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Flor Gozon Tarriela & Gidget Roceles Jimenez Illustrated & designed by Liza Flores

Published by Conquest for Christ Foundation Inc. 2nd Floor Saguittarius Buidling H.V. de la Costa st., Salcedo Village Phone: +63 (2) 867.1055 Š Copyright 2010 Flor Gozon Tarriela and Gidget Roceles Jimenez Book design and illustration by Liza Flores Consultant : Maria Teresa Madamba

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer, who may quote brief passages in a review. ISBN 978-971-8698-10-5

THANK YOU! We would like to dedicate this book to our families: to our dear mother and grandmother and great grandmother Carolina Lapus Gozon; Our families Ed, Edmin, Maggie, CJ, Ted, Vanessa, Tom, Tricia, Nando and Natalia; Joel, Jaime, Bianca and Sofie and Kay for all their love and support through out the whole book making process. We would also like to thank Vanessa Andres Tarriela, the “S� girls Sammy Westfall and Sofie Jimenez for helping start this project with their research and drawings; for Bianca Jimenez, Alex Westfall, Nicki Westfall and Gabie Ong for their creative contributions; for Vicky Martinez, Melissa Martinez, Fely Sadio, Noah Manarang, Vida Ongsiako, Lydia Robledo and Sammy for the pictures; Trixie Madamba for her valuable editing and consulting; the best natural farming and gardening teachers: 2009 Secretary of Agriculture Awardee for Organic Farming Andry Lim and his wife Joji Gamboa; Tere Perez; Dante de Lima, Sister Isyang; and Liza Flores for her beautiful book designs and illustrations. ~ Flor & Gidget

Table of Contents


A Note from Flor!


The Natural Story

37 All In the Family…

10 Our Ecosystem –

the magic machine of life

13 Plants – The Natural Food Processor 15 Parts of a Plant 16 17

Activity #1: PLANT MAZE Activity #2: GROWING MONGO SEEDS

19 The Essential Ingredients 20 Sun 21 Water 22 Soil 23 Soil in the Philippines 24 Plant Vitamins 25 Composting 27 Vermi-compost 28


30 Create Your Own Natural Garden 31 The Plant Planner 32


33 Gardening In A Small Space 35 Tools of the Trade


38 Onions/Garlic 39 Lettuce and Cucumber 40 Tomato and Squash 41 Basil


43 Filipino Wild Flower Salad 44 Squash Soup / Pesto 45 Sun-dried Tomato/ Sofie’s Sun-dried

Tomato & Basil Pesto Pasta

46 Pruning and Weeding 47 Why Prune?

Controlling Weeds

48 God’s Pharmacy 49 Organic Pesticides 52 Glossary 54 Bibliography



A note from Flor!


Xavi CJ


I thought about this book to introduce kids and aspiring gardeners to the wonderful benefits of natural gardening. If you continue to read on, you will discover the important roles that worms and garbage play when trying to grow something naturally or organically (as it is sometimes called). But more importantly, what I would really like for you to learn is that the real key to successful natural gardening is found in the soil.


The soil is the source of life. Often times we simply take soil as just one of the basic ingredients of start up gardening. However, as you know more about the soil, you will discover how it sustains not only plants but millions of micro-organisms, all happily participating in God’s perfect cycle of life. The soil is alive and we should learn to take care of it!

Max & Gabbie


Alex Sammy


Healthy soil produces healthy plants. As you enter the world of natural gardening, you will not only get to play with fun, wriggling worms without getting in trouble but also get to impress your mom by saving grocery bills and recycling your household garbage as well. And, if you are successful with your garden, you could actually end up growing some vegetables or herbs that you can use as ingredients for a yummy, healthy meal. Now that would really be impressive!


With this book I hope you will see how easy it is to grow things naturally and have some fun while you are at it! And as you understand how plants should best be grown, I hope this book can also help you make healthier food choices in the future.



Happy gardening! Flor


The Natural Story

When God created life, He created man, animals, plants and the Earth’s natural elements to all happily interact and be dependent on each other in order to survive. The whole ecosystem was designed perfectly. It worked until man decided that he wanted redder apples, longer bananas, perfectly shaped mangoes and more, much, much more.


So man came up with miracle growing formulas, and started using artificial fertilizers and potent pesticides to make more vegetables and fruits look spot-free and shiny. They were produced in mass quantities. The fruit and vegetable stands never looked better.

Fortunately, people figured out what the problem was. They had to stop using the harmful substances that they thought would improve production. They realized that such methods would cause more harm than good.

But no one really stopped to ask if the produce was better for your health. And what’s more, no one really knew how badly these artificial chemicals would affect the natural balance of the ecosystem. When the rains came and brought these bug killing poisons into lakes, rivers and even oceans, they were on their way to creating havoc in many of the surrounding ecosystems. They started killing seaweed, fish and eventually even birds that fed on the fish. Soon, some bird species were on their way to becoming endangered.

They looked back at Nature’s ways and saw how living things are interconnected and live to sustain each other. As we began appreciating and realizing how efficient this system was, the term ‘organic’ took on more meaning. Organic gardening really just means growing fruits, herbs and vegetables as naturally as possible.


Our ecosystem - the magic machine of life!

Consumer Industries Mankind Mammals Snakes Birds Fish Insects

Food Food Preservation Logging Fishing Mining

Starch Protein Fats Vitamins Minerals

Vegetation Vegetation can convert carbon dioxide and water into starch. More plants, more food available for animals.



Respiration Transpiration Evaporation Water and Mineral Uptake

Rivers, Lakes Soil Wetlands Estuaries Bays, Seas, Oceans



Waste: High Volume Toxic Faeces, Urine Dead Bodies Leaves, Wood Over-Ripe Fruits



Respiration Rain

Decomposition Ammonium Nitrite Nitrate Phosphate Potassium Micro-Nutrients Examples: Calcium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Zinc

An ecosystem is a community of living things interacting with each other and its natural environment. Practically everything in this interdependent community that we live in has its own special contribution to the circle of life. Just like all the nuts and bolts of a machine, each part was somehow designed to complement one another to help make things work. We have been provided with everything we need to sustain life. In this interactive scenario, the cycle starts with a seed growing in a soil teeming with microorganisms hard at work providing much needed nutrients to the plants. It also gives off much needed carbon dioxide and heat in a process called respiration. When this seed grows into a plant, it makes food as the producer through an important process called photosynthesis. The producer is consumed in the food chain that progresses through a hierarchy of consumers, which include both animals and humans. Then the wastes and remains of dead plants and animals are broken down and “recycled� into nutrients by the very microorganisms, the decomposers, that got the first little seed started on its way.


And look! I have given you the seed-bearing plants throughout the earth, and all the fruit trees for your food. And I have given all the grass and plants to the animals and birds for their food. Genesis 1:29-30


PLANTS: The Natural Food Processor It’s hard to believe that, among all living things on Earth, only plants can manufacture food. This is why they are called producers. All the rest of us on the food chain are consumers. With the basic raw materials of water, carbon dioxide and sunlight, plants use all their parts to create simple sugars and starches for consumers to eat.


Here’s how the parts of the plant all work together: IT ALL STARTS FROM M E!

A seed is a self-contained transportable plant starter kit. It contains a seed coat, a tiny embryo and enough food to nourish it until it finds the right conditions to germinate and grow.

Leaves sprout when the seed splits apart. As they grow, they become the plant’s crucial entry and exit points above ground. They inhale carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen. When it gets hot, water also transpires out of the plant through openings in the leaves called stomata. It is in the leaves where most of the plant’s food-making process called photosynthesis takes place. Leaves are considered a plant’s food factories.

The stem is considered a plant’s plumbing system through which water and other nutrients travel. It also provides support and connects all the major parts of the plant. 14

The roots absorb the necessary ingredients, like nutrients and water, which the plants need to grow. They also anchor the plant into the soil.

stamen stylar column petal

A flower contains the plant’s reproductive organs. When a plant is fully grown, it grows a bud that eventually opens up into a flower. A flower’s nectar, scent and color attract birds and insects, like bees. They carry pollen from other flowers of the same species to fertilize the egg in the flower’s ovary.

Did you know that some seeds could lay dormant for many, many years before they decide to germinate?


pedicel (flower stalk)

A fruit is the plant’s container of seeds. When a pollen grain fertilizes the egg in the flower’s ovary, an embryo starts to grow. As the flower dies, the embryo grows into a seed. The fruit grows to create a protective cover around the seed. This is how some kinds of flowers eventually become fruits that we can eat.

seed (inside)

Oftentimes, these fruits are colorful and sweet enough to eat. When they are ripe enough to break open, the seeds are ready for distribution and germination.

Seeds are perfectionists. They require three important conditions before they will decide to germinate or start to grow. These are: 1. The right temperature (room temperature; not so cold and not so hot) 2. The right amount of moisture (slightly wet but not soggy) 3. The right location (partly shaded; not directly under the sun) If only one of these conditions is met, they will simply not germinate.

And, did you know the coconut is the BIGGEST SEED in the world? 15


Making a Plant Maze Materials you will need: • Shoebox with a cover • Cardboard

small toys

mongo seedling

• Small objects you can use as obstacles such as small toys • Scissors • Tape • Soil • Toilet cardboard roll that can fit inside a shoebox

toilet cardboard roll

• Mongo bean that has sprouted

What to do: 1. Cut a small round hole at one end of the shoebox. 2. Put cardboard partitions along the inside of the box and secure them with tape. Make sure that each partition has a round hole like the one you cut out at the end of the shoebox. Distribute small objects at the bottom of the shoebox.

cardboard partitions with round holes

3. Plant the mongo seedling in a toilet cardboard roll with damp soil. The roll will protect the seedling and eventually disintegrate because it is biodegradable. 4. Cover the shoebox and find a sunny spot to put it in. Make sure the hole at the end of the box is directly facing the sunlight. 5. Water the mongo plant as needed. Observe how it grows over the next few days.


h shoebox wit le o round h


Growing Mongo Seeds Materials you will need:

mongo seedlings!

• A few mongo seeds • A small dish • Tissue or toilet paper • Water

What to do: 1. Fold a few pieces of tissue or toilet paper and put them on a small dish. 2. Wet the paper with a few drops of water until it is damp. Make sure it does not get soggy. 3. Sprinkle a few seeds on the paper, and set the dish by the window. 4. Check the paper everyday. Make sure it is damp by adding a few drops of water when needed. 5. Observe the growth of the mongo seeds. Identify the plant parts that sprout out of the seeds.

tissue or toilet paper

ngo seeds Think about how the mo paper. manage to grow on t paper Could the tissue or toile found contain nutrients also in real soil?


Now here is what I am trying to say: All of you together are the one body of Christ and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it. 1 Corinthian 12:27


The Essential Ingredients All living things need air, water and food to live. The way we grow depends a lot upon how much of these essentials we get. Plants thrive with good sunlight, enough water and nutritious soil. Since the Philippines is situated very near the equator, we are fortunate to have an abundant supply of both water and sunlight for the most part of the year. This is the reason why we only have two seasons instead of four. They are the wet and dry seasons. The dry season is usually from November to April. The period between May to October is usually considered the wet season. Most fruit bearing crops are best planted a month or two before the wet season.



Plants need sunlight for the process of manufacturing food called photosynthesis. Different plants require various amounts of sunlight. There are plants that grow quite well under direct sunlight and those that don’t. Many of the plants that flower or bear fruit require direct sunlight. However, there are also plants that do well both in sunlight and shaded areas. Some can even stay indoors for as long as 6 months. Plants inhale the carbon dioxide that we breathe out, while they exhale oxygen, which we breathe in. This is how plants and people depend upon and benefit each other. It is the sun that provides the energy to power the process of photosynthesis. As plants combine with water and carbon dioxide with the help of the sun, plants are able to make simple sugars and starches that becomes its food.



Most plants need to be watered regularly. How much water you give depends on the climate, the type of soil and what kind of plant you have. When choosing a place to plant, accessibility to water is very important for the survival and well being of the plant. Another thing to consider is how the water drains around your plant area. You can actually drown your plant with too much water. Most of the time, you can just water a plant once a day. The best way to find out if the plant is dry is if its leaves are wilted. You can also poke the soil to see if it has any moisture in it. Some indoor plants may not even need to be watered daily. During the summer however, you may have to water a plant two to three times a day, depending on how hot it is. On rainy days, there is no need to water the plants. There is no fixed rule on watering. Ideally, you should only water the plant when the soil is dry. More plants die from overwatering rather than under watering. When watering your plants, it is best to give plants a good soaking. This ensures that the water gets to the roots that will absorb it. If there is too little water, it may not find its way down to the roots. This is especially vital to young plants that need to develop a strong root system in order to support them.

The best time to water your plants is either early morning or late in the afternoon. This is because water evaporates faster under direct sun. During the middle of the day, much of the water would simply be wasted as it evaporates into the air through the leaves. Natural rainfall affects gardens. In regions of low rainfall, we can maximize rainwater by creating canals and small hills or bumps of soil throughout the garden to prevent the water from running off into gutters or drains. In the northern part of the Philippines, where most typhoon patterns form from November to February and there is often heavy rainfall, you need to direct the flow so that the garden beds remain well drained and not water logged. You can do this by building garden beds and making surface drainage channels.

You can also create a bog garden, a wet area where you can grow moisture-loving plants like water lilies, lotuses, taro, and kangkong. 21


You may not realize it, but the soil is one of the most important things there is on Earth. It forms the foundation for most living things. You can even trace almost any kind of food back to it. Soil holds the roots of plants and is actually their source of water and nutrients. Although it is often called “dirt” and may even just seem to be a bunch pebbles and broken rocks to you, it is made up of so much more. Soil is actually alive and teeming with life! It is home to millions of living organisms like bacteria, fungi, insects and worms. It is also Nature’s greatest recycler. It is in soil that these organisms decompose waste materials and once-living things. They also aerate the soil, making passageways for air, as they move around and break it up. These organisms are quite self-sufficient and manage to thrive within this environment among the humus, or remains of dead plants and animals that have since broken down and become a part of the soil. These dead plants and animals make up the once-living matter in the soil. These materials have gone through the long process of decomposition, making the soil rich and fertile. A very important life cycle occurs in the soil that benefits both plants and animals. It is called the Nitrogen Cycle. Nitrogen in the air is practically useless in its gaseous form. So, certain kinds of bacteria in the soil need to “fix” it. These bacteria convert the nitrogen found in dead plants and animals into 22

a compound called ammonia. This process makes it possible for the plants to absorb the ammonia from the soil. When animals eat plants, they also make good use of this compound in order to grow. Later, other kinds of bacteria release nitrogen in its gaseous form back into the atmosphere, and the cycle begins again. As a budding gardener, you should be aware of the texture of the soil in your garden. It will help you determine which plants will be easy or difficult to grow. Texture has to do with the non-living components in the soil, particularly the finely crumbled pieces of rocks and minerals. There are different types of soil: clay, silt, sand, or a combination of these called loam. Clay, because it is made of the smallest nonliving particles in the soil, is usually dense and sticky. It can hold a lot of nutrients. But you wouldn’t want too much clay in your soil, because it does not usually let water or air go through. Sand is composed of the biggest non-living particles in the soil. It feels rough. It can also hold nutrients. Unlike clay, it can drain water efficiently. The nonliving particles of silt fall between clay and sand. Silt is powdery and smooth. A combination of all three types, called loam, is best for growing most kinds of plants. It is an ideal texture for organisms to interact with organic matter. It also provides drainage while holding a sufficient amount of moisture.


Soil in the Philippines Soil in most parts of the Philippines has been found to be more lacking in vital nutrients over the years. Using agriculture as their main source of livelihood, many have practiced a combination of slashing and burning of previously used croplands and used artificial fertilizers that contain harmful chemicals. It is primarily because of these agricultural practices as well as frequent logging–cutting down so many trees and rock mining in the same areas which have been the cause of our soil’s fast decay. Most of the unseen microorganisms that live in the soil have slowly been killed off as farmers try to “prepare” the soil for planting, season after season. And when the rains come, with the lack of trees and many natural barriers, flooding can also wash away many of the remaining nutrients that help sustain plant growth naturally.



There is a pressing need to re-fertilize our soils so that we can bring it back to life again. We must recreate the lost nutrients of both living things and dead organic matter and put these back into our disrupted ecosystem.


Plant Vitamins


There are many creative ways you can make sure that you have healthy soil. One way is called soil conditioning. Just as healthy and organic food is better for our bodies, soil can be fertilized, or enriched with nutrients from decomposed waste materials and onceliving things that are best for plants. These organic fertilizers are like plant vitamins that promote plant growth. And just as we take all sorts of vitamins and supplements for our body, there are also many different nutrients for plants. Nutrients such as compost, vermicast, dry leaf molds, bone meals, fish gills etc.


You can also add any of these to improve the conditioning of the soil to improve the growth and health of plants: 1. Ipa (old burnt rice hull) is light and does not harden and compact easily.


2. Coco Coir (fibers removed from the outer shell of a coconut) is good for maintaining moisture 3. River Sand is excellent for preventing water logging (too much water in the soil). 4. Mulch (covering of dry leaves) helps maintain moisture Let’s GO!

Did you know that mulch naturally attracts earthworms as well? 24

Understanding what really happens in composting REALLY GOOD STUFF!!!

A mulching we will go... Mulching involves putting protective material such as dry leaves over the surface of the soil to prevent much of its moisture from escaping. In time the dry leaves break down and get incorporated into the soil. Mulching also protects the soil from direct sunlight and from becoming too hard and tight, so that the roots can grow more efficiently.


God really has a good sense of humor. He allows us to grow healthy food from rotten stuff just by taking the time to recycle our garbage. Composting, which is the process of speeding up the decay of organic matter, is one good way to quickly enrich and fertilize the soil. It is one of the most important steps in natural gardening. Did you know that vegetable scraps, fruit peelings, grass clippings actually make almost half of household waste? We can make these kinds of garbage useful by making compost. Compost is an organic fertilizer concoction composed of decomposed remains of plants and animals. We can make compost by recycling kitchen food scraps in a bin. Fruits and vegetable peels, eggshells and coffee grounds are all good examples of scraps that can be put into the bin. It is best to keep a separate bin for the waste you can compost under your kitchen sink to distinguish it from waste that should not be recycled such as meat and dairy products that can attract unwanted vermin into our homes. It is important to keep in mind that all things that go into this rotting concoction must come from once-living things. This is where we find the important connection between organic gardening and composting. Therefore, it is important to first understand the process of decomposition. How does it happen?



Left to nature’s own devices, the soil is naturally fertilized when dead plants and animals are broken down or decomposed by organisms in the soil—worms, insects, fungi and bacteria. As millions of these organisms—many of them microscopic—eat and digest these materials, they break them down into organic fertilizer—compost—to benefit the seeds and plants that naturally take root in the soil. The decomposition process usually takes quite some time. You can try to hasten this process by making your own compost heaps in bins. Let’s look at the important steps to follow in making your own compost pile—organic fertilizer—for your garden:

quick-rotting materials

sprinkle water

1. Decide whether you will keep a bin inside your house or in your backyard. 2. Collect quick-rotting materials—coffee grounds, tea bags, grass clippings, vegetable and fruit peelings; slow-rotting materials—paper, cardboard, dried, fallen leaves, straw, branches, twigs, bark can also be used. Strip or chop these into small pieces 3. At the base of your bin, arrange slow-rotting materials like branches and twigs to make sure that air will filter through your heap. 4. Put alternate layers of quick-rotting and slow-rotting materials mixed with soil. 5. Sprinkle each layer lightly with water. You can use a laundry spray bottle for this. Make sure that it is clean. 6. Never mix in meat or dairy products into your compost heap. 7. Mix the heap regularly with a pitchfork or a stick. 8. In a few weeks, because of the decomposing action of tiny microbes in your bin, the waste materials will be broken down into compost, which is mostly dark brown in color. 26


slow-rotting materials


Did you know that worm and garbage together can help hasten the process of making compost?

Afric Nightcrawanlers

Putting worms such as the African Nightcrawler in the compost bin can help create a whole lot of compost fast because they reproduce so quickly. And believe it or not, if done properly even odor free! When you put worms into your compost bin, they will eat the rotting materials and produce worm poop called castings. When transferred to your soil, these castings will not only make the plants stronger against common insect pests, they will also fertilize the soil with rich nutrients. Worms are voracious eaters. They can pack in as much food as their own weight in a single day. And when they do, the microorganisms that they consume from the organic decay multiply to eight times their original number.

Yu m m m m m m m

Vermi Cast


Vermi Compost



Let’s get into Vermi-culture.


I- CU LTU RE is ju st another name fo The process sirmpraising worms. propagating worm ly involves with the compost s in the bin along aterial recycled from daily kitcmhe n scraps.

What you need:

How to make the bins:

• A 12-quart plastic bin with a lid (used ice cream container). • A sharp object to poke holes with (nail) • 100 African night crawlers (most prolific and accessible for our local gardens) • Old newspapers • Water • Kitchen scraps: coffee grounds, grass clippings, tea bags, vegetable and fruit peelings, dead, fallen leaves, branches, twigs, bark, paper, cardboard (do not include scraps of meat)

1. Make small holes all along the lid of your container. 2. Tear 1-inch strips of newspaper and fill the container 3/4 full. Then compact them down to an inch in height. 3. Sprinkle newspaper strips with water to dampen them. Do not wet them completely. Too much water can lead to mold growth and even drown your worms. 4. Transfer the clean worms from their original containers. Make sure you don’t transfer any of the old materials from their original container. 5. Put in kitchen scraps mixed in with soil as food for your worms. Don’t put too much! As a rule of thumb, 100 worms in a bin only need one banana peel and 1/3 cup of coffee grounds. 6. Cover the bin completely so that the worms are in complete darkness. 7. You don’t need to check your worms everyday. You can check them once every two weeks to see if their newspapers are still damp (a dry bin can kill the worms) or if they need some more kitchen scraps. Your compost bin should not emit a rotten or moldy smell. In a few weeks, you can harvest some of the worm’s castings and composted matter and use them as fertilizer. 8. Worms reproduce quite quickly because each cocoon can contain as much as 50 baby worms. You may want to transfer them to other containers so they do not get so crowded. This will also make it easier to harvest their castings and compost.


Here is another story illustrating what the Kingdom of God is like: “A farmer sowed his field, and went away, and as the days went by, the seeds grew and grew without his help. For the soil made the seeds grow. First a leaf-blade pushed through, and later the wheat-heads formed and finally the grain ripened, and then the farmer came at once with his sickle and harvested it. Mark 4:26-29


Creating Your Own Natural Garden Before you get your green thumb going, you must first know the answer to the three most important questions of planting: 1. What do you want to plant: seeds, stem cuttings, bulbs or seedlings? 2. Where do you want to plant: in your backyard or in small containers? 3. When do you want to plant so that you can harvest a produce at a specific time during the year?

Did you know that natural gardens attract butterflies?



You can get a cutting by slicing off a little branch of a mother plant. It is important that cuttings are taken from the top of the plant and cut properly (not broken off).

What to do: 1. With a sharp and clean knife, cut at least 2 nodes of stem. Remove leaves at its base. 2. Plant the cuttings in pot filled with soil.

Although the most basic way to grow a plant is from a seed, plants can also grow from different parts of the plant. A new plant can grow from the leaves (i.e. cacti), stem (i.e. roses) and roots (i.e. ginger). Determine how to plan and create your own organic garden. It is important to take note that in tropical areas with moderately good weather most of the year, cuttings are most often recommended for planting. It speeds up planting and harvesting time by skipping the time required for seed germination.

3. Water the cuttings and put in a shaded area out of direct sunlight. 4. When the cuttings have grown roots, you may transfer them to a larger pot or your garden. Roots that can be planted are called tuberous roots. A popular choice is the sweet potato. You plant the whole root. After some shoots start to sprout, you can separate these from the mother root and replant them. After several weeks, the seeds, cuttings, roots will become young plants that need to be transferred to larger individual containers or pots. Gently remove the plant with the roots intact, careful to protect the stem, and lower into the new bigger pot. Gently pour soil with compost around the root ball, patting lightly. Fill the sides of the pot with more compost to remove air spaces. Make sure leaves do not touch the soil. You should water immediately after planting.


Plant Activity #3:

Plant it and it will grow. Growing plants from seeds is fun and easy! You can even collect your own seeds from flowering plants such as anthuriums, cosmos and marigold.

What you will need: • Seeds • Seedling tray or box that can hold a lot of soil • Soil

What to do: 1. Fill seedling tray or plain box with mixed soil, like a combination of sand, compost, rice hull. 2. For small seeds, scatter thinly in a straight line along the soil. 3. For big seeds, use a pointed stick to make holes in the soil for each seed. Put the seed in the hole. Cover the seed with just enough compost or sand to conceal it. Seed should be sown at a depth equal to its thickness. 4. Pat the surface gently and press down after planting the seeds. You can use your hand or a flat piece of wood. 5. Water the seeds lightly so that the soil is not disturbed. You can use a misting bottle used for laundry or a can with small holes at the bottom so that the water can flow evenly. Keep seedlings moist all the time.

Seeds come in different shapes and sizes. Some even look like butterflies!


6. Put the seedlings in the shade until leaves start to appear, then transfer the box to an area with more sunlight. You can put toilet paper cardboard rolls around each seedling if you want added protection. The rolls are biodegradable and will just disappear into the ground in time. Compare the seeds grown in the soil and with damp toilet paper. Is there a difference?

Gardening in a small space

The amount of space you have can also actually determine the type of garden you want to start out with. If you have a small space, you can plant the seedlings in a neat row to grow more seedlings. If there is a corner in your backyard for you to use, then clear out a little patch and try to maximize planting as many plants as you can in that little space. Before you start planting, make sure you plan how your garden will look like.

Your own garden map When you map out your garden, consider these points: 1. Plant your seedlings in neat rows to maximize space. It also allows you to make sure that the compost benefits are spread more evenly among the plants. Planting in rows also allows you to make sure that you create a proper drainage system for your plants. Make sure that there is always a way for the water to flow from your plants, especially when it rains. 3. Vegetables need sunny spaces. Don’t tuck away your garden in a dark corner. 4. Plant different types of vegetables that can be harvested at different times of the year so that you can maximize the space and you can have a productive garden all year round.

Nice, neat rows! GOOD JOB!

5. Plant companion plants that can complement each other. Some plants’ roots give off some substances into the soil that may be harmful to other plants. You have to be careful about planting some plants that are not good together.


hmph You should avoid having these combinations in your garden: • Potatoes with tomatoes and squash


• Beans with onions • Broccoli with tomato • Carrots with dill

Best Friendsr! Foreve

There are also some substances from some plants that help other plants grow. This practice of intercropping may also be beneficial to the soil as different plants require different nutrients. Not all the nutrients are used up all the same time and others have time to be replenished. There are also some substances from some plants that help other plants grow. This practice of intercropping may also be beneficial to the soil as different plants require different nutrients. Not all the nutrients are used up all the same time and others have time to be replenished. Here are some examples of plants that are good companion plants in tropical countries such as ours:

I Like You

• Cabbage with French beans, celery, onions, garlic, peas and potatoes • Lettuce with carrots, radish, strawberries, onions and garlic • Tomatoes with carrots, onions, garlic, parsley and basil • Carrots with leeks, lettuce, onions, garlic, peas and tomatoes • Onions, garlic with carrots, lettuce, and tomatoes


Gardening tools should always be kept clean and sharp.

Tools of the trade You can’t go to battle without a few basic gardening tools. Here is a list of what you will need for your gardening project:

Watering can, spray or hose Used for watering plants Trowel Useful for digging holes Hand fork Used for lifting small plants or loosening soil when weeding Garden gloves Used to keep hands clean while gardening and to protect against dirt and thorns Pots & containers Used to contain and display plants

Hang them in a dry area. After every use, wash the tool in water and towel dry. Dip in alcohol especially after you have pruned an unhealthy or diseased branch of a plant or tree. Some tools need to be oiled for maintenance.

Labels and markers Used to help you identify plants Pruners Used to cut off stems and branches Gardening knife Used for cutting and harvesting vegetables and flowers


Day and night alike belong to you; you made the starlight and the sun. All nature is within your hands; you make the summer and winter too.� Psalms 74: 16-17


All In The Family‌ I inherited my love of gardening from my mother Arling. My sister Kay and I share a lettuce farm together called Garden Fresh. We also grow various herbs in our respective gardens. Kay also has her own Carolina Bamboo Farm while I have my own Flor’s Garden. My nieces and nephews (Ramon Madrid, chairboy of Tsikiting Gubat and the Ramon (Magsaysay) Forest of Antipolo, Ysabel Gana, Gabbie Gozon, Anja Abrogar, Joaquin and Mateo Jimenez, Alex, Sammy and Nicki Westfall; Bianca and Sofie Jimenez and Gabie and Xavi Ong) all seem to have caught the gardening bug as well. My nieces Sam, Sofie, Bianca, Alex, Nicki and Gabie all wanted to grow their very own organic gardens. They decided to see if they can grow an edible garden for me and their grandmother (my sister Kay). They decided on a simple menu of squash soup, a Filipino wild flower salad and sundried tomato/basil pasta. For this they decided they would try to grow: Onions, Garlic, Lettuce, Tomato, Cucumber, Squash, and Basil. Good luck, girls! ~ Tita Flor


Gardening Guide Here is an easy guide my nieces used to help them grow their gardens.

Onions/Garlic How to plant:

When to plant:

Am I a fruit or a veggie?

Care Tips:

Plant seedlings or dried bulbs 10-15cm apart within a row. Each row should be 30cm apart. October to January Regular water and cultivating is required.

When to HarvesT: 90

to 110 days

Onion Basics: Onions are best grown in cool weather in moist, well-drained, loamy soil.

What’s the difference between a fruit and a vegetable? A fruit is the part of the plant that surrounds the seeds. All other edible parts of the plant are considered vegetables. Did you know that pumpkins, peppers, peapods, cucumbers, eggplants and corn kernels are all considered fruits? Radishes, celery, carrots and lettuce are considered vegetables because they have no seeds.


There are two most common bulb onions: The red and the yellow onions. They are grown in the northern and central part of the Philippines. Yellow onions are most often planted early in the onion planting season, in October, while red onions can be planted as late as January. Of the two, the red variety has a longer storage life. Other varieties such as red shallots and white onions are also grown in other parts of the Philippines. When transplanting seedlings from a seed box to your garden, make sure that the roots are not damaged. The white portion of the plant should be completely covered by the soil surface. Garlic Basics: Garlic is best grown during cool weather in sandy and loamy soil. When planting garlic cloves, use only the big pieces. Separate the individual cloves a day before planting. Do not store garlic in the refrigerator as the humidity may shorten their shelf life. Store them in a cool, dry place.



How to plant:

Plant lettuce seeds in a seed box and transplant when it is 3 to 6 cm high

How to plant:

Plant cucumber seeds 1-1/2 meters apart and 1-1/2 centimeters into the ground.

When to plant:

October to March. You can plant lettuce every two months within this period so there is more to harvest.

When to plant:

March to May

Care Tips:

Water frequently and in large amounts. Lack of sufficient water may cause the cucumber to become bitter.

Harvest Time:

40 to 59 days

Care Tips:

Harvest Time:

Needs plenty of water and sunshine. Try to pick off snails if they attach themselves to the leaves. Since lettuce has shallow roots, it is advisable to water them lightly. 30 to 35 days

Lettuce Basics: Lettuce is best planted in loamy soil in cool weather (60-70o F)

Cucumber basics: Cucumber is best planted in well-drained, sandy soil that is at least 65ยบ Fahrenheit. The most common variety in the Philippines is dark green in color with white or black markings. They are the ones most commonly used in table salads.

The different types of lettuce you can plant are leaf, romaine, iceberg, butter head.




How to plant:

Plant tomato seeds in compost 1 cm apart along a row. Each row should be 60 to 80 cm apart. Seedlings can be transplanted at 3 to 5 cm. Make sure roots are preserved when transplanting.

When to plant:

October to March

Care Tips:

Water regularly to always keep the soil moist. You can also put mulch to help keep the soil moist. Tomatoes need plenty of sun.

Harvest Time:

40 to 59 days

Tomato Basics: Tomatoes are best grown in sandy or loamy soil in hot and humid weather (55-60oF). The two types of tomatoes grown in the Philippines are”table” tomatoes planted during both wet and dry seasons, and “processing” tomatoes which are grown during the dry season and are used to make sauces and catsup. Tomatoes contain Lycopene, an antioxidant that has been known to help fight cancer.


How to plant:

When to plant:

Plant squash 3 or 4 seeds together 3 cm into the ground. Each row should be 1.5 m apart. April to June, and

September to February

Care Tips:

Water to keep roots moist but not wet.

Harvest Time:

4 months. When you harvest you should make sure that the stem is 5 cm long to keep it fresh longer.

Squash basics: Squash is best grown in sandy or loamy soil. It is a good source of vitamin A and Lutein, an antioxidant that is necessary for good vision and lowers the risk of getting cataracts. It can be grown in the Philippines throughout the year. Squash is neither a fruit nor a vegetable. It’s the one produce my nieces are so excited about. Are pumpkins and squash the same thing? No, they are not. But they belong to the same family. You can distinguish them by their stems. Pumpkins usually have harder stems. They also are usually associated with ornamental purposes such as Jack-o’-lanterns. Squash is more commonly used in cooking. However, they are interchangeable in some recipes like my nieces’ favorite soup.

Healing Herbs! Grow your own basil Basil leaves are not only good for cooking. The many varieties of basil can be used for many purposes. The large leaf Italian basil, commonly known as the Neapolitan basil, can be used as companion plants to help repel pests in your garden. Other varieties can also be used as healing remedies for stomach cramps, headaches, cough, the common cold, and even for relieving anxieties. What a handy herb to have around!

Growing herbs like basil can be exciting because they can be used for so many things such as cooking, medicine and even cosmetics. Oregano, for example, is good for cough and the common cold. Rosemary, chamomile, peppermint, chives, parsley are some other good herbs to grow. The list goes on! Most herbs like plenty of sunshine and thrive in sandy soil. Many herbs can grow well together even in small containers provided that these have drainage holes.

What you will need: 1. Basil seeds or seedlings. The seeds would take a week or two before they start to sprout and may not grow as well in a pot of soil. 2. A big enough pot to put in a few seedlings. 3. Good healthy soil. Herb plants usually like sandy soil through which water flows easily. 4. Lots of sun. Basil plants love the sun. Place them where they can get full direct sunlight, preferably by the kitchen window if you plan to use their leaves for cooking.


5. Small amount of water. Basil plants don’t like water on their leaves and stems. Water your basil plants as close to the ground as possible. That is why it is best to plant basil during the dry season. They will have a higher chance of survival.



Give us our food again today, as usual. Matthew 26:11

Filipino Wild Flower Salad


Grow your own lunch! Recipes with ingredients from my nieces’ natural garden:

Filipino wild flower salad


Ingredients • 10 lettuce leaves • 2 medium tomatoes • 1 cucumber, sliced into thin strips • 1 small onion, diced • A handful of talinum & takip kuhol leaves • Ternate and/or Cosmos flowers (optional)

Takip Kuhol

For the salad dressing

• ¼ cup sugar • ¼ cup vinegar • 1 tsp sesame oil • A pinch of salt • A pinch of ground black pepper


Procedure 1. Tear the lettuce leaves into medium-sized pieces. 2. Cut each tomato into medium-sized wedges. 3. Toss the lettuce leaves, tomatoes, sliced cucumber and diced onion in a large bowl. You can add the edible flowers for color if you like. 4. Pour dressing over the salad before serving.


For the salad dressing

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well so that the sugar and salt dissolve completely. This can be easily done by putting all the ingredients in a small bottle. Close the cap tightly and shake the ingredients well. 43

Squash soup

Pesto sauce



• Squash, peeled and cut into cubes

• 2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves (make sure to remove the stems)

• 1 Liter Beef broth (dissolve one beef broth cube in 1 Liter of boiling water) • 250 mL all-purpose cream

• ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

• Salt and pepper

• ½ cup olive oil

• Bacon bits

• ¼ cup nuts

• Parsley

• Salt

Procedure 1. Boil the squash cubes in order to soften them. 2. Puree Squash in a food processor. 3. In a pot, mix the squash with beef broth and bring to a boil. 4. Add salt and pepper to taste. 5. Remove the pot from the heat source and mix in the all-purpose cream. 6. Serve in a bowl with bacon bits and a garnish of parsley.


• 2 large cloves garlic

• Freshly ground black pepper

Procedure 1. Put the basil leaves, garlic, grated cheese and chopped nuts in a food processor or blender. 2. With the machine running on low, slowly add the olive oil. 3. Sprinkle in some salt and pepper. 4. Once it has become a consistent, pasty mixture, it is ready to serve on pasta, bread or salad.

Sun dried tomato

Sofie’s Sundried tomato & basil pesto pasta



• Fresh ripe tomatoes

• A few slivers of Sundried tomatoes

• Salt

• 8-9 cloves of Garlic

• Sugar

• 14 pieces of fresh Basil leaves

• Olive oil

• 4 tablespoons of Pesto sauce


• A pinch of Salt

1. Cut fresh ripe tomatoes lengthwise. 2. Remove tomato seeds. 3. Mix a pinch each of salt and sugar. 4. Sprinkle the salt-sugar mixture evenly on all the tomatoes.

• Black pepper to taste • Chili flakes • Parmesan cheese • Sun dried tomato oil or plain olive oil


5. Dry tomatoes under direct sun for 3 days.

1. Put all the ingredients into a blender or food processor.

6. Cover with a net to avoid insects.

2. Blend all ingredients together. It’s that simple!

7. Take tomatoes inside at night to avoid exposure to moisture from dew. 8. After 3 days, you can cover the tomatoes in olive oil.

3. Pour over cooked spaghetti or angel hair pasta and serve.

9. Store the tomatoes in olive oil in a clean bottle.

Basil 45

Giving your plants a haircut and a shave:

Pruning & Weeding


Why Prune?

Controlling weeds

Pruning is important to maintaining healthy and attractive plants. Pruning encourages new growth, like flowers and fruits. Pruned plants are more resistant to disease. Pruning promotes bushy growth, thins out leaves for additional light and air movement, and even controls their height and weight.

Weeds are plants that grow where they are not wanted, and spread in the wrong places. How do you control them? Easy! Simply pull them out at the root by hand.

When should you prune? Ideally, pruning is done after flowering, and in beginning of the rainy season. It is also best to prune when you see many of the dry twigs or branches about to fall off the plant. You can prune some flowering plants, by cutting off some of their flowers. You can never have enough fresh cut flowers to brighten your household. When the flower starts to droop, the stem can used to grow new plants. Leave some flowers to attract beautiful butterflies to your garden.

You can also put old newspapers and sprinkle cut grass or dry leaves around the base of the plant to avoid weed growth. This is another form of mulching. There are a number of weeds though, that are actually useful. There are some people who even say that all plants are created equal because they were all created for some purpose. Some weeds are edible and even medicinal. We call them “weedicinals,” (coined by Flor’s friend Sally). It is important to know how to identify them. There are plenty of these weeds in Flor’s Garden. They are grown and cultivated in Flor’s Garden collectively as “God’s Pharmacy”.

I wish I had flowers too.

Get a haircut! 47

GOD’S PHARMACY Edible weeds or “weedibles” that grow in my garden are the wild pipino, the talinum, the medicinal weed makahiya, or the “bashful mimosa” (Mimosa pudica) and the damong maria (Artemisia vulgaris). The damong maria is a must in every garden. I was in my garden one day and accidentally cut my finger. It was bleeding a lot and when I squeezed juice from damong maria leaves, the bleeding stopped instantly and the cut immediately closed. Another valuable weed is the katakataka (Bryophyllum pinnatum), which is also a good plant for sore aches and joints. I also like to call these plants collectively “God’s pharmacy”, my natural first aid kit.





Wild Pipino




Organic Pesticides? Hey! What’s happening there?

We want to stress that aside from trying to plant things without using chemical fertilizers, it is equally important to remember to use natural remedies if you encounter any pest problems. In our attempt to use more effective means of killing harmful pests with potent artificial chemicals, we have learned that they not only pose health risks but also end up killing those pests that actually help protect gardens. You may actually be upsetting nature’s ecological balance if you try to eliminate certain kinds of pests without determining what purpose they may serve in your garden. We truly believe that God created everything for a purpose. Not all insects are bad. Some of them may actually be good for your garden. Here are some remedies you can find in your home to help protect your garden: 1. Chalk, charcoal, Cayenne pepper, moistened coffee grounds and Borax kill ants. 2. Garlic spray kills cutworms, whiteflies, wireworms and slugs. Make garlic spray by adding 1 pounded bulb of garlic, minced medium onion, and one tablespoon of cayenne pepper to one quart of water and letting it sit for one hour. After adding one tablespoon of liquid dish soap, it is ready to use. 3. Several tablespoons of ground cloves mixed with one gallon of water kills flying insects.

We’re dead!

OH , NO !



Coffee Grounds

4. Tobacco spray kills all kinds of bugs, caterpillars, aphids and malicious worms. Just add 1 cup of tobacco to 1 gallon of water and let sit for for 24 hours. It’s color should be same as mild tea. Do not use on tomatoes, eggplants or peppers.


Sparkling-clean gardening tools... ...make happy, healthy plants!

The best way to control plant disease is to repel and avoid it. Don’t wait for pests before acting on them! Prevention is Key! Here are other ways to make sure you won’t need any pesticides at all: 1. Clean your gardening tools each time you use them to remove fungus spores and prevent these from contaminating your plants. 2. Try intercropping by planting your crops close to each other in order to maximize your gardening space. Some diseases are plant-specific and will not affect other kinds of plants. 3. Companion planting can also be done. Some plants repel insects. You can plant them alongside other plants you want to harvest in order to help protect those plants. 4. Remove diseased parts of your plants immediately so as not to spread to other parts of the plant or nearby plants. I recommend that you burn only diseased plants so these do not contaminate healthy plants. 5. Keep your plants healthy by keeping the soil healthy to ward off diseases.


He lops off every branch that doesn’t produce. And he prunes those branches that bear fruit for even larger crops. John 15:2-3



Antioxidant a substance in food that fights “free radicals,� or molecules that damage the cells in your body. Biodegradable a term that refers to materials that can easily break down or dissolve naturally without harming the environment. Compost remains of dead plants and animals that have been decomposed or broken down by living organisms like bacteria, insects and fungi. Companion Planting the practice of growing different crops close to each other in a bed in order to control pollination and pests. Consumer an organism that gets its energy by feeding on plants and other living things

Decomposer an organism that breaks down wastes and remains of dead organisms, helping return raw materials to the environment. Decomposition a process that causes something to rot. Ecosystem a biological community of the living organisms that interact with each other in a specific physical area. Food Chain a series of events in which organisms eat other organisms and obtain energy. Food Web a complex pattern of food chains within an ecosystem. Fertilizers nutrients in the soil that help promote the health and growth of plants. Germination when a seed starts to sprout.


Humus black or brownish remains of dead plants and animals that cannot be further broken down or decomposed. Intercropping growing different plants close to each other in order to have a greater yield of crop. Mulching covering the soil with organic matter such as leaves and twigs, in order to prevent the excessive evaporation of moisture, the growth of weeds and erosion; mulching enriches the soil and promotes the growth of plants. Nitrogen Cycle the process of changing Nitrogen in the atmosphere into a compound that can be used by plants and animals. Organic a term used by gardeners to refer to or describe anything derived or comes from living things.

Pesticide a substance that helps prevent or destroy pests; pests can include fungi, weeds, insects and microorganisms.

Soil Conditioning the practice of adding organic materials to the soil in order to promote the growth of plants and improve their health.

Pollination occurs when a yellow powder called pollen found in the middle of a flower (the anthler) moves to another part of the flower.

Soil pH a measure of the soil’s health. It is measured by the balance of its acidity (sweetness) and alkaline (sourness) levels.

Photosynthesis a process by which plants use the energy of sunlight to convert water and carbon dioxide in order to produce sugars, starches and oxygen.

Transpiration occurs when a plant perspires or when water vapor exits through the tiny pores in their leaves.

Producer an organism that can make its own food. Pruning the practice of trimming or cutting off twigs and branches. Respiration a process (combined with photosynthesis) which allows stored energy from the sun in plants to be released.

Vermi-composting, also called Vermi-culture the process by which earthworms break down organic matter, providing soil-like natural fertilizers to enrich the soil; a way of recycling organic waste matter. Weeding removing undesirable and troublesome wild plants and roots from the garden.



1. Books Barter, Guy. Learn to Garden. Camberwell, Vic.: Dorling Kindersley, 2005.

Villareal, Ruben L., Subramanian Shanmugasundaram, and Madan Mohan Lal.

Fryer, Lee, Leigh Bradford, Judith Goodman, Riper Frank. Van, and Carl Bradford. A Child’s Organic Garden. Washington, D.C.: Acropolis, 1989.

Chadha. A Primer on Vegetable Gardening. Tainan: AVRDC, 1993.

Gibbons, Gail. From Seed to Plant. New York: Holiday House, 1991. McCorquodale, Elizabeth “Kids in the Garden” London: Black Dog Publishing Limited 2010 McKay, Kim, and Jenny Bonnin “True Green Kids: 100 Things You Can Do to Save the Planet” Florida: National Geographic Children’s Books, 2008 Sangatanan, Pedro D., and Rone Sangatanan. Quezon City: Busy Distributors, 2000. Sangatanan, Pedro D., and Rone Sangatanan. Quezon City: Wiseman’s Trading, 2000. Scholl, Elizabeth J. Organic Gardening for Kids. Hockessin, Del.: Mitchell Lane, 2010. Van Haute, Jef, and Lyds Q. Van Haute. Las Pinas: My Backyard Garden Publications, 2007.


Dolera, Nonie, Florento, Carmen, Lichauco, Maur and Tarriela, Flor Ooops… Don’t Throw Those Weeds Away! The Fern and Nature Society of the Philippines, Inc. Quezon City, Philippines 2002

2. Newspaper Articles Subido,Joy Angelica “The Family that plants together” Manila Bulletin, October 28, 2007 Tarriela, Flor G. “A garden’s potential-answers to global problems!” Manila Bulletin Business Option March 10, 2009 Tarriela, Flor G. “Banking, Gardening and Faith! Manila Bulletin Business Options November 1, 2007 Tarriela, Flor G. “Grow fresh air and green the environment; try vermiculture too! August 16, 2007

3. Web Site Articles “Ecosystems” org/teachers/lesson1.pdf (accessed Febraury 16, 2010) “Life Cycle of a Plant” (accessed July 25, 2009) “Plant Information”…/General%20 Plant%20Information/ Plant%20info.htm (accessed July 25, 2009) Jeanroy, Amy. “How to make your own worm bin” herb gardens (accessed February 17, 2010) “Bulb Onion Production Guide” html (accessed June 26, 2010) “Growing Cucumber” Pinoy farmer April 18, 2008 (accessed June 26, 2010) Sim, Dennis G “Green Filipino-style salad” vegetablessala2/r/FilipinoGreenSalad.htm (accessed September 12, 2010)

“Growing High-Value Fruits and Vegetables” Agricultural Business Week. www.agribusinessweek. com/growing-high-value-fruitsand vegetables-part-4/ (accessed June 26, 2010) “How to Grow Garlic or Bawang” Pinoy Farmer March 13, 2008 how-to-grow-garlic-or-bawang. html (accessed June 26, 2010) “Sibuyas/Onions” Marketman March 26, 2005. (accessed June 26, 2010) Tacio, Henrylito D. “Tomato: Not just for salads Davao: SunStar Davao March 17, 2009. tomato-not-just-for-salads (accessed June 25, 2010) “ThinkQuest” Oracle ThinkQuest Library. Web. 28 May 2010. General Plant Information/Plant infor.htm “Growing High-Value Fruits and Vegetables” Agricultural Business Week vegetables-part-5/ (accessed June 26, 2010)

“Growing Flowers in the Philippines” ArticleSeen February 10, 2009 Article_Growing-Flowers-in the Philippines_14.aspx (accessed June 25, 2010) “Guide to Successful Squash Production” (accessed June 26, 2010) Addison, Keith “Nutrient Starved Soils Lead to Nutrient Starved People” Asian Business February 1983 (accessed June 24, 2010) “Socioeconomic Root Causes of Biodiversity Loss in the Philippines” downloads/phil.pdf (accessed June 24, 2010)

4. Useful Websites



Flor Gozon Tarriela is a natural gardener and an environmentalist. She developed Flor’s Garden in Antipolo, a bird and butterfly sanctuary , and a nature learning destination. She co-authored Ooops…Don’t Throw those Weeds Away and wrote the Natures Pharmacy section in Wellness in the Islands by Elizabeth Reyes. She has also collaborated with Butch Jimenez for the Coincidence or Miracle? book series . She is the Chairman of Philippine National Bank. She was formerly Undersecretary of Finance and was the first Filipina Vice President of Citibank N.A. She was past president of the Bank Administration Institute of the Philippines and sits in the board of various organizations. She is married to lawyer Edgar and their children Edmin, Ted and Tricia are all happily married. She is a doting “mamita” to three adorable grand children with another one on the way. Gidget Roceles Jimenez is the author of the many best selling children’s books among which include Tubble Wubble, The Clumsy Little Turtle; Squirt Magert, The Fraidy Frog and Maya Maya Jumbolaya, The Big Bad Bully Bird. She is also the author of The Gift and The Poor Man’s Van of the Ramon Magsaysay Awardees Children’s Book Series. Her third science non-fiction book for kids Can We Live on Mars? won a Philippine National Children’s Book Award (2010). Her other books in this series are Can We Drink the Ocean? And Can We Plug into Lightning? She and her loving husband Joel, and kids Jaime, Bianca and Sofia happily co-exist with their many, many pets somewhere in the jungles of Makati, Philippines.


Liza Flores is a designer and illustrator. Liza is one-third of the design company, Studio Dialogo, which does identity, web and graphic design. She has illustrated 13 picture books, including Chenelyn! Chenelyn!, which won the 2000 Gintong Aklat Award. She was president of Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan (Ang INK) for 2004-2006.

The Secret is in the Soil  

A Beginner's Guide to Natural Gardening Written by Flor Tarriela & Gidget Jimenez Design & Illustration by Liza Flores

The Secret is in the Soil  

A Beginner's Guide to Natural Gardening Written by Flor Tarriela & Gidget Jimenez Design & Illustration by Liza Flores