A retired public school teacher, Agapito Santiago, or “Pete” to his friends, had planted many trees during his 18 years at Caloocan High School. Those trees can already provide enough shade for students in Caloocan High School nowadays. Although, lately, Pete had expressed his frustration because number of trees had been cut down in that school just to give way to a covered court of the school.
He is tireless when it comes to gardening. This tirelessness had made him met both ends during the hardest times in their family. He juggled himself as a Practical Arts teacher in Caloocan High School and as a landscaper in Central Colleges of the Philippines
Limited space in his home did not prevent him from having a mini-vegetable farm. Since he could not plant on the ground, he used his creativity and made a vertical makeshift rack. On that vertical rack, he hanged plastic bottles of soft drinks that had been cut at the bottom. He put soil on it, planted seedlings on it, and put his organic fertilizer made out of decaying leaves and twigs on it. Yes, he never uses artificial fertilizer. He has a compost pit where he let dried leaves and twigs decay and turn itself into an organic fertilizer. Aside from that, harmful insecticides are also a no-no in Pete’s way of gardening. He uses giant, insect-like fans to scare away pests and harmful birds in his mini-farm. During extreme heat, insulation pads are put on the ground to cool down Pete’s mini-farm.
His makeshift rack is also very economical when it comes to water consumption. If you can see in the pictures, watering could be done only at the topmost rows of bottles. You will just have to let the water drip down to the lower rows and up to the last rows of bottles, which, if you will notice, are empty bottles. Why empty? The last rows of bottles serve as the collecting bottles, where water from upper rows accumulates. The collected water can be reused to water the plant again!
Pete, although a father of four successful children, never rest on his laurels..
Are garden-fresh, juicy, crunchy, and safe veggies impossible these days? Think again!