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Department of Agriculture Regional Field Unit VII Mandaue City, Cebu

Introduction Foods consumed by urban dwellers mostly come from far-off barangays/provinces, making food very expensive. Total food expenditures consumed at home is 43.9% (based on the 1997 Family Income and Expenditures, NSO) of the total home expenditures. Through “Urban Agriculture”, city dwellers will have the chance to eat freshly harvested fruits and vegetables since they grow it themselves. One approach to Urban Agriculture is “Container farming” which is the use of recycled containers like plastic bags, plastic caps, plastic bottles, used tires, tin cans, bamboos and other containers that can hold planting medium can be used for planting. Any individual can grow his own vegetable garden as long as there is available space with access to sunlight and air. Container farming has plus factors: food production will increase, it saves money, prevents hunger and malnutrition , helps green the environment, it reduced air pollution and the volume of garbages. Organic garbage such as kitchen scraps or anything that decays may be processed into compost, which will be used as growing medium. Engaging into “Container farming” helps promote strong family relationships, ecological balance in urban living will be practiced, and it reintroduced the love of nature which city dwellers have longed for. Any individual who engages into container farming will be spiritually and emotionally invigorated. It gives the grower a sense of purpose and a rewarding occupation to those unemployed. Engaging into this activity adds to the welfare of the urban dwellers. With container farming, you don’t just talk about improving the environment, but you’re actually doing something about it.



Planning Your Container Farm 1. Location • Any location will do as long as it has access to a minimum of 6 hours sunlight each day. • The amount of air movement and water source are another factor to consider in container gardening Insufficient air movement will cause the plants to get waterclogged and will induced the growth of fungus, that will lead the plant to rot. 2. Choosing what to plant • One’s container farm is a microcosm of vegetative life on earth, it is very important to remember that there should be “bio-diversity”. This means, that we should mimic how nature provided us with food. - edible herbs - vegetables - fruit bearing trees - ornamental - medicinal plants 3. Different types of vegetables that can be grown in containers • A bio-diversified planting makes difficult for insect pests to attack one specific plant because some plants harbor natural immunity and protective capabilities against certain pests. Ex. Marigold plant (ornamental) planted around a patch of broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, eggplant, tomato, and peppers will ward off pests from attacking. 3.1. Leafy vegetables Example: pechay lettuce cabbage mustard sweet potato tops kangkong alugbati spinach ■


3.2 Root or bulb crops Example: onion radish garlic carrots sweet potato turnips (singkamas) 3.3. Beans Example: munggo string beans snow peas (chicharo) 3.4. Fruit Vegetables Example: eggplant okra

mung beans

tomato sweet pepper

3.5. Flower Vegetables Example: cauliflower broccoli 3.6. Vine Fruits Vegetables Example: squash cucumber a mpalaya upo patola sayote 3.7. Tree Fruits Vegetables Example: malunggay camansi 3.8. Herbs Example: thyme basil rosemary sure

o regano

3.9. Mushrooms Example: pleurotus (oyster mushroom) Black fungus (Tainga ng daga)



4. Planting medium preparation • Factors to be considered for a planting medium: , The growing medium must be porous , Have a good deal of air inside , Well – drained soil

• Ideal Soil Mixture: , (For loam soil) 1 part loam soil plus 1 part

compost (composted manure) plus 1 part rice hull or coconut coir dust (1:1:1).

1 ka parte sa balason nga yuta

1 ka parte sa compost (biya sa hayop ug uban pa)

1 ka parte sa panit sa humay o ginabas

sinagol nga yuta

, (For clay soil) 1 part clay soil plus 2 parts compost (composted manure) plus 1 part of rice hull or coir dust (1:1:1).

1 ka parte sa kulonon nga yuta

2 ka parte sa compost (biya sa hayop ug uban pa)

1 ka parte sa panit sa humay o ginabas

• Sources of Soil , river soil , garden soil , organic commercial soil , compost soil


sinagol nga yuta

5. Ways of making compost • Compost pit , The area should be 2.5 meters long and 1.5 meters wide with a depth of 1.5 to 2.5 meters. , Make a compost pit in a location that is not immediately visible like the backyard, near the kitchen or service area. , Put into the compost pit all dry leaves, grasses, cut branches of trees, wilted flowers, over ripe fruits and kitchen refuse such as fruit peels and vegetable leaves, all cut up and mix thoroughly for easy decomposition. , When the pit reached ground level, sprinkle with a handful of ammonium sulfate per square meter. Then top with 15 centimeters of garden soil, kitchen refuse and soak the pit with water. Sprinkle the top with lime or calcium carbonate. Follow the layering procedure. (Note: In the absence of ammonium sulfate, use chicken dung which is a good source of nitrogen activator of decomposition. Remember to cover it with a thin layer of soil to avoid flies hovering the area.)

, It will take 2 to 3 months to fully decomposed the materials. â–


• Using rice sacks , Chop garden and kitchen scraps, mix thoroughly and wet them with water. , Put the mixture into the nylon sacks and tie it. , Place the sack in a shady corner to decompose. To compost animal manure, place them in a slightly shaded place and cover with grass, or rice straw or sawdust to keep flies and rodents from swarming on the manure. Leave for 3 to 6 months to decompose. Animal manure can also be placed in a compost pit. Cover the manure with the excavated soil. Mix or turn the manure weekly or twice a week to have a well composted manure within three to four weeks. (A well composted manure don’t have any smell, have dark brown color and looks like a chocolate crumbs. • Using drum , Choose a drum that is free from toxic chemicals. , Cut a half-circle opening from the top of the drum. Drill three (3) holes in the center of the top cover on both the attached and the detached cover. , Wire the covers together so the drum will have a hinged top cover. Then attached another wire to the curved side of the drum to hold the lid together.


, Drill 1 cm holes all over the drum, up and down the cylinder walls and in the bottom to provide air circulation. , Fill the drum three quarters full of composting materials, moisten and close the lid. , Tip the drum on its side and roll it a few times. Do this everyday for three to four weeks and compost is ready for use in the garden. 6. Choosing Containers • In designing your container farm garden always keep design goals in mind. • If goal is recycling and finding long term use for object that was normally thrown out in the garbage, the following can be used. , native basket wares and wooden containers , Used household wares , Transform mineral water bottles into decorative pots

Used household wares Native Basket wares and Wooden container Oak barrel, drum and tin can for shrubs and trees Transform mineral water bottles into decorative pots Glass and ceramic wares


, Glass and ceramic wares , Recycling tin cans , Recycling plastic gallon containers , Recycling old tires , Bamboo poles , Recycling gutters

Creating drainage holes in containers: All containers should have drainage holes to avoid waterclogging. For tin cans: Make drainage holes 5-7.5 cm (2-3 in.) from the bottom of the container. Fill the container with a layer of small stones to create water reservoir which will hold water in the container so that plants will have a continuous supply of water. Fill the can with compost mix until 3/4 full. For plastic gallon water: Cut plastic gallon bottle into 2 parts, heat an icepick over a flame. Use the icepick to punch 5 cm hole (2 in.) above the base of the gallon. Wire the top portion of the plastic gallon and punch holes around the neck.



Recycling Various Plant Containers One of the most important aspects of container farming is recycling. Finding alternative uses for household items which were thrown out in the garbage as non-biodegradable waste products will help lessen pollution. a) Recyling Tin Cans

1. Soak cans in a basin of water overnight to remove label. 2. Make 3 drainage holes 5cm (2 in.) from the bottom of the can. Remove the top cover with a can opener. 3. Brush the interior and exterior with enamel paint and let it dry. 4. Decorate as desired.

b) Recycling Plastic Gallon Containers 1. Soak and clean the plastic container with detergent and bleach solution to remove all residue. 2. Cut the top portion for a wider surface area for planting. Leave the handle attached to the container. 3. Use heated scissor or knife to punch a 5 cm hole (2 in.) from the bottom of the container. 4. Use permanent markers to draw designs or paint it with enamel.



c) Recycling Old Tires to Grow Upright Plants 1. Soak and clean the plastic container with detergent and bleach solution to remove all residue. 2. Line the rimless tire with a black trash bag punched with drainage holes to hold the soil mixture. 3. Fill the rimless tire lined with trash bag with a layer of stones, then add a layer of ideal soil mixture with a clay pot filled with ideal soil mixture placed in the center of the of the soil mixture to help check the moisture content of the potting medium. Water only when the soil in the pot is dry when touched. Top with newspaper mulch after planting the seedling. 4. The tires should be placed on top of hollow blocks to prevent the absorption of too much heat from the cement pavement.


10 â–

d) Recycling Old Tires to Grow Vines Old tires can also be used in growing vine vegetables in a Christmas-tree like trellis. Put the tires over plywood. Anchor the bamboo poles by nailing wooden supports on the bottom of the pole. The supports must be nailed to the sides of the tires to anchor them properly to the bottom. 1. The bottom of the pole should be nailed to 2 pieces of wood to be attached to the tire. 2. The GI wires should be nailed to the tires to serve as trellis of the vine vegetables. 3. This type is suitable for small fruit vegetables with small leaves like pipino, ampalaya, kangkong and kamote.

e) Gutters in an A-Type Frame Used gutters can be converted into planters. Retouch used gutters by drilling drainage holes in 10 cm (4 in.) intervals on the side along the length of the gutters., then construct a frame holder with ball casters to make the gutter garden mobile. This type of container should be watered regularly as it holds very little soil. You can plant assorted vegetables in an A-type bamboo frame with ball casters for easy transport. â–

11 â–

f) Using Bamboo Poles to Grow Vine Vegetables Bamboo pole may be used to grow vine vegetables like kangkong, kamote and alugbati. 1. Make 4 drainage holes on top of each node of the bamboo pole. 2. Make a rectangular “windows” on the top side of the top node. Position each “window” on the opposite side of the preceding bamboo node. 3. Nail the bottom of the pole on two pieces of wood forming an “X” for support so that the pole can stand upright.

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7. Sourcing of Planting Materials:

• accredited seed growers • accredited seed suppliers • government experiment stations • NGO, Municipal and Provincial Agriculturist Office.

8. Methods of sowing vegetable seeds • Direct seeding Vegetables that are directly seeded: radish, sugar beets, carrots, okra, papaya, beans, cucumber, bottle guord (upo), dishrag gourd (patola), squash, ampalaya, watermelon, melon, and wintermelon. Process of direct seeding: 1. Soil mixture must be sterilized either by putting it in direct fire or by pouring boiling water over it placing the soil mixture in metal tray or fine mesh aluminum screen Allow soil to cool for at least 12 hours. 2. Lay your seeds on top of the soil. Make a hole in the soil with a depth of 2/3 the size of the seed being planted. 3. Put a thin layer of soil to cover seed. 4. Eight to ten days after seedling emerges, uproot extra seedling in the container and leave the biggest and the most vigorous seedling to continue growing.

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• Sowing seedbox Vegetables that need to be sown: pechay, mustard, lettuce, celery, swamp cabbge, amaranth (kulitis) cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, tomatoes and peppers. Stryopor fruit boxes can be used as container for sowing seeds. Process of sowing: 1. Clean the styropor fruit box by washing with detergent solution. Seed box must have sides with a minimum height of 7.5 cm. 2. Fill the styropor box with sterile ideal growing mixture until about 2/3 full. 3. Sow 2 or 3 seeds per centimeter in a row. Each row should be 5 cm away from the next row. 4. Sprinkle the seeds with a thin layer of fine soil until completely covered. Water the newly sown seeds thoroughly for the first 3-5 days. The planting medium should always be kept moist. 5. Place the seed box in a sheltered area to keep it away from heavy rains but it should get a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight daily.

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9. Transplanting Transplant seedlings 2 to 3 weeks after seedlings have been germinated. Transplant late in the afternoon to prevent “transplanting shock” and to speed up recovery. Process of transplanting: 1. Water seedlings in the seed box thoroughly. 2. Choose a potting container large enough to accommodate the full grown plant. 3. Fill-up the container with the sterilized soil mixture, using a pointed stick. Make a hole in the soil mixture large enough to accommodate the roots of the seedlings. 4. Carefully tease out the seedling from the seed box using the pointed stick. Lift the seedling by its leaves and carefully replant them into the prepared holes using the pointed stick to firm out the soil.Water the seedling to settle the soil around it. 5. Place the newly transplanted seedling in a sheltered area away from direct sunlight for 2 to 3 days to prevent burning. Once the leaves start turning green and stiff, slowly expose it to more sunlight. 6. Place damp newspaper mulch on the soil mixture to preserve moisture and prevent weeds from growing.

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10. Watering The ideal time to water the plant is from 8 o’clock to 9 o’clock in the morning. If the weather is not too hot, water once a day but if its too hot, water it twice a day, in the morning and afternoon. 11. Weeding • Cultivate the soil to allow air to enter the potting medium and encourages bigger and healthier roots for the plants. Cultivate only around the perimeter of the plants outer leaves with a depth of 5-7.5 cm below the soil level to prevent from disturbing the deeper root system of the pants. • Remove weeds. 12. Fertilization In container farming, it is recommended to use the natural or organic fertilization which is much cheaper compared to commercial fertilizers. Top dress the container with well-composted manure or compost every two weeks. Place one or two handfuls of compost on top of the soil per plant. Washed water from rice can be recycled by watering them to the plants, so with the last rinsing water from fish and meat. Using chemical fertilizer is not advisable for container farm, garden because it allows the build up of acidity in the soil. Excess acid and salts affects the plants. Plants leaves also become succulent.

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13. Pests and Diseases • It is recommended to use the natural and organic way of controlling pests and diseases. • It is also recommended to use “companion planting” to encourage beneficial insects and to discourage pest from eating and destroying the plants. Companion planting means that there are some plants when planted beside other plants discourages insects to be attracted to the main crops. • Physical control is recommended: , Remove eggs, larvae or pupae of insects. Remove and burn infected plants parts , Hang a yellow card coated with grease so that the insects will stick to the card . Insects are attracted to the color yellow • Allow air to circulate freely. • Use resistant varieties of seeds. • If diseases cannot be controlled, the use of chemical pesticide /fungicide is recommended. 14. Harvesting • Harvest plants at the right maturity age. A rule of thumb harvest early in the morning or late afternoon. • Harvest vegetables and fruits right before cooking or eating to retain the sugar content. • For leafy vegetables like pechay, lettuce and cabbages, harvesting first and lower leaves is called “priming”.

Reference: Urban Agriculture Book, CLSU, Nueva Ecija ■

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Container Farming



Gihubad ug giandam sa:


CROPS SECTOR OPERATIONS DIVISION DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE-7 Subangdaku, Mandaue City, Cebu Tel. No. 268-5187, 268-9804 2011

Department of Agriculture  

Guide for Urban Gardening

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