Gardens and gardening have always been in the heart of philosophical discussion. In cultivating Mother Earth, we come across all sorts of questions, perhaps asking ourselves our purpose in life, or how a garden is an expression of one’s faith with the Garden of Eden reference…. or probably understanding how making your own crops is good in a time of recession, and economic failure. In fact, if you look back in time, Plato & Epicurus taught their students in gardens, even referring them as works of art, and drawing a parallel line to spirituality and higher level of thought. Whatever it is, there’s a philosophy and life behind the very act of gardening. Gardening is not limited to the garden in your backyard, but the big garden we know as Earth.
So what made Bobby & I decide to do this? Bobby has always been a big fan of growing own crops (as a budding chef, he wants to grow produce that he can prepare in the kitchen). I, on the other hand, have seen my grandparents and titas doing this both in the province and at home. I just never had time for it. But last Sunday, we finally opened my late Christmas gift to Bobby, 3 kits from MNL Grow Kits and started putting our green thumbs to good use.
I first heard about MNL Grow Kits sometime last year as I saw some of my friends using it, and sharing their experiences online. Lately, with the way the world is evolving, we are losing touch with Mother Earth — disrupting natural courses, continuously supporting the consumerist ideals, wrecking nature. I mean, this is our home and we’re suppose to do something to nurture it…. not fucking destroy it. But going back, MNL Grow Kits is the first ever organic plant kit in the Philippines. It was created by a team of kind-hearted and determined millennials who were inspired to create vital change in the urban gardening scene. They aspire a #GreenerMNL like some of us do. I can’t imagine Yñigo living in a city full of pollution, buildings and some ignorant people who can’t take care of their surroundings. I need trees swaying, creeper crawlers making those calming sounds at night, clean air blowing through my face, and everything else. I am not the most environmental person, but I love our Earth that much to start working on myself, and eventually setting a tradition for our family.
Last Sunday, we whipped out our handy kits. I got Bobby the Basil, Hot Pepper & Lettuce. I think what’s brilliant with MNL Grow Kits is how all their products were created with love. From the packaging, and its contents: coconut husk pot, seeds, fertilizer, good soil, and instructions —- you can really feel their advocacy.
Since the instructions indicated to use 3-5 seeds to be placed in the coconut husk, Bobby thought of planting it in our garden to see how it’ll turn out. But for your info, here’s how to grow your own plants at home (MNL Grow Kits & Bobby’s way):
MNL Grow Kits:
- Put an ample amount of soil on your pot. Leave a quarter of an inch from the soil and rim of the pot. Drench in water to prepare the right environment for the seeds to germinate.
- Put seeds in. Around 3-5 seeds will do.
- Cover it with plastic to keep the moisture in. Spray the plastic with water and make sure when you cover the pot, the moist side is facing the inside. Secure with a rubber brand.
- Continue spraying the inside 2x a day.
- Remove the plastic wrap around 5-8 days after — when there are visible sprouts already.
- Keep the soil moist by spraying it in the morning, and in the afternoon. We usually do it at around 10AM and 5PM.
- Once you have four true leaves, you can opt to take out the other seeds that didn’t sprout or just transfer it to another pot.
- Add fertilizer every 14 days after the sprout appears.
- Remember to place your pot where there’s sunlight.
- See what happens!!
- Dig a hole on some soil and make sure that the spot you pick hits the sunlight at certain points of the day.
- Dampen the soil by drenching it in water also (not too much cause you don’t want it to be mushy).
- Put the rest of the seedlings once you’ve put a layer of good soil. This is to ensure that it will help set the environment for your seeds to grow.
- Cover the area with the soil you took out as you were digging it earlier.
- Place a marker so you can remember where you put it.
- Moisten it by watering twice a day and see what happens!
Note that this process may not be the same for all, but it’s been working for us. We’re hoping it does for you too!
Our Sunday was a day well-spent as we preparing this while the dogs were running around, and Yñigo exploring. It felt just right. The act of gardening wasn’t just therapeutic (as Bobby would describe) but it is enlightening. As I was doing all of this, thoughts raced in through my head, and I wonder if other families are trying to also instill this way of life. Yeah, it may not work for all but teaching your kids the green thumb can help spark something in them. Children are all too innocent, and its in this stage in their lives where they absorb the fundamental values, knowledge and skills that they’ll eventually mature and develop as they grow up.
It’s something Bobby & I hope to end up in one day —- a place where we, as a family, can just be in touch with nature, implement strategies in nurturing it, and teaching Yñigo to love and give back to the Earth that has provided our necessities. Thank you again to MNL Grow Kits for jumpstarting our passion in helping Mother Nature again. I know we’ve been asleep and preoccupied with a lot of things, but with this, despite looking seemingly small, had a huge effect on us. Remember, it’s never too late to start on something, and it’s never too late to grow a garden when you can.