight




Fusarium

damping-off, stem and root rot, early blight,




Helminthosporium

wilt, curly top




Pestalotia

leaf blight





leaf spot

Moringa oleifera

leaves

Extract juice of 1 kg leaves, then mix juice with 3

Altenaria

fruit rot, early blight, purple blotch, leaf spot

(Drumstick/Horseradish)

liters of water, and use as spray.

Colletotrichum

leaf spot, anthracnose, fruit rot, smudge





Diplodia

fruit and stem rot




Pestalotia

leaf spot

Impatiens balsamina

leaves

Extract juice of 1 kg leaves, then mix juice with 3

Altenaria

fruit rot, early blight, purple blotch, leaf spot

(Kamantigi)


liters of water, and use as spray.

Cercospora

leaf mold, leaf spot, early blight, frog-eye




Helminthosporium

leaf blight

Centella asiatica leaves

Extract juice of 1 kg leaves, then mix juice with 3

Fusarium

damping-off, stem and root rot, early blight,


(Takip-kuhol)


liters of water, and use as spray.

Helminthosporium

wilt, curly top





leaf blight

Jatropha multifida

leaves

Extract juice of 1 kg leaves, then mix juice with 3

Diplodia

fruit and stem rot

(Mana)


liters of water, and use as spray.

Fusarium

damping-off, stem and root rot, early blight,





wilt, curly top

Gendarussa vulgaris

leaves

Extract juice of 1 kg leaves, then mix juice with 3

Altenaria

fruit rot, early blight, purple blotch, leaf spot

(Bunlao)


liters of water, and use as spray.

Colletorrichum

leaf spot, anthracnose, fruit rot, smudge






Carica papaya

leaves

Pound, soak in water, and use infusion as spray.

Cercospora

leaf mold, leaf spot, early blight, frog-eye

(Papaya)



Diplodia

fruit and stem rot

Mimosa pudica

whole plant Pound, soak in water and use infusion as spray.

Diplodia

fruit and stem rot


Sensitive plant



Pestalotia

leaf spot

Artemisia vulgaris

leaves

Extract juice and use as spray at the rate of 2-5

Altenaria

fruit rot, early blight, purple blotch, leaf spot

(Damong Maria)


tablespoons juice/liter of water.



Zingiber officinale

rhizome

Extract juice and use as spray.

Cercospora

leaf mold, leaf spot, early blight, frog-eye

(Ginger)





Gliricidia septum

leaves

Extract juice of l kg leaves, then mix juice with 3

Cercospora

leaf mold, leaf spot, early blight, frog-eye

(Kakawate)


liters of water, and use as spray.



Coleus scutellarioides

leaves

Extract juice of 1 kg leaves, then mix juice with 3

Cercospora

leaf mold, leaf spot, early blight, frog-eye

(Mayana)


liters of water, and use as spray.



Vitex negundo

leaves

Extract juice of 1 kg leaves, then mix juice with 3

Cercospora

leaf mold, leaf spot, early blight, frog-eye

(Lagundi)


liters of water, and use as spray.



Blumea balsamifera

leaves

Extract juice and spray at a proportion of 1 part juice

Cercospora

leaf mold, leaf spot, early blight, frog-eye

(Sambong)


and 1 part water



1 Plant species showing; activity against different fungal pathogens at two days incubation after seeding, based on zone of inhibition. (Data from Quebral, 1981)





2 Plant names in italics are scientific names; those in parenthesis are common/local names.





3 Based on indigenous practice of farmers.





Insecticidal, Plants

Name of Plant²

Part(s)

Mode of Preparation and Application³

Pest(s)4

Source 5


Used









Aegeratum conizoides

leaves


diamond backmoth Alcantara, 1981


(goat weed)



cotton stainer







Artemisia vulgaris

leaves

Pound, extract juice and spray at a rate of 24

corn borer

Calumpang, 1983

(damong maria)


tablespoons/16 liters water








Lantana camara flowers

Pound and spread around stored grains

corn weevil

Fuentebella & Morallo


(lantana)




Rejesus, 1980






Derris philippinensis

roots

Extract juice and spray at a rate of 5 cups juice/5 gallons of water; or Powder,

diamond backmoth

Maghanoy & Morallo

(tubli)


mix with detergent and spray at a rate of 120 grams powder + 250-300 grams


Rejesus, 1975



detergent/4 gallons of water








Tithonia diversifolia

leaves

Pound, extract juice and use as spray at a rate of 1-2 kg fruits/liter of water

cotton stainer

Cariamp; Morallo

(wild sunflower)



black army worm

Rejesus, 1982




diamond backmoth


Tagetes erecta

roots

Extract juice and spray at a rate of 24 tablespoons juice/liter of water

rice green leafhopper

Morallo-Rejesus &

(marigold)



brown planthopper

Eroles, 1978




diamond backmoth

Morallo-Rejesus &




black bean aphid

Decena, 1982






Tagetes patula

roots

Pound, extract juice of 1 kg roots and mix with 1 liter water, then spray the

green aphid

Morallo-Rejesus &

(French marigold)


solution directly into the soil

less grain borer

Silva, 1979






Tinospora rumphii

vines

Extract juice and spray at a rate of 15-20 tablespoons juice/5 gallons water

diamond backmoth

del Fierro & Morallo

(makabuhay)



rice green leafhopper

Rejesus, 1976





Morallo-Rejesus &





Silva, 1979






Piper nigrum

fruits

Pulverize seeds, mix with water and spray; powder and spread around stored

cotton stainer

stainer & Morallo

(black pepper)


grains

diamond backmoth

Rejesus, 1982




common cutworms

Ponce de Leon, 1983




corn weevil







Capsicum frutescens

fruits

Pound, extract juice and spray at a rate of 2-3 cups fruit/liter of water

rice moth

Ponce de Leon, 1983

(hot pepper)










Annona squamosa

seeds

Powder and disperse in water, then strain and use as spray

rice pests

Saxena & co-workers

(custard apple)




(IRRI), 1984






Azadirachta indica

seeds

Remove husks of 2-3 handfuls of mature seeds. Winnow or put in water to float

rice pests

Saxena & co-workers

(neem)


away the husks. Grind seeds into fine particles. Soak ground seeds in 3-5 liters

diamond backmoth

(IRRI), 1984



water for at least 12 hours. Filter the solution, then use as spray.



1 Found effective, based or crude assay but further studies are needed to determine safety and residual action.

2 Names in italic are scientific names; names in parenthesis are common/local names.

3 Based on indigenous practice of farmers.

4 Mortality is 30% or more with crude extracts.

5 Researchers who conducted laboratory teas on particular plant.

References:

Alcantara, J. A. 1981. Insecticidal activity, screening and identification of two major crystalline fractions in Aegeratum conyzoides L. MS Thesis, University of the Philippines at Los Ba College, Laguna. 56 pp.

Calumpang, S. F. 1983. Insecticidal activity, screening and identification of the major crystalline fractions of Artemesia vulgaris (Compositae). MS Thesis, University of the Philippines at Los Ba College, Laguna. 109 pp.

CariF. A. and B. Morallo-Rejesus. 1982. Isolation and characterization of the insecticidal fraction from Tithonia diversifolia (A. Gray) leaves. Ann. Trop. Agric. 4:1-11.

Del Fierro, R. and B. Morallo-Rejesus. 1976. Preliminary study on the insecticidal activity of makabuhay, Tinospora rumphii Boer. Youth Res. Apprenticeship Action Prog. Rep. Society for the Advancement of Research. 9 pp. Unpublished.

Fuentebella, F. and B. Morallo-Rejesus. 1980. The insecticidal activity of fancy buttons (Lantana camara L.) flower extracts to several insect species. Youth Res. Apprenticeship Action Prog. Rep., Society for the Advancement of Research. 19 pp. Unpublished:

Javier, P. A. and B. Morallo-Rejesus. 1982. Isolation and bioassay of insecticidal principles from black pepper (Piper nigrum L.) against three stored grain insects. In Progress In Grain Protection. Proc. 5th Ann. Workshop on Grain Post-Harvest Protection. SEA Coop. Post-Harvest Res. and Dev. pp. 49-59.

Maghanoy, O. and B. Morallo-Rejesus. 1975. Insecticidal activity of extracts from Derris philippinensis. Youth Res. Apprenticeship Action Rep. Society for the Advancement of Research. 6 pp.

Morallo-Rejesus B. and L. Eroles. 1978. Two insecticidal principles from marigold (Tagetes spp.) roots. Philipp. Ent. 4: (1 & 2) 87-98.

Morallo-Rejesus Bland D. Silva. 1979. Insecticidal activity of selected plants with emphasis on marigold (Tagetes spp.) and makabuhay (Tinospora rumphii). NRCP Ann. Rept. 19 April 1978-March 1979. Mimeo 25 pp. Unpublished Rep.

Morallo-Rejesus B. and A. Decena. 1982. The activity, isolation, purification and identification of the insecticidal principles from Tagetes. Phil. J. Crop Sci. 7:31-36.

Ponce de Leon, E. L. 1983. Further investigation of the insecticidal activity of black pepper (Piper nigrum L.) and red pepper (Capsicum anuum) on major storage pests of corn and legumes. MS Thesis, University of the Philippines at Los Ba College, Laguna. 44 pp.

Quebral, F. C. 1981. Assay on the fungicidal properties of some medicinal plants. Nat. Crop Prot. Center Ann. Rep. 1981. p. 21-25.

Saxena, R. C. 1984. Evaluation of neem seed derivatives against insect pests of rice. Paper read at the "Research Planning Workshop on Indigenous Plant Materials for Pest Control". International Rice Research Institute, Los Ba Laguna. August 6-10 1984.

Conserving and safeguarding quality and freshness of garden produce

After harvest, the quality of fruits and vegetables cannot be improved but can only be maintained for a certain period of time. Therefore, proper care should start with harvesting.

Time of Harvesting

Fruit-bearing vegetables should be harvested as soon as the dew dries in the morning. Leafy vegetables, on the other hand, should be harvested during mid-morning, when leaves are flaccid.

Harvesting Practices

1. Use of picking pole (hook) for fruits - A bag or net should be provided to catch the fruit. This will prevent fruits from falling to the ground, protecting them from bruises.


Use of picking pole (hook) for fruits

2. Uprooting the entire plant - Vegetables like pechay and mustard are commonly harvested by uprooting the entire plant. This makes the vegetables dirty because of the soil that clings to moss. A sharp round-tipped knife should be used to cut the stem instead of uprooting. Open ends should be brushed out with chlorine to prevent entry of microorganisms which induce rotting.


Uprooting the entire plant

3. Digging tubers with spading fork - A marker or a label 30-cm from the center of the row should be put as guide so it will be easier for the harvester to determine where to dig. For ground creepers, vines should be lifted regularly during the growth period so that tuberous roots will be formed in rows.


Digging tubers with spading fork

Sorting and Trimming

1. Separate vegetables and fruits of different maturities. Ripe fruits placed with unripe ones will induce the latter to ripen faster, shortening their storage life. Baskets with dividers can be used to separate fruits of different maturities.


Separate vegetables and fruits of different maturities

2. Grade the harvested produce according to size/quality. Poor quality produce lowers the quality and price of the higher grade products. A separate package should be used for each grade.

3. Do not mix damaged produce with the sound ones. Damaged or injured portions of fruits and vegetables can hasten ripening of the products. Rotten commodities likewise cause the rotting of sound and clean ones. Produce damaged by insects, diseases and mechanical injuries should be put into separate containers. Those that are severely damaged should be composted.


Do not mix damaged produce with the sound ones

4. Cut fruit as close as possible to the stem-end with the use of clippers. Leaving a long peduncle attached to the fruit pricks the skin of other fruits, making them less attractive and providing entrance for microorganisms.


Cut fruit as close as possible to the stem-end

5. When trimming, retain 3-4 wrapper leaves to cover the head (in the case of cabbage, Chinese cabbage, head lettuce). Overtrimming (exposing head) just before packaging leaves no protection for the head to withstand further handling and transporting.

Packaging

1. Use containers that are neither too big nor too small to accommodate the harvest. Using very large containers is not advisable because handlers tend to drop heavy containers, resulting in bruised fruits and vegetables.


Use containers that are neither too big nor too small to accommodate the harvest

2. Put liners inside basket containers. Baskets used as containers for harvested fruits and vegetables should always be lined with suitable materials like banana leaves or newspapers. This will prevent the produce from getting in contact with rough surfaces.


Put liners inside basket containers

Transporting

1. For bulk transport without container:

Provide horizontal platform dividers and liners for trailers, jeepneys, etc., (for watermelon, melon, citrus and cabbage).


Provide horizontal platform

Arrange fruits crown-to-crown and base-to-base, with a cushion of banana leaves, rice stalks, etc., (for pineapple and bananas).


Arrange fruits crown-to-crown and base-to-base

2. Pack the produce carefully. Pliable packaging material cannot adequately protect the commodity. A 20-25 kg capacity crate lined with newsprint can be used for tomatoes and onions.


Pack the produce carefully

3. Provide space between the produce and canvas cover using a 30-cm wooden plank. Too compact stacking and use of snugly fitting canvas cover should be avoided to provide proper ventilation.


Provide space between the produce and canvas

4. Use only one type and one size of containers. Group containers according to size and type for easier stacking to minimize losses. Use small (20 kg) containers for mango, tomato, mandarin and citrus and a medium (40 kg) container for papaya and cucurbits. Each basket should have a hard cover.


Use only one type and one size of containers

5. If the baskets need to be protected from the rain or sun, use a light-colored canvas/plastic cover that radiates heat.


Use a light-colored canvas/plastic cover

6. Avoid "throw and catch system" during loading and unloading. For loading and unloading, at least three persons should be on hand to form a brigade.


Avoid "throw and catch system"

Source: ASEAN-PHTRC. 1981. Village Level Handling of Fruits and Vegetables; Traditional Practices and Technological Innovations. ASEAN-PHTRC Extenstion Bull. No. 1

Non-refrigerated storage

Vegetables and fruits have a short shelf life and have to be handled immediately after harvest. Leaving them unattended in one place will induce sprouting and rotting. Before storage, the commodity should be washed with chlorinated water, rinsed and air-dried.

Ways of Prolonging Shelf-life of Fruits and Vegetables

1. Sprinkling with water

Sprinkling water twice a day on some vegetables like winged beans (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus) and fruits like rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum) minimizes weight loss.

A disadvantage is that the free moisture hastens the growth and multiplication of microorganisms. Make sure that there is time for moisture to dry before sprinkling again.


Sprinkling with water

2. Wrapping with fresh leaves

Leaves such as banana (Muss a sapientum) and gabi (Colocasia esculenta) are good wrappers to keep a small amount of fruits and vegetables fresh for a few more days. Winged beans wrapped in fresh leaves can last for one-and-a-half to two weeks. Unwrapped ones only last for three days.

Banana leaves have to be slightly wilted over a fire to prevent them from cracking while in use. Leaves have to be changed before shrivelling and losing their protective property. Gabi leaves easily rot, so these should be changed before rotting occurs.


Wrapping with fresh leaves

3. Drip Coolers

A wet cloth can serve as a short-term storage for fruits and vegetables. One method is to cover the commodity with wet a cloth. Another method is to place a basin of water on top of a table and let a piece of cloth drop from the basin to the floor enclosing all the sides of the table. Beneath the table is the produce placed on a piece of banana leaf, newspaper or burlap. The cloth acts as wick, draining water from basin to the produce and forming a "curtain" around the produce.


Drip Coolers

4. Storage in Moist Sawdust

Wash produce to be stored, preferably with chlorox to achieve longer storage life. Use 1 liter of water with 1 tablespoon of chlorox. Air-dry to remove excess water. Use this solution to moisten the sawdust.

Use clean and pure sawdust. If it has been used before, sterilize it by sun-drying. Remove splinters to prevent them from injuring the commodities.

Moisten a kilo of sawdust with 1 liter of water. This can store 1 kilogram of tomatoes (Lycopersicon lycopersicum) or eggplants (Solanum melongena).

Mix sawdust and water thoroughly. Put it in a container or on clean floor in a cool, ventilated area. Bury the vegetables in the moist sawdust on a layer-by-layer arrangement. The first layer consists of sawdust, then a layer of vegetables, a cover of sawdust and so on. Each layer of vegetables should be left covered with medium-thick, moist sawdust.

Eggplant stored in this medium are good for more than a week under ordinary conditions.

Other commodities like potatoes (Solanum tuberosum), tomatoes, sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) and mangoes (Mangifera indica) can be stored for short periods.

Storage in sawdust inhibits loss in weight as well as shrivelling. Sawdust, however, can be a source of infection if it comes in contact with any spoiled product.

Storage in sawdust is not applicable for leafy vegetables because it is difficult to remove sawdust particles from the leaves.


Storage in Moist Sawdust

5. Clamp storage

Storing produce in piled layers of straw is used by onion growers. This is known as clamp storage. Crops such as potatoes, sweet potato, cassava (Manihot esculenta) and other root crops are also stored in this manner, sometimes as a curing method. Curing is a wound-healing process to prevent entry of microorganisms.

Straw and grasses are common materials used. Layers of these materials are alternated with layers of produce until a convenient height is reached.

For onions (Alliurn cepa), a bamboo air duct (called breather) is provided to prolong storage life. This is made of longitudinally-cut bamboo slats tied together to form a tube with spaces between slats. It could also be a whole bamboo with nodes removed and hoses made along the sides at certain intervals. The breather is inserted vertically into the pile so that heat of respiration will escape. Protect the clamp against the rain, However, do not cover the clamp with plastic film, especially under full sunlight. to prevent rotting.


Clamp storage

6. Storage in Clay

Moistened clay jars are good places for storing some fruits and vegetables. The use of the clay jar is based on the fact that water evaporating from the area cools the immediate surroundings and increases the moisture in the air.

Vegetables like cabbages (Brassica oleracea var. capitata), eggplants, tomatoes, pole sitao (Vigna sesquipedalis) or winged bean can be stored in clay jars for a week. Clay jars can be moistened or kept cool in many ways:

a. One method is to pour water over the covered jar enough to wet it. This provides the water for evaporation. Repeat the process when the sides of jar dry.

b. Another method is to seat a jar in a pan containing a small amount of water to provide a continuous supply of moisture that will seep up the sides of the jar and evaporate. Because free water accumulates at the bottom of the jar, a platform, made of banana stalks, sticks or any material that can support the commodities, should be provided to avoid the stored commodities from getting wet.

c. Jars can also be buried halfway in moist sand or soil in a cool shady place to provide the necessary coolness. This method works well with mangoes and cabbages. Ants find the cool jars a nice place to live in, so watch out for their invasion.

d. For big jars, there is a difficulty of getting water to rise from the bottom up the sides. This can be remedied by putting sacks or cloth over the covered clay jar and placing an inverted bottle of water on top, so the water drips slowly through the cloth or sack.


Pour water over the covered jar enough to wet it


Seat a jar in a pan containing a small amount of water


Method works well with mangoes and cabbages


Putting sacks or cloth over the covered clay jar

Source: ASEAN-PHTRC. 1981. Village Level Handling of Fruits and Vegetables; Traditional Practices and Technological Innovations. ASEAN-PHTRC Extenstion Bull. No. 1

Sustaining gardens as nutrition

A food-secure household with adequate dietary intake and reduced disease is likely to be adequately nourished. Gardens can make a very significant contribution with regard to iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, vegetable protein, fiber and, to a lesser extent, calories. Especially with the very poor, it is important to use a low-external input form of agriculture because these products are likely to be consumed at home. Moreover, food grown in this manner is safer to eat because it is chemical-free. Outputs of 14 pounds/day of vegetables from a 50 sq m area are easily obtained.

Given limited natural sources of fertilizers or compost, it makes sense to allocate whatever small quantities of biomass or nutrients available to a limited area - such as that found in backyards thereby maximizing outputs. Vegetable prices today are higher than at any point in agricultural history and intake among the poor is affected. This is so partly because today, vegetable production is mostly restricted to specialized commercial ventures. The deteriorating condition (from degradation and desertification) of small and large farms is expected to further limit the availability of reasonably priced vegetables to the poor majority. The use of chemicals in vegetables is already at an all-time high. Given the ecological imbalances from pesticide overuse or unrestricted use, more rather than fewer chemicals are likely to be used by commercial growers. Family food gardens will have to be given serious attention by research and development agencies.

Here are some lessons derived from eight years of IIRR's involvement in home gardening initiatives.

1. A nutrition garden can achieve most of a family's nutrition goals in a sustainable manner if it aims at increasing the overall supply of nutrition-rich vegetables.

In a diversified garden, the family's total intake of vegetables is emphasized rather than its consumption of specific vegetables in specific quantities. The approach to planting certain amounts of specified vegetables, with the assumption that people will eat those vegetables in specified quantities is not realistic. People just aren't going to design their menus to suit recommendations based on a nutritional rationale. Let people choose what they want to but give them a wide selection of choices and urge them to grow a diversity of vegetables (8-12 at least). This way the whole family is likely to obtain the nutritional requirements at least for vitamins A and C, iron and fiber. Also, when diversity is emphasized, it is not necessary to deemphasize culturally popular vegetables such as eggplants or cucumbers that are supposedly low in nutritional value. By increasing the overall access to a diversity of vegetables, one can achieve the nutritional objectives in a more sustainable manner.

The calorie contributions of gardens are generally considered limited. But the increased consumption of vegetables from a garden does result in increased calorie intake because, in most developing countries, vegetables are eaten after they are cooked in oil. Increased vegetable consumption, therefore, results in increased oil intake and thus higher calorie consumption.

Moreover, several unconventional, neglected plant species are not typically included as a garden crop or are danger of vanishing: purple yam, potato yam, Colocasia, cassava, sweet potato, arrowroot, etc. Grain legumes (legumes eaten in dry form) such as sword beans, jackbeans, lima beans and hyacinth beans are all rich in carbohydrates. Finally, seeds of gourds such as pumpkin and watermelon, usually eaten as a snack, are rich calorie sources.

2. Relative changes in intra-family food production and consumption are important indicators to evaluate gardening successes.

If a family which did not previously have a garden now has one that in itself is a measure of success - irrespective of the technological standard of the garden. If previously only 3-4 vegetables were grown and now 8-10 kinds of vegetables are grown in a garden, that again, is also a measure of success. Even if a family sells vegetables, the garden is successful as long as the total family intake of vegetables has also increased.

3. Incorporate the best of the indigenous knowledge available in the area.

Almost every culture, with the possible exception of pastoralists and forest dwellers, has engaged in some form of gardening or backyard mixed-tree orchards, primarily to meet household needs of food, fodder and fuel. Local people have a rich resource of knowledge, which can readily be integrated into gardening programs. The vertical use of space is maximized in traditional backyards, such as those found in the Philippines and Indonesia. A great diversity of plants, usually exceeding 3 dozen, are raised in these complex backyard ecosystems. The local selections are usually hardy and shade-tolerant and have been handed down through the generations. Special skills and knowledge in the area of varietal selection, planting time or planting calendars, seed storage and crop combinations have been passed on for generations. Unfortunately, introduced garden interventions based on dramatical new technologies dependent on external material inputs, hybrid seeds and new methods of pest control, provide little role for indigenous garden technology concepts. This knowledge, thus, becomes dysfunctional. However, if incorporated into gardening activities, this knowledge could make such programs more sustainable.

4. Input provision should be limited to the initial supply of seeds (for purposes of increasing garden diversity) and on a case-by-case basis to the provision of community wells and community borrowing centers for tools.

The biggest investment is for training, information, education and communication (IEC) materials, monitoring and follow-up and not for material inputs. Only in the case of community gardens should wells or borrowing-centers for tools be considered. The adoption of the gardening technology must be based on its own inherent merits and not be influenced by the distribution of material inputs (fertilizers, pesticides and garden tools). Garden programs are often driven and sustained by the constant supply and promises of material inputs. Thus, one does not know what is really motivating the individual to adopt: the material inputs or an appreciation for nutrition gardening itself.

5. Seasonal employment and waye-earning opportunities often conflict with gardening activities, and this results in temporary neglect of gardens.

The time devoted to gardens is often affected by opportunities for earning wages. When the harvest period or the sugarcane milling season starts, the opportunities for earning wages usually are high. Even school children are often kept away from school in order to maximize such opportunities to earn hard and quick cash. Naturally, a garden program is neglected. Very little can be done other than ensure that at least a minimal level of garden maintenance is undertaken. Program administrators must recognize this factor and work around these situations.

6. The sale of garden produce can result in sustained interest by the gardener in the introduced technology/intervention.

This is true if the diversity concept (10-12 kinds of vegetables) is maintained and the sale of vegetables usually does not exceed 30% of the total garden output. If the sale is local and is made to people in the same socioeconomic bracket, the sale of vegetables cannot be considered as going against the nutrition objectives. In fact, where small amounts of money are earned on a regular basis from gardens, such activities are likely to be sustained longer.

7. Introducing the concept of the community garden promoter or indigenous specialist can lead to increased sustainability.

Some of the more successful garden programs have been associated with an increased role for participating gardeners themselves, in the further promotion and monitoring of the garden program. In the initial 12-18 months, the outside technician plays a major role, especially in introducing the technological options and related training and retraining. Subsequently, the program increasingly relies on selected individuals from among practicing gardeners to assist in subsequent training as resource persons, to monitor and to provide on-site assistance. These indigenous specialists individuals can be termed as "community garden promoters".

Usually after having served voluntarily for at least a year in garden promotion, they may receive some form of remuneration for the days they spend in training or conducting follow-up visits. This remuneration is justified as a means of allowing them to hire a replacement for the farm or as compensation for lost wage-labor earning opportunities. Another approach is to provide them with an income-generating project to compensate them for the time contributed to community service. Volunteerism from poor people is realistic only if the time required from them is minimal, e.g., assistance during an immunization campaign or for once-weekly assistance in cooking a meal at the daycare center. However, in agriculture and gardening, a substantial amount of time needs to be devoted by the indigenous specialist.

8. Community gardens in urban centers and in centralized/consolidated villages offer the best opportunity for systematic exploitation of the potential for garden interventions.

Many backyards are already fairly well planted exploited with trees and usually are too shady for annual vegetables. Gardens do not yield outputs commensurate with the effort invested under such circumstances. Vacant lands, such as public lands or that donated by a philanthropist, can be used for such gardens. Community gardens are contiguous blocks of lands allocated to a group (mothers, families, urban poor, farm workers), who are then given subdivided portions of the land, say 100 200 sq m, to manage on an individual or single-family basis. The sponsoring group might then be able to assist-by providing training, fencing, water supply and maybe a community tool-loan facility - but preferably nothing more.

It must be noted that this differs from the communal gardening approach, where no land area delineation is made for each family, i. e., everyone works communally in the entire area The sustainability of commune gardens has been poor unless it is associated with "giveaways". In such situations people just continue to stay together, giving the semblance that the concept of communal gardening is valid and working until the give-aways are withdrawn.

9. Gardens - and not the numbers of training conducted - are measures of success.

All too often, the numbers of trainings conducted or the number of training materials produced and distributed are used as the measure of accomplishment. These are only measures of accomplishment of an intermediary objective. The only real measure of initial success is the number of trainees who have started gardening or have improved their previous efforts. The measure of final success is that of gardens being sustained without any outside material input assistance. The preoccupation with targets and conduct of training and echo-training and a corresponding neglect of field-level follow-up of trained gardeners is fairly serious in garden programs. Visitors are usually taken to a few well-maintained and extraordinary efforts, especially those by the roadside and within reach of donors and agency officials. There is a need to establish very clearly that the conduct of training itself is not indicative of the job having been accomplished.

10. The key to successful wide-scale adoption is being flexible on the technology and permitting gardeners to adapt further and modify the introduced technologies.

In initial training, a range of technological options are provided and gardeners are encouraged to adopt and adapt those ideas that make sense to them. They mix and match ideas based on their own rationale and after considering their own resource base (of time, available materials, family labor, etc.). The result of such an approach is a great diversity of garden designs. It does not make sense for project holders to be fixated on the technology itself. What is important is that the people involved in the garden program raise more vegetables than they used to in the past.

Vegetables for family nutrition

Household gardens should include vegetables that are rich in protein, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins.

Carbohydrate/Energy Sources
Cajanus cajan (pigeon pea), pods
Colocasia esculenta (taro), tuber
Dolichos lablab (hyacinth bean), dried beans
Ipomoea batatas (sweet potato), tuber
Manihot esculenta (cassava), tuber
Pachyrrhizus erosus (yam bean), tuber
Phaseolus aureus (mungbean), pods
Phaseolus calcaratus (rice bean), pods
Phaseolus lunatus (lima bean), pods

Vitamin A Sources
Amaranthus gracilis (amaranth), leaves Basella alba (alugbati), leaves
Capsicum annuum (green pepper), leaves
Capsicum frutescens (hot pepper), leaves
Colocasia esculenta (taro), leaves
Corchorus olitorius (jute), leaves
Cucurbita maxima (squash), tops
Daucus carota (carrot), tuber
Hibiscus sabdariffa (roselle), leaves
Ipomoea aquatica (swamp cabbage), leaves
Ipomaea batatas (sweet potato), leaves
Momordica charantia (bittergourd), leaves
Moringa oleifera (horseradish), leaves
Portulaca oleracea (purslane), leaves
Psophocarpus tetragonolobus (winged bean), leaves and flowers
Talinum triangulare (Philippine spinach), leaves

High Vitamin C Sources
Amaranthus gracilis (amaranth), leaves
Basella alba (alugbati), leaves
Brassica chinensis (petchay), leaves
Brassica juncea (mustard), leaves
Colocasia esculenta (taro), leaves
Ipomoea aquatica (swamp cabbage), leaves
Momordica charantia (bittergourd), fruits and leaves
Moringa oleifera (horseradish), leaves
Psophocarpus tetragonolobus (winged bean), leaves and flowers
Talinum triangulare (Philippine spinach), leaves

High Protein Sources
Cajanus cajan (pigeon pea), pods
Canavalia ensiformis (jack bean), pods
Dolichos lablab (hyacinth bean), pods
Moringa oleifera (horseradish), leaves, pods
Pachyrrhizus erosus (yam bean), pods
Phaseolus calcaratus (rice bean), pods
Phaseolus lunatus (lima bean), pods
Psophocarpus tetragonolobus (winged bean), pods
Vigna sesquipedalis (string beans), pods

Iron-rich Crops
Amaranthus gracilis (amaranth), leaves
Basella alba (alugbati), leaves
Brassica chinensis (petchay), leaves
Brassica juncea (mustard), leaves
Cajanus cajan (pigeon pea), pods
Capsicum anuum (pepper), leaves
Colocasia esculenta (taro), leaves
Corchorus olitorius (jute), leaves
Dolichos lablab (hyacinth bean), pods
Ipomoea aquatica (swamp cabbage), leaves
Ipomoca batatas (sweet potato), leaves
Momordica charantia (bitter gourd), leaves and fruits
Moringa oleifera (horseradish), leaves
Pachyrrhizus erosus (yam bean), pods
Phaseolus aureus (mungbean), pods
Phaseolus lunatus (lima bean), pods
Psophocarpus tetragonolobus (winged bean), pods
Phaseolus calcaratus (rice bean), pods
Talinum triangulare (Philippine spinach), leaves

Calcium-rich Vegetables
Amaranthus gracilis (amaranth), leaves
Basella alba (alugbati), leaves
Colocasia esculenta (taro), leaves
Corchorus olitorius (jute), leaves
Dolichos lablab (hyacinth bean), pods
Hibiscus sabdariffa (roselle), leaves
Ipomoea batatas (sweet potato), leaves
Momordica charantia (bitter gourd), fruit
Moringa oleifera (horseradish), leaves
Pachyrrhizus erosus (yam bean), pods
Phaseolus calcaratus (rice bean), pods
Phaseolus lunatus (lima bean), pods
Talinum triangulare (Philippine spinach), leaves
Vigna sesquipedalis (string bean), pods

Vitamin A content of some local foods in serving portions compared with recommended dietary allowances for various age groups


Vitamin A content of some local foods in serving portions compared with recommended dietary allowances for various age groups

Iron content of some local foods in serving portions compared with recommended dietary allowances (RDA) for various age groups


Iron content of some local foods in serving portions compared with recommended dietary allowances (RDA) for various age groups

Vegetables containing iodine


(For Goiter-affected Areas)

Scientific Name

Common Name

Parts Per Billion Iodine per 100 g edible portion

Sargassum siliquosum (dried)

aragaz

3,900,000

Gracilaria compressa (dried)

ceylon moss

500,000

Gracilaria verrucosa (deed)

gulamang dagat

3,800 - 360,160

Laurencia seticulosa (dried)

kulot

79.344

Caulerpa racemosa

lato

24,600

Codium tenue

pokpoklo

2,139

Hydroclathrus clathratus

balbalulang

1,845

Colocasia esculenta (leaves and stem)

taro

485

Daucus carota

carrot

81

Apium graveolens

celery

81

Phaseoulus vulgaris

snap bean

80

Cajanus cajan

pigeon pea

80

Sesbania grandiflora

katuray

80

Phaseolus aureus

mungbean

80

Phaseolus lunatus

lima bean

80

Psophocarpus tetragonolobus

winged bean

80

Vigna sesquipedalis

string bean

80

Pachyrrhizus erosus

yam bean

80

Phaseolus calcaratus

rice bean

80

Raphanus sativus

radish

71

Brassica chinensis

pechay

70

Momordica charantia

bitter gourd

65

Cucurbita maxima

squash

65

Cucumis sativus

cucumber

65

Sechium edule

chayote

65

Lagenaria siceraria

bottle gourd

65

Brassica oleracea

cabbage

60

Nasturtium officinale

watercress

50

Lycopersicon Iycopersicum

tomato

47

Solanum tuberosum

Irish potato

47

Capsicum anuum

green pepper

47

Solanum melongena

eggplant

47

Brassica juncea

mustard

27

References:

Medical and Applied Nutrition Research Institute. 1979. Foods Highest and Lowest in Various Nutrients. FNRI Publications No.33.

Quisumbing, E. 1978. Medicinal Plants of the Philippines. Katha Publishing Co., Inc. 1262 pp.

Vegetables with multiple edible parts

Scientific Name

Common Name

Edible Parts

Cucurbita maxima

squash

fruit, seeds flower, shoots

Psophocarpus tetragonolobus

winged bean

pods, shoots, flowers

Moringa oleifera

horseradish

pods, flowers, leaves

Colocasia esculenta

taro

cone, leaves, petiole

Hibiscus sabdariffa

red serrel

fruits, leaves, petiole

Sesbania grandiflora

sesbania

fruits, flowers, leaves

Ipomoea batatas

sweet potato

tubers, Ieaves, petiole

Vigna sesquipedalis

string bean

pod, shoots

Sechium edule

chayote

fruits, shoots

Raphanus sativus

radish

roots, leaves

Momordica charantia

bitter gourd

fruits, shoots

Capsicum anuum

green pepper

fruits, leaves

Allium cepa

onion

bulbs, leaves

Allium sativum

garlic

cloves, leaves

Vigna sinensis

cowpea

pods, shoots

Dolichos lablab

lablab bean

pods, shoots

Pachyrrhizus erosus

yam bean

tubers, young pods

Apium graveolens

celery

leaves, stems

Brassica oleracea var. acephala

kale

leaves, stems

Petroselinum crispum

parsley

leaves, stems

Ipomoea aquatica

swamp cabbage

leaves, petiole

Citrullus vulgaris

water melon

fruits, seeds

Abelmoschus esculentus

ladyfinger

fruits, seeds

Brassica chinensis

pechay

leaves, flowers

Brassica juncea

mustard

leaves, flowers

Amaranthus gracilis

amaranth

leaves, seeds

Neglected annual vegetables

Amaranth

Amaranthus gracilis Dest.

Amaranth is a common plant found throughout the Philippines at low and medium altitudes. It is also found in all warm countries. The plant is an erect, smooth, branched herb, growing 30 - 60 cm in height. The leaves are ovate, longpetioled, 4 - 10 cm long.

The cross-pollinated short-lived annual is drought-tolerant (grows better than corn in dry conditions), adapted to a wide range of soils and pH levels (5.5 - 7.5 optimal) and highyielding. It cannot withstand waterlogging but tolerates some moist conditions. Generally, it is not shade-tolerant but there are indications that some varieties tolerate shade. It prefers sunny sites on well-drained, fertile soils and temperatures of 22 - 30 C. It is an ideal dry season plant.

A major food source to civilizations dating back 6,000 years, amaranth is a very nutritious and good- tasting leafy vegetable that is ready to eat in only 3 - 6 weeks after sowing. Chemical analysis of the tops shows that it is rich in calcium and iron. The plant is also a good source of vitamins B and C.

Very young plants can be pulled up and eaten whole or leaves can be removed on older plants. In addition, cutting the tips back promotes lateral shoot growth, increasing leaf production. It has been recommended that the plants be cut back to 20 - 25 cm and allowed to regrow for 3 weeks before harvesting again, making four or more harvests possible. Once the plant flowers, the leaves become very bitter.


Amaranth

Nutritional Contents per 100 Grams of Edible Portion

Constituents

Leaves

water (ml)

89.0

calories

26.0

protein (g)

3.6

fat (g)

0.1

carbohydrates (g)

4.0

fiber (g)

1.3

vit. A (ug)

6545.0

vit. C (mg)

23.0

iron (mg)

2.9

calcium (ma)

154.0

Basella
Basella alba L.

Basella is found in settled areas, in hedges, old cultivated areas throughout the Philippines.

A popular vegetable of the Visayas, Basella is found in almost all backyards and gardens in Visayan homes. It occurs also in Malaya, other parts of tropical Asia and of Africa, often cultivated.

This is a succulent, branched, smooth, twining herbaceous vine, reaching a length of 6 m. The stems are green or purplish. The leaves are somewhat fleshy, ovate or heart-shaped, 5 - 12 cm in length, stalked, tapering to a pointed tip and cordate at the base. The fruit is fleshy, stalkless, ovoid or nearly spherical, 5 - 6 millimeters in length and purple when mature.

This short-lived perennial grows best in a variety of soils with fertile, well-drained clayey loams. It is tolerant to both high temperature and high rainfall levels; some varieties are also drought-tolerant. However, water stress may induce flowering. In addition, under lightly-shaded conditions, basella produces larger leaves than when planted in full sun. Since it is a short-day plant, in days longer than 13 hours flowering will not occur. Although it grows well year-round, planting at the start of the rainy season is recommended. Basella does not grow well at elevations higher than 500 meters. Propagation is usually by 25 cm cuttings.

Basella is remarkably resistant to diseases and pests, the only serious problem being the root-knot nematode.

Young shoots and leaves are first picked 30-50 days after planting. Removing the flowers promotes continued leaf production. The vegetable is a good source of calcium and vitamin A and an excellent source of vitamins B and C. The leaves contain vitamins A3 and B3 and the fruit, iron. It has a high roughage value characteristic of leafy vegetables. Basella is a very common and popular leafy vegetable, much used in stews and makes a good substitute for spinach. The plant is mucilaginous when cooked. The juice from the small fruits is sometimes used for fond coloring.


Basella

Nutritional Contents per 100 Grams of Edible Portion

Constituents

Leaves

water (ml)

93.0

calories

19.0

protein (g)

1.6

fat (g)

0.3

carbohydrates (g)

3.5

fiber (g)

0.6

vit. A (ug)

349.0

vit. B (mg)

86.0

iron (mg)

1.60

calcium (mg)

106.0

Bitter gourd
Momordica charantia L.

Bittergourd is grown widely throughout the Philippines and is considered to be one of the biggest income-generating crops. Of the two local varieties, the green and the white-fruited, the green is preferred for both eating and planting.

The vines of this annual herb climb to a length of 3 - 4 meters. The leaves are rounded, 2.5 to 10 centimeters in diameter, divided nearly to the base into 7. The flowers are yellow. The fruit of cultivated variety is oblong, cylindrical, 15 to 25 cm in length, pointed at both ends, ribbed and wrinkled; while the wild variety is ovoid and 2 - 4 cm long. The seeds are oblong, compressed, 10 - 13 mm long and corrugated on the margins.

The plant grows best in hot, humid areas in altitudes up to 500 m. Bittergourd is adapted to a wide variation of rainfall and soils; however, it prefers loamy, well-drained, rich, organic soil types with adequate water retaining capacity. The plant is crosspollinated and produces better when trellised.

Major pests include fruit flies, fruitworms and aphids. Diseases are bacterial wilt, anthracnose and fusarium wilt.

Fifty to seventy days after sowing, the immature fruits are ready for harvesting. They are boiled, fried, curried or pickled. Soaking the fruit in salted water removes some of the bitter taste. In comparison to other cucurbits, the bittergourd is more nutritious, with higher levels of vitamin A and calcium. The leaves and fruits are excellent sources of iron, calcium, phosphorus and vitamin B. The tender shoots and the leaves are also eaten as a vegetable. However, they do not store well.


Bitter gourd

Nutritional Contents per 100 Grams of Edible Portion

Constituents

Leaves

Fruits

water (ml)

80.0

92.0

calories

60.0

25.0

protein (a)

5.1

1.2

fat (g)

0.4

0.2

carbohydrate (g)

12.0

5.0

fiber (a)

0.5

1.0

vit. A (ug)

5,085.0

110.0

vit. C (mg)

107.0

57.0

iron (mg)

7.1

0.2

calcium (mg)

264.0

13.0

Black Beans
Vigna sinensis

Several cowpea varieties are grown commercially all over the world, but the black variety is not commonly known.

Cowpea is a climbing vine with trifoliate leaves. The flowers are white or pale violet. The pods are 8 - 12 cm long and less than 1 cm wide.

Dried seeds of black cowpea have an extremely desirable taste when boiled and eaten as a vegetable dish With sugar and evaporated milk and probably ice, the taste becomes exquisite. This most desirable taste is associated with the black seed coat. The green pods taste about the same as those of other cowpea varieties.


Black Beans

Mineral Content and Food Value of Cowpea


Oven-dried Samples (%)

Constituents

Pods

Seeds

ash

8.28

5.38

phosphorus as P205

1.91

1.77

calcium as CaO

1.17

0.11

iron as Fe203

0.03

0.016

Cassava
Manihot esculenta Crantz.

Cassava was introduced from Mexico in the early colonial period, but is now widely distributed throughout the Philippines in settled areas.

Cassava consists of two groups; the bitter-rooted which is grown commercially for starch and the smaller rooted sweet or edible type grown in gardens. The latter is described below.

Manihot esculenta is a short-lived shrubby perennial growing up to 5 m in height. The leaves are alternate and smooth and divided to the base into 3 - ? narrow segments 10 - 20 cm long, except from some of the upper leaves, which are entire. The flowers are about 1 cm long. The fruit is ovoid and about 1.5 cm long, with six, narrow longitudinal wings.

Being adaptable to many soil types, it is often grown in vacant spots, along fences, on hillsides or even as a living fence. However, it grows best in well-drained, sandy loam soils with ample organic matter. (Excessive fertility stimulates high stem and leaf production at the expense of tuber growth.) It grows in a wide pH range (5.0 7.0), in great rainfall variation (500- 2500 mm) and in elevations up to 1700 m. Also, high humidity promotes growth even when soil moisture is low; however, cassava does not tolerate waterlogging. Daylight in excess of 10 - 12 hours reduces tuber growth. Cassava is propagated by 25 cm wood stem cuttings (mature stems are likely to be infected with mosaic virus) and is cross-pollinated. Planting is best done at the onset of the rainy season.

While there are a number of diseases and insects affecting cassava, none cause major problems, However, damage caused by rats and red mites during the dry seasons and leaf spot can be significant.

In a 2 × 5 meter area, 2 kilos of cassava leaves can be harvested per week during the rainy season, usually 50 - 70 days after planting. However, picking the leaves causes tuber reduction. The leaves are boiled, dried or ground into a powder for soups and sauces. The tubers are harvested 150 300 days from planting depending on the variety. They contain a high amount of toxic hydrocyanic acid. However, in the sweet cultivars, this acid is confined only to the skin. To destroy the toxin, the tubers should be peeled, washed and boiled (without a lid), or roasted or fried like chips.


Cassava

Nutritional Contents per 100 Grams of Edible Portion

Constituents

Tubers

Leaves

water (ml)

62.0

71.0

calories

149.0

91.0

protein (g)

1.2

70.0

fat (g)

0.2

1.0

carbohydrates (g)

35.0

18.0

fiber (g)

1.1

4.0

vit. A (ug)

30.0

11.8

vit. C (mg)

31.0

311.0

iron (mg)

1.9

7.6

calcium (mg)

68.0

303.0

Chayote
Sechium edule

Chayote is a vigorous-climbing perennial herb with hairy stem, up to 12 meters in height and with oval, palegreen fruits 6 - 10 cm long. It grows well in soils with ample organic matter (loamy or sandy preferred) and with good moisture-retaining capacity since the plant does not tolerate drought conditions, especially during early growth. Some varieties prefer lightly shaded areas. A pH range between 5.5 - 6.5 suits the crop best. Chayote flowers at day length of 12 ½ hours. The plant is cross-pollinated.

Chayote is propagated by planting a mature fruit (at an angle, large end down with smaller end slightly out of the soil) and, because of its moisture needs, is best planted at the onset of the rainy season. It is trellised along fences, trees or house posts. Chayote is easily rejuvenated by cutting back the old vines to a height of ½ meters and if conditions permit, the plant will fruit for several years.

There are rarely any serious pest or disease problems.

At approximately 100 - 120 days or 3 - 4 weeks after first fruit sets, the immature fruits, high in iron and calcium, are ready for picking. They are prepared as a vegetable, in salads or pickled. The young leaves and tendrils are cooked as vegetables. In addition, the tubers of the established plant when boiled are palatable.


Chayote

Nutritional Contents per 100 Grams of Edible Portion

Constituents

Leaves

Fruits

water (ml)

91.0

94.0

calories

25.0

19.0

protein (g)

4.0

0.7

fat (g)

0.3

0.1

carbohydrate (a)

3.0

5.0

fiber (g)

0.8

0.6

vit. A (ug)

1515.0

15.0

vit. C (mg)

24.0

14.0

Iron (mg)

1.4

0.4

calcium (mg)

62.0

17.0

Drumstick Tree/Horseradish Tree
Moringa oleifera Lam.

Horseradish tree was introduced from tropical Asia or Malaya in the prehistoric period and is now widely distributed throughout the Philippines, in settled areas at low and medium altitudes.

The plant is a small tree, 8 m or less in height, with corky bark and soft, wide wood. The leaves are alternate, usually thrice pinnate and 25 - 50 cm long. The leaflets are thin, ovate to elliptic and 1 - 2 cm long. The flowers are white and 1.5 - 2 cm long. The pod is 15 to 30 cm long three-angled and nine-ribbed. The seeds are three-angled and winged on the angles.

In some parts of the world, the horseradish tree is also referred to as "mother's best friend". Although it is grown extensively in the Philippines, few realize the vast potential of this tree. Essentially, all parts of the tree are useful.

Either propagated by cuttings or seeds at 8 months, the perennials begin flowering and continue, throughout the year. Horseradish tree grows in almost any kind of soil, the ideal being a well-drained loam or clay loam fertile ground. The best time for planting is at the onset of the rainy seasons. Before each wet season, the tree should be pruned to a height of 1 ½ meters. This promotes new branch and leaf growth and makes harvesting easier and the prunings can be used for fuel. The horseradish tree is free of serious disease; the only significant pests are the mite and the root knot nematode.

The young leaves, flowers and pods are used as vegetable in the Philippines, Malaya and India. Analyses of the leaves show that they are very rich in calcium and iron and a good source of phosphorous. They are particularly valuable on account of the calcium and iron content. Young fruits are high in protein, a fair source of calcium, iron and high in phosphorus.

Research is currently being conducted along the River Nile in Africa using the powder of the mature seed as a primary coagulant in purifying water.

In the future, the horseradish tree may be a key element in the struggle against hunger.


Drumstick Tree/Horseradish Tree

Nutritional Contents per 100 Grams of Edible Portion

Constituents

Leaves

water (ml)

-

calories

46.0

protein (g)

3.4

fat (g)

-

carbohydrates (g)

-

fibre (g)

-

vit. A (ug)

7,595.0

vit. B (mg)

142.0

iron (mg)

2.1

calcium (mg)

215.0

Hot Pepper
Capsicum frutescens L.

A native of tropical America, hot pepper is cultivated throughout the Philippines, but is also thoroughly established in open, waste places in the settled areas.

Hot pepper is erect, branched, half-woody and 0.8 to 1.5 meters in height The leaves are oblong-ovate to ovate lanceolate, 3 to 10 cm long and pointed at the tip. The flowers are pale green or yellowish-green and 8 to 9 mm in diameter. The fruit is commonly red when ripe, oblong-lanceolate and 1.5 to 2.5 cm long.

The fruit has a very sharp taste and is extensively used as a condiment It is mixed with or made into pickles and is a principal ingredient in all curries in India. The leaves are used as a green vegetable. They have a very pleasant, somewhat piquant flavor. The leaves are excellent sources of calcium, iron and vitamins A and B and good source of phosphorus.


Hot Pepper

Hyacinth Bean
Dolichos lablab L.

Hyacinth bean is commonly cultivated throughout the Philippines in the settled areas. This is a smooth, twining annual vine reaching a length of 6 m or more, with often purplish stems. The leaves are trifoliate. The leaflets are ovate and 7 - 15 cm long. The flowers are pink-purple or nearly white, about 2 cm long. The pods are oblong, flattened, 7 - 12 cm long about 2 cm wide and contain 3 - 5 seeds.

Because of its deep root system, this legume is hardy and drought-resistant and grows successfully during the dry season. However, adequate moisture is required during early growth stages. The hyacinth bean grows in a wide variety of soils with a pH ranging from 4.4 to 7.8. It is best suited for sandy loam soil which is welldrained. Waterlogging will kill the plant. Some varieties, namely those cultivated at higher altitudes, are known to be shade-tolerant and very fast growing. If conditions permit, e.g., with adequate water and fertilizer, the hyacinth bean can grow 2 - 3 years. It is both self-and cross-pollinated.

Compared to most legumes, the hyacinth bean is more resistant to diseases and pests. The major diseases affecting the bean in the humid tropics are: ashy stem blight, powdery mildew and bacterial blight. Primary pests are the pod borer, aphids, mealybugs, leafhoppers, and shieldbugs.

By rotating crops and using disease-free seeds. problems can he kept to a minimum.

In South India, the hyacinth bean is a major source of protein for the rural people. However, in other subtropical and tropical countries, it is a relatively unexploited crop.

The young pods, leaves and flowers are cooked like a vegetable. Surprisingly, the hyacinth bean leaf is rich in protein and is one of the best sources of iron among the legume family. Chemical analyses of the young pods show they are fairly good sources of calcium. The protein-rich beans are harvested 70 - 120 days after sowing. Like the lima bean which contains high levels of cyanide-producing glucosides, the hyacinth bean should be boiled well before consumption. In some parts of the world, the dried bean is used as a coffee substitute. The sprouts are similar in taste to soy and mung sprouts and even the swollen roots are palatable. The field-bush varieties are excellent forage, green manure and erosion controlling crops.


Hyacinth Bean

Nutritional Contents per 100 Grams of Edible Portion

Constituents

Fresh Pods

Seeds

water (ml)

82.0

10.0

calories

-

340.0

protean (g)

4.5

22.8

fat (g)

0.1

1.0

carbohydrates (g)

10.0

62.0

fiber (8)

2.0

8.6

vit. A (ug)

-

-

vit. C (mg)

1.0

trace

iron (mg)

10.0

9.0

calcium (mg)

50.0

90.0

Lima Bean
Phaseolus lunatus L.

Lima bean is thoroughly naturalized in the Philippines and common in thickets at low and medium altitudes, ascending to 2,000 meters. It was introduced from tropical America and is now widely distributed.

There are two types of this legume: the twining perennial, growing 24 m tall, which is staked; and, the annual herb or bush, growing 30 - 90 cm in height The leaves are thin, compound with three leaflets which are ovate, 6 12 cm long and somewhat rounded at the base and pointed at the tip. The flowers are greenish or pale yellow, about 13 millimeters long. The pods are oblong, somewhat curved, 6 - 12 cm long and about 2 cm wide and contain from 1 - 4 large, variously colored or white seeds. Compared to most common beans, the lima bean grows well in poorer soils of the lowland and tropics; however, it prefers sandy loam, well-drained and well-aerated soils with pH between 6.0 and 7.0.

Of the two types, the climbing perennial is considered more drought-resistant than the bush type, but both are tolerant to heavy rainfall during the growing period. However, heavy rainfall during flowering will reduce fertilization.

Temperatures exceeding 32 - 32 C (90°F - 95°F) combined with low humidity may also cause the blossoms to shed and the pods to drop.

As with most legumes, lima helps restore soil fertility. Its vigorous growth and copious leaf shedding have caused it to be used as green manure in plantation crops in the humid tropics.

In comparison to most legumes, lima is more resistant to disease and pests. The most common ailments are pod and stem blight, halo blight and bacterial blight. The major pests include black bean aphids, stem boring beetle and mot-knot nematodes. Disease and pest problems can be minimized by routine crop rotation and by the use of disease-free seed.

The lima is a versatile vegetable with nearly all plant parts edible. The seedling stems, young leaves and pods are eaten as a cooked vegetable. Seeds can be harvested after 60 days and eaten green. The dry beans - high in protein, calcium and iron - are ready for picking at 80 - 180 days, depending on the variety. Some dry dark-seeded types may contain large amounts of cyanide-producing glucosides, which are eliminated by boiling the beans and discarding the water. The white varieties are safe. The dried seed can also be ground and used as a bean flour high in protein.


Lima Bean

Nutritional Contents per 100 Grams of Edible Portion

Constituents

Dried Seeds

Leaves

Green Seeds

water (ml)

12.0

286.0

377.0

calories

2335.0

21.4

26.6

protein (g)

21.4

-

1.6

fat (g)

1.4

60.7

66.6

carbohydrates (g)

61.0

-

3.2

fiber (g)

4.3

-

-

vit. A (ug)

trace

-

-

vit. C (mg)

1.0

-

-

iron (mg)

4.9

-

-

calcium (my)

116.0

-

-

Long-fruited Jute
Corchorus olitorus L.

Jute occurs in and near settlements, especially on rice paddy banks. It grows widely throughout the Philippines, but is more popular in Iloilo and Ilocos regions. This is an erect branched, half-woody shrub, 1 - 1.5 m high. The leaves are ovate-lanceolate, 5 - 12 cm long, pointed at the tip, blunt at the base. The flowers are axillary, yellow and about 6 mm long. The fruits are elongated, cylindrical and 3 to 3.5 cm long, with 10 ribs. The seeds are dark bluish green, angular, about 2 mm long and very bitter.

This annual or short-lived perennial is self-pollinating and prefers short daylengths. It is tolerant to most soil types but grows best on alluvial, well-drained soils and in humid (22-3 C) conditions. However, as some varieties are sensitive to excess water at early stages of growth, it is recommended to plant at the onset of the rainy season. At altitudes above 700 m, yields diminish. Soaking seeds in hot water overnight to break dormancy improves seed germination. Leaves and young shoots are ready to harvest 40 - 60 days after sowing or when 20 - 30 cm in length. (Picking the terminal shoots encourages lateral growth.)

The most common disease is wilt; common pests include spider mites, root-knot nematodes and the larvae of the sweet potato butterfly.

Jute has an impressively high nutritional value. The leaves and young shoots are an excellent source of iron, vitamin C, phosphorus and calcium and a good source of vitamin B.

When cooked, the leaves and shoots have a high proportion of mucilage similar to ladyfinger. In the Philippines, vegetables are often prepared with bamboo shoots, fish, meat or other vegetables. The protein content of the young leaves is 1.5%; of the older, 5 - 6%. The leaves can also be dried and stored for future use. When harvesting leaves and shoots, using a sharp knife is recommended.


Long-fruited Jute

Nutritional Contents per 100 Grams of Edible Portion

Constituents

Leaves

water (ml)

84.1

calories

43.0

protein (g)

5.6

fat (g)

0.3

carbohydrates (g)

7.6

fiber (g)

1.7

vit. A (ug)

7850.0

vit. B (mg)

53.0

iron (mg)

7.70

calcium (mg)

266.0

Pungapong
Amorphophallus campanulatus (Roxb.) Blume.

In the Philippines, pungapong is commonly found in Luzon and Mindoro, in thickets and secondary forests, along roads, trails at low and medium altitudes in the settled areas. It also grows in India, Malaya and Polynesia.

Pungapong is a perennial, stemless herb, flowering before leafing every year from the previous year's corm. The leaves are usually solitary with the blades up to 1 meter in diameter.

In food value, it is comparable to squash and superior to yam bean. The petioles of young, unexpanded leaves are edible, when thoroughly cooked. When food is scarce, the corm is sometimes eaten. The leaves and corms are common feed for hogs.


Pungapong

Nutritional Contents per 100 Grams of Edible Portion

Constituents

Corm

moisture

14.80

ash

0.73

fat

0.38

protein

5.10

carbohydrates

8.37

crude fiber

0.61

Purslane
Portulaca oleracea L.

Occurring in all warm countries, purslane is commonly found in settled areas.

This plant is an annual, succulent, branched, smooth and purplish herb. The stems are 10 - 50 cm in length. Leaves are fleshy, flat, oblong - obovate, 1 - 25 cm in length The yellow flowers open only for a few hours in the morning. The plant blooms all yearround.

Purslane can be eaten raw as a salad or cooked with meat or fish. It is an excellent source of calcium and from


Purslane

Rice Bean
Phaseolus calcaratus Roxb.

Rice bean is a native of tropical Asia but is now found in most warm countries, either wild or cultivated. Formerly widely grown in the Philippines, the rice bean has declined in popularity because the increase in doublecropping of rice has replaced the ricebean rotation.

Either a short-stemmed erect plant or a threemeter twining short-lived perennial, the rice bean is grown as annual. It has trifoliate leaves, yellow flowers and long slender pods containing variously colored edible beans. It is a short-day plant, flowering when day lengths are less than 12 hours. It thrives in the humid lowland in temperatures ranging from 18 to 30 C, but can be grown at higher altitudes, up to 1500 m. The seeds mature at nearly the same time (anywhere from 60 - 150 days), needing only one

harvest. The pods are prone to shattering so harvesting should be done in the morning when pods are damp to minimize seed loss. Because of its tolerance to drought, high temperatures and humidity, heavy soils and its resistance to most pests, the potential of rice bean for protein production in the lowland tropics is high. Its only drawback is it cannot withstand waterlogging.

The bean is resistant to insects and disease affecting legumes, including the beanfly. The main problem is the root-knot nematode, which can be minimized by planting rice bean on previously flooded soil, by rotating with other crops or by interplanting with marigold.

The rice beans contain 20 - 22% protein and high amounts of calcium and carbohydrates (60%), making them a good energy source. It is also a good source of phosphorus and excellent source of iron. The beans also contain toxic cyanogenic substances which are safely neutralized by boiling them, then discarding the liquid. The leaves and young seed pods are prepared as a vegetable and are ready to harvest 40 - 60 days after planting. The rice bean can also be used as a soybean sprout substitute.


Rice Bean

Nutritional Contents per 100 Grams of Edible Portion

Constituents

Seeds

water (ml)

13.0

calories

327.0

protein (g)

20.9

fat (g)

0.9

carbohydrate (g)

60.0

fiber (g)

4.8

vit. A (ug)

-

vit. C (mg)

-

iron (mg)

10.9

calcium (mg)

200.0

Roselle, Red-serrel
Hibiscus sabdariffa L.

Grown mostly in West and Central Africa and India, roselle shows promise for successful cultivation in the Philippines.

Roselle, erect and branched, is a woody annual reaching a height of up to three meters. The stems are purplish. The leaves are 8 - 12 cm long, variable in shape and either entire or deeply 3 or 5-lobed. The flower is pink with dark center and is about 5 cm long. The fruit is ovoid, hairy and about 2.5 cm long.

Its vigorous main root (tap root) makes it extremely tolerant to extended hot dry spells throughout the growing and fruiting periods. It is best suited to moderate amounts of rainfall It is also adapted to a wide range of soils, producing a usable crop in low fertility soils, although for high yields, a fertile soil is necessary. Roselle is a short-day plant, flowering when day lengths are less than 12 I/2 hours. The flowers are self-pollinating.

One drawback of roselle is its attractiveness to insects, the most common being the cotton stainer, bollworm, flea beetle and root-knot nematode. Common diseases are leaf spot and fruit rot.

The leaves and young shoots, which are extremely high in vitamin A, are eaten raw, cooked or dried. The vegetable is similar to jute in that the cooked leaves are mucilaginous or slimy. The leaves and shoots can be cut off the plant throughout its growth. The swollen calyces of the flowers harvested 100-160 days after planting are used in the preparation of beverages and jellies. The calyces also contain 17% oil with 26% albuminoids, providing high amounts of food energy. Fiber is also prepared from the base of the stem.


Roselle, Red-serrel

Nutritional Contents Per 100 Grams of Edible Portion

Constituents

Leaves

Calyces

water (ml)

85.0

90.0

calories

43.0

39.0

protein (g)

3.3

0.7

fat (g)

0.3

1.1

carbohydrates (g)

9.0

8.0

fiber (g)

1.6

1.4

vit. A (ug)

4135.0

.10

vit. C (mg)

54.0

10.0

iron (mg)

4.8

-

calcium (mg)

213.0

174.0

Sauropus
Sauropus androgynus

Sauropus, or katuk as it is called in Indonesia, is a highly popular, nutritious and appetizing green, leafy vegetable in the Philippines, India and Malaysia It is also very prolific, out yielding all other vegetables in a trial in Indonesia. Its vigor, year-round productivity and pest resistance mane it a good addition to any garden or living fence.

Sauropus is a perennial, a small tree or foggy shrub whose long upright main stems often grow so tall (if left uncut) that they fall over from their own weight. It grows well in the hot, humid tropics, even tolerating very heavy soils and heavy rainfall It is easily propagated from seeds or woody cuttings and is usually planted as hedge cuttings (10 cm apart) or along fences.

No pest or disease problems have been recorded for Sauropus.

Plants from cuffings yield young Shoots and leaves for harvest in about three months. They can be eaten raw or cooked. The older leaves, the flowers and fruits are also edible. (Cooking is recommended because the flavor of the raw leaves can be somewhat strong.) The leaves contain 6 - 10% protein. The roots and leaves are used for medicinal purposes and the leaves have also been used to color preserves.


Sauropus

Spiny Bamboo
Bambusa blumeana Bl. ex. Schult. f.

Spiny bamboo is found from southern China to the Malay Peninsula and throughout the Philippines at low and medium altitudes in settled areas.

The stems are 10 to 25 m high and 8 to 15 cm in diameter, with the basal parts surrounded by stiff, branched, interlaced, spiny branches. The leaves are 10 to 20 cm long, 1 to 2 cm wide. It is rarely found in flower.

This bamboo is the most commonly used species in the Philippines. It is most useful for building purposes and for the manufacture of furniture and household utensils. The young shoots are fairly tender and are used for food. Bamboo shoots (labong) are fair sources of calcium and iron. They contain 1.76% protein and 4.24% carbohydrates.


Spiny Bamboo

Sweet Potato
Ipomoea batatas (L) Lamk.

Sweet potato was introduced by the Spaniards from Mexico in the early colonial period and is now cultivated throughout the Philippines and in all the other warm countries.

Ranking second to rice as a staple food, it is an important crop of the Philippines.

The plant is a perennial herb cultivated as an annual with trailing or twining stems 1 - 5 meters long. The leaves are ovate to oblong-ovate, 6 14 cm long, somewhat entire, angular or lobed, pointed at the tip and heart-shaped at the base. The flower is funnel-shaped, 4 - 5 cm long, pinkpurple to whitish. It grows in a wide range of soils (sandy loam being the best), provided they are well-drained since it cannot withstand waterlogging. Average temperatures at 24 - 25 C and good exposure to the sun make for a healthy crop. In addition, a pH range between 5.6 - 6.6 is best, although sweet potato will grow in soils with a pH as low-as 5.2. The plant matures best in low humidity conditions with moist soils during tuber initiation (50 - 60 days after planting). it is a short-day plant requiring only 11 hours of daylight or less to induce flowering. It is cross-pollinated and usually propagated by cuttings. It is affected by a number of pests and diseases, the most serious being the sweet potato weevil, tortoise shell beetle and fusarium wilt.

The tubers, harvested 90 - 150 days after planting, are an excellent carbohydrate source, with more calories than both rice and com. Compared to the white, the yellow-fleshed tubers have higher levels of vitamin A and are boiled, baked, fried or mixed with other root crops.

The tops are cooked and eaten as a salad and a leafy vegetable. The leaves are an excellent source of iron and a good source of calcium, phosphorus and vitamins.


Sweet Potato

Nutritional Contents per 100 Grams of Edible Portion

Constituents

Yellow fleshed tubers

Tubers

Leaves

water (ml)

70.0

70.0

87.0

calories

121.0

114.0

42.0

protein (g)

1.6

1.5

3.2

fat (a)

0.2

0.3

0.7

carbohydrate (g)

28.0

26.0

8.0

fiber (g)

1.0

1.0

1.6

vit. A (ug)

1255.0

60.0

2700.0

vit. C (mg)

37.0

30.0

21.0

iron (mg)

2.7

1.0

4.5

calcium (mg)

33.0

25.0

25.0

Taro
Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott Endl.

Taro is an extremely popular crop throughout the tropics. Although it is non-seasonal and can grown anytime of the year, in the Philippines the supply cannot meet the demand.

This plant is variable in size and grows from 30 to 150 cm in height. The rootstock is tuberous and up to 10 cm in diameter, short or elongated. The leaves, in groups of two or three or more, are long-petioled, ovate, 20 - 50 cm long.

Taro is one of the few plants tolerant to waterlogging and shade. Depending on the variety, it is either cultivated in rainfed or irrigated lowland paddies or in upland areas The lowland variety is suited to most types of soils, but fertile soils promote faster growth. It is also grown on the banks of rivers, streams, ditches and canals. The upland variety prefers deep, well-drained friable loams with adequate moisture reserves. To retain moisture, the crop is best mulched. Upland taro grows best in elevations up to 1500 meters. Both types prefer a pH range of 5.5 - 6.5, high temperatures (21 - 27 C) and high humidity. Most upland varieties (dasheen and eddoe) mature quicker than the paddy-grown taro, in 180 - 120 days versus 240 - 300 days. In addition, the tubers store longer, 3 - 6 months, compared to the paddy-grown which rot after a few weeks in storage.

The taro hornworm is a common pest of the plant, but they can be handpicked from the leaves. Other pests are the pineapple mealybug and soil mealybugs. The major disease problem is leaf blight: affected leaves should be destroyed and the crop rotated. Tuber-rot occurs during storage, it can be minimized by proper ventilation.

Baked, boiled or fried like chips, the tubers are good carbohydrate foods. The flour produced from the tubers is similar to potato flour. It is used in soups, biscuits, breads and puddings. Taro starch is of superior quality and can be used in baby foods. The young and old leaves of the upland taro are edible. Of the lowland, usually only the younger leaves are palatable. High in calcium, iron, phosphorus and vitamins A, B and C, the leaves and stalks are prepared as a vegetable. In some taro varieties, calcium oxalate crystals, a substance which lowers the food value of the vegetable, are present. Boiling usually removes the crystals, however, except in some older leaves. Some upland varieties, namely Dasheen, are relatively free of the crystals.


Taro

Nutritional Contents per 100 Grams of Edible Portion

Constituents

Leaves

Leaf Stalks

Tubers

water (ml)

85.7

93.0

75.0

calories

48.0

24.0

94.0

protein (g)

3.3

0.5

2.2

fat (g)

0.6

0.2

0.4

carbohydrate (g)

9.9

6.0

21.0

fiber (g)

0.9

0.9

0.8

vit. A (ug)

4,695.0

180.0

trace

vit. C (mg)

27.0

13.0

8.0

iron (mg)

0.8

0.9

1.2

calcium (mg)

110.0

49.0

34.0

Velvet Bean
Mucuna pruriens (L) D.C.

This plant is found in thickets and secondary forests at low and medium altitudes from Northern Luzon to Mindanao. It is also found in India and Indo-China.

The velvet bean is a vigorous, climbing vine, reaching 18m when grown on a support or 5.5 m on the ground. The leaflets are thin, ovate to oblong-ovate and 5 - 12 centimeters long. The pods are stout, compressed, slightly curved near the apex, 6 - 11 cm long, 2 cm wide and densely covered with stiff, somewhat appressed, brown, very irritating, stinging hairs. The seeds are ovoid, about 12 mm long, compressed, brownish and mottled with black.

This annual or short-lived perennial is capable of growing in drought conditions and in a wide range of soils. It can even grow in well-drained leached heavy clays of the tropic lowlands. It tolerates fairly acidic soils and shade as well, but for optimum growth sandy loam with pH of 5 - 6.5, full sun and 1200 1500 mm of rainfall are required. It has been reported to be a short-day plant but showed no significant response to day length in South Africa.

A hardy, drought-resistant, shade-tolerant legume already planted in the Philippines as a coffee substitute and a green vegetable, the velvet bean holds great promise of being grown on a much wider scale.

Very few pests and diseases affect the velvet bean. A bacterial leaf-spot, a leaf-spot caused by a fungus and a rust can be controlled by destroying diseased plant debris. A wilt disease in the wet season and root-knot nematodes may also cause some damage to the plant.

There are a large number of cultivars of the velvet bean and its uses are widely varied. The dry beans, maturing in 180 - 270 days, are roasted, ground and brewed like coffee, yielding a beverage with a chocolatecoffee flavor. The immature pods can be harvested and eaten 1 - 2 months earlier while the leaves can be harvested also 1 - 2 months after planting. Both are used as vegetables. The dry beans can also be cooked and eaten but they must be boiled and soaked in several changes of water to remove the toxic principles in the beans.


Velvet Bean

Water Leaf, Philippine Spinach
Talinum triangulare

An erect or semiprostrate small (30-60 cm), short-lived perennial herb, talinum is a common weed of the tropics now grown in home gardens as a leafy vegetable. It is a remarkably adaptable plant with the ability to grow in drought or moist hot humid coastal conditions, with some organic matter. In slightly shaded areas, talinum has greater leaf production. It is either cultivated by seed or cuttings 15 20 cm long and is sensitive to day lengths, preferring shorter days. Talinum does not produce well at elevations over 1000 m.

There are no significant pests or diseases affecting talinum. Sometimes under irrigated conditions, rodents inflict stem damage.

The shoots are harvested when 15 - 20 cm in length or at 25 - 45 days when leaves are fully developed. Removal of the terminal shoots promotes lateral growth, which stimulates the plant to produce for up to 1 year. Shoots are prepared as a vegetable, the succulent leaves and flowers are cooked in soups and stews. The mucilaginous vegetable contains relatively high amounts of oxalates which are destroyed when boiled.


Water Leaf, Philippine Spinach

Nutritional Contents per 100 Grams of Edible Portion

Constituents

Leaves

water (ml)

91.0

calories

25.0

proteins (g)

2.4

fat (g)

0.4

carbohydrates (g)

4.0

fiber (g)

1.0

vit. A (ug)

-

Vit. C (mg)

31.0

iron (mg)

5.0

calcium (mg)

121.0

Wax Gourd
Benincasa hispida (Thunb.) Cogn.

Wax gourd is cultivated in the Philippines for its large edible fruits. It is also found in India, Japan, Malaya and Polynesia in general cultivation.

A member of the cucurbit family, it has the distinction of being the easiest to grow. It is an annual herb climbing vigorously to a length of several meters. Wax gourd has leaves which are rounded or kidney-shaped, 10 - 25 cm in diameter, heart-shaped at the base and 5 - 7 lobed. The flowers are large and yellow. The fruits, round or elongated, may grow as large as 2 m long and 1 m in diameter, weighing as much as 35 kilos. When young, they are covered with hair which eventually develops into a hard, waxy coating as the fruit matures. Both the hair and the waxy coat make the wax gourd very resistant to disease, pests and spoilage - fruits can be stored up to one year without refrigeration.

Wax gourd is suited to a wide range of soils, growing best on those with ample organic matter. It prefers stable high temperatures, with moderate, evenly distributed rainfall. It does not do quite as well with heavy rainfall, but reports indicate it can still be grown in the rainy season provided that the plant is trellised. Wax gourd is fairly drought-resistant; however, a high soil moisture level is conducive to early rapid growth. During short day-length periods when female flower production is stimulated, higher fruit production can be expected. Hand-pollination is sometimes necessary for better production. The plant requires staking or trellising. It can also be grown over roots and trees for added support of the heavy fruit.

Wax gourd is extremely pest-and disease-resistant. Minor pests are aphids, fruit flies and cutworms. There are no serious diseases.

Fruits are harvested 80 - 160 days after planting. The unripe fruits are boiled and eaten as vegetables, while the ripe fruit is peeled and candied to make an excellent delicacy. The young leaves and flower buds are prepared as a vegetable. The seeds of the mature fruit are removed and roasted, tasting much like pumpkin seeds. A quality vegetable oil is also produced from the seeds. The seeds remain viable for 10 years.


Wax Gourd

Nutritional Contents per 100 Grams of Edible Portion

Constituents

Fruit

Leaves

water (ml)

92.0

-

Calories

28.0

284.0

protein (g)

0.7

22.0

fat (g)

trace

3.7

carbohydrate (a)

6.0

55.9

fiber (g)

0.3

61.4

vit. A (ug)

trace

-

vit. C (mg)

15.0

-

iron (mg)

0.6

-

calcium (mg)

20.0

-

Winged Bean
Psophocarpus tetragonolobus (L) D. C.

Originating from and widely spread across Asia, the winged bean is spreading throughout the tropics and subtropics due to its almost incredible qualities and number of uses.

A robust, twining, bushy plant reaching four meters in height, the winged bean prefers a hot humid climate with high rainfall (2500 mm). It grows well in a wide range of soils as long as these are well drained. It grows at altitudes up to 2000 m. It is a short-day plant flowering when day length is about 12 - 12 ½ hours. Despite its extensive root system, it is not tolerant of long dry spells. The winged bean has thus far shown no serious disease and few pest problems: false smut and root-knot nematodes. Every plant part is eaten, but the stem of this "supermarket on a stalk" are extremely high in protein, fat, carbohydrates and vitamins.

The winged bean begins producing the immature pods (the most widely eaten plant part) in 2 - 3 months and continues producing them for 5 months. Long before that, the protein and vitamins A and C-rich leaves, shoots and flowers can be harvested. The mature seeds are harvested 180 - 270 days after sowing and can be mea, roasted, steamed and made into tofu or milk. When combined with corn, they have a nutritive value as high as skim milk. Protein content ranges from 29 to 37% and edible oil from 15 to 20%. The seed's hard coat requires a very long cooking time but a new method of cooking using baking powder can reduce cooking time tremendously. The method involves initially boiling the beans in water, adding ½ teaspoon baking powder per one cup of liquid, letting the beans soak overnight in the solution, rinsing them and then boiling them again. The beans are tender in 20 - 25 minutes. The tubers, eaten like potatoes, are harvested at 120 - 240 days after planting.


Winged Bean

Nutritional Contents per 100 Grams of Edible Portion

Constituents

Tubers

Fresh Pods

Seeds

water (ml)

75.0

92.0

10.0

calories

91.0

25.0

405.0

protein (B)

2.8

2.1

32.8

fat (g)

0.6

0,3

17.0

carbohydrate (g)

20.0

4.0

36.0

fiber (g)

1.5

1.7

-

vit. A (ug)

-

-

-

vit. C (mg)

-

-

trace

iron (mg)

-

-

2.0

calcium (mg)

-

-

80.0

Yam Bean
Pachyrrhizus erosus (L.) Urb.

Yam bean is a native of tropical America but is now found in thickets and hedges throughout the Philippines in the settled areas, at low and medium altitudes.

A root crop highly demanded throughout the tropics, the yam bean is one of the most vigorous legumes, reaching 5 meters in height when grown on supports. The leaflets are broader than long, reaching a length of 15 cm and a width of 20 cm. The flowers are pale blue or blue and white and 2 to 2.5 cm long, 1.5 cm wide. The pods see about 10 cm long, 10 - 12 mm wide, flat and hairy and contain 8 to 10 seeds. The roots are large, fleshy and turnip-shaped.

It is almost ideally suited to the tropics, needing only ample moisture, a long hot growing season and medium fertile soils. It can tolerate heavy rainfall but needs good drainage and can withstand short drought periods, especially in its later growth stages. Best yields are obtained in areas with moderate rainfall on sandy loam soils high in organic matter.

The yam bean plant has some insecticidal properties which probably makes it pest-resistant. Only the tuber is affected by insects boring into it. In Asia, the only disease so far seen is mosaic virus, which can severely affect the plant. Prompt removal of any affected plant is the only control method.

Tubers can be harvested 5 - 9 months after planting from seed, or 3 - 4 months if from small tubers. All other parts of the plant are usually poisonous, except for the pods. Immature pods are considered among the most delicious green beans in Philippine markets. Experience is necessary to know the right picking time. The mineral content of the young pods shows that they are fairly good sources of both calcium and iron. The tuber on a dry weight basis has 3 - 5 times the protein of other root crops, but the tubers also have only about half the dry matter compared to tubers of other crops. They are eaten either raw or prepared in a variety of ways. They have a high carbohydrate content and are fairly good sources of calcium and iron.


Yam Bean

Nutritional Contents per 100 Grams of Edible Portion

Constituents

Fresh Pods

Tubers

water (ml)

86.0

87.0

calories

45.0

46.0

protein (g)

2.6

1.6

fat (g)

0.3

0.2

carbohydrates (g)

10.0

10.0

fiber (g)

2.9

1.3

vit. A (ug)

345.0

-

vit. C (mg)

-

15.0

iron (mg)

1.3

0.8

calcium (mg)

121.0

18.0

Maintaining the nutritional value of vegetables: Food preparation tips

The nutritional value in any food starts to deteriorate at the very moment of harvesting and continues with each stage of storage and preparation, resulting in additional vitamin losses Here are some preparation tips to help retain the nutritive value of vegetables

Trimming

Vegetables must be trimmed sparingly to prevent the significant waste of vitamins and minerals, as these nutrients are generally present in higher concentrations in the outer layers of vegetables, seeds, roots and fruit For instance, with the peeling of potatoes, 12-35% of the vitamin C may be discarded Peeling of carrots may cause a marked waste of vitamins B1, B2 and nicotinic acid


Trimming

Washing

If the food has not been chopped or sliced too finely, the washing of vegetables for short periods does not adversely affect nutrient losses, so wash vegetables before they are chopped


Washing

Cooking

Boil vegetables in as little water as possible to minimize losses in vitamins and minerals Serve the cooking liquids with the vegetables or make them into sauces, gravies or soups Cook vegetables until just tender and serve immediately.


Cooking

Boiling Guide for Fresh Vegetables

Vegetable

Boiling time

Vegetables

Boiling time


(minutes)


(minutes)

Asparagus:


Celery, cut up

15 to 18

Whole

10 to 20

Chard

10 to 20

Tips

5 to 15

Collards

10 to 20

Beans:


Corn, on cob

5 to 15

Lima

25 to 30

Kale

10 to 15

Snap, l-inch pieces

12 to 16

Ladyfinger

10 to 15

Beets:


Onions

15 to 30

Young, whole

30 to 45

Parsnips:


Older, whole

45 to 90

Whole

20 to 40

Sliced or diced

15 to 25

Quartered

8 to 15

Beet greens, young

5 to 15

Peas

12 to 16

Broccoli, heavy stalks,


Potatoes:


split

10 to 15

Whole, medium-sized

25 to 40

Brussels sprouts

15 to 20

Quartered

20 to 25

Cabbage:


Diced

10 to 15

Shredded

3 to 10

Rutabagas, pared, cut up

20 to 30

Quartered

10 to 15

Spinach

8 to 10

Carrots:


Squash

8 to 15

Young, whole

15 to 20

Sweet potatoes, whole

35 to 55

Older, whole

20 to 30

Tomatoes, cut-up

7 to 15

Sliced or diced

10 to 20

Turnips:


Cauliflower


Cut-up

10 to 20

Separated

8 to 15

Whole

20 to 30

Whole

15 to 25

Turnip greens

10 to 30

Reference:

Consumer and Food Economics Research Division Agricultural Research Service. 1971. Family
Fare: A Guide to Good Nutrition. USDA, Washington, D.C.