Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Bigger and Better

The 2nd Urban Agriculture trade show will be staged on Sept. 5 and 6 at the SM Mall of Asia. This is under the auspices of Manila Bulletin’s Agriculture Magazine and a sequel to the very successful event held last May at the Rockwell Tent in Makati.

The Rockwell Tent proved to be too small for the event and so it was transferred to a bigger venue this time, the spacious Mall of Asia in Pasay City.

The aim of the trade show is simple enough. It wants to showcase the latest practical technologies that will enable ordinary urban residents to do their own brand of gardening and farming, growing plants as well as raising small animals for home consumption or for sale to augment the family’s income.

For the busy urbanite, who does not have the time to water his plants every day, Dr. Eduardo Paningbatan, Jr. of UP Los Baños has come up with the practical aquaponics, which is growing vegetables and other plants with their roots submerged in water. Normally, we know that most vegetables (except kangkong) will not thrive in water because they will be deprived of oxygen. Well, Dr. Paningbatan devised a new technique that enables vegetables to thrive. He exhibited an example at the recent Agri-Kapihan at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City. The water container that he used was a blue plastic drum that was halved lengthwise. The drum was then filled with water. Atop the halved drum was welded wire that had slots big enough to accommodate plants grown in small recycled plastic cups. The plants were submerged in water and held upright by the welded wire. Why didn’t the vegetable wilt? Well, Dr. Paningbatan added algae in the water which provided the dissolved oxygen needed by the plants. He also put small tilapia to eat the wrigglers in case mosquitoes were present. Of course, he also added a special nutrient extract to nourish the plants.

One example of Dr. Paningbatan’s very healthy plants submerged in water is the Japanese variety of saluyot. The plants grow robust and blemish-free in the water. Other vegetables and herbs can also be grown in the same manner. Of course, many vegetables and herbs can be grown the conventional way in various containers available for the urban home. What is important is to supply the plants with the right growing medium, which can be mixtures of compost, carbonized rice hull, or other porous materials available like coco peat. You will get to know many of them in the agri trade show.

There will be organic and conventionally grown vegetables and fruits at the trade show, too, which attendees can buy. There will also be lectures on timely topics. See you there on Sept. 5 and 6. Entrance is free.

Source: http://www.mb.com.ph/bigger-and-better/
Written by: Zac Sarian


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