October’s Optimistic Seedlings

By Michelle Domocol
Back to Inflourish: Cebu Blog

Gardening is a constant invitation to observe, experiment, and refine your plant growing techniques. October is an opportune time to learn new skills and sprout a wide range of optimistic seedlings.

In October, Cebu’s weather and rainfall is generally suited to planting squash seedlings, seeds of leafy vegetables, a few root crops, beans and more. Here are a few suggestions of specific vegetables you can plant from seed or seedling:

  • Leafy Vegetables: repolyo (cabbage), cauliflower, pechay, mustasa (mustard)
  • Onions: garlic (ahos), sibuyas bombay (onion)
  • Gourds: sikwa (luffa), calabasa (squash), kalubay (bottle gourd), ampalaya (bitter gourd), sayote (chayote)
  • Sun-loving veggies: kamatis (tomato), okra, taong (eggplant)
  • Roots: gabi (taro)

For a complete monthly planting list, download the free planting calender here.

This list above includes links to previous growing guides. Click on one of bold vegetable categories above to see my specific guides for squashes, leafy vegetables and more.

This past March, I introduced techniques like crop rotation. In that post, I explained how plants are grouped by their similar cultivation needs. Crop rotation is about enhancing plant compatibility.

Plant Incompatibility is when you place two vegetable groups with drastically different watering, sun, or soil requirements next to each other. Problems can occur. You may see stunted growth, leaf diseases from mineral deficiencies, mold, or pest infestations.

For more details, check out March: Food x Flower Gardens.

Below are some sample designs that integrate crop rotation groups and outdoor seating areas (Photos 1 to 3). The sample planting arrangements can be applied to home or school gardens. Each design features raised beds and plots with particular vegetable groupings. You’ll also notice pollinator attractants like cosmos and pest repellents like lemongrass.

A combination of Crop rotation groups, pollinator attractants and insect repellents ensure:

  • fertile soil (full of minerals and nutrients for healthy vegetables)
  • weed control, and
  • pest control
Photo 1. Design A

Leafy Vegetables & Onions
Combinations of repolyo (cabbage), cauliflower, pechay, and mustasa (mustard) are featured in all three designs. They all benefit from weekly watering and deep, fertilized soil. Remember you don’t need to grow all types of leafy vegetables in one space. You can combine 2 options like cauliflower and pechay.

Leafy vegetables and onions are commonly grown together (Photo 1 & 2). The members of the Onion family such as garlic and large white onions repel pests (like aphids and beetles) that can harm leafy vegetables.

Gourds like sikwa (luffa), calabasa (squash), kalubay (bottle gourd), ampalaya (bitter gourd), sayote (chayote) really thrive in compost-rich soil and mulch. When they grow together, you can easily monitor their leaves. Gourds require ventilation and trellising to prevent mould on the leaves and vegetables. When they are in the same garden section, you can gently tie their long vines to a trellis, net, arbor, pergola (Photo 1 & 3). For instance, in Healing Present’s farm, we’ve grown sayote with ampalaya on the same trellis.

Photo 2. Design B

Sun-loving veggies
Kamatis (tomato), okra, and taong (eggplant) can be grouped together as well (Photos 1 to 3). All three of these vegetables need plenty of water, sun exposure, heat and well-draining soil. They also need lots of nitrogen in their soil.

Photo 3. Design C

Different cultivars of gabi/taro (Colocasia esculenta) can grown near edges of ponds or swampy areas. If you include these root crops in shallow ponds make sure the roots are planted in soil (Photos 1 to 3). They do not have floating roots. In some parts of the Philippines, gabi is combined with other species of taros like Xanthosoma sagittifolium, giant taro (Alocasia macrorrhiza), and swamp taro (Cyrtosperma chamissonis).

I hope this intro to plant compatibility and crop rotation inspires you to explore new gardening techniques. Be that new seedling…so full of potential and optimism. Who knows? This month you may find a technique that boosts your garden’s growth. Green fingers crossed.

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