Kangkong tips, literally

Miniature kangkong garden
CHINESE KANGKONG. Throwaway stems are revived in a miniature semi-aquatic environment made of recycled 1-liter plastic bottles.

When you buy a bunch of kangkong tops from the market, and prepare it in the kitchen for, say, sinigang or adobo, don’t throw away the thick and tough but still-green stems from which you pinched off the tender shoots and leaves. Continue reading “Kangkong tips, literally”

Schools must have gardening programs for kids

In sixth grade, one of my favorite teachers Mr. Serapion Metilla introduced us to serious gardening. I became the president of the school’s garden club, and with him as adviser, we became weekend gardeners complete with a large greenhouse, a complete toolshed, and a corps of young and enthusiastic volunteers.

IRAIA thoughts
IRAIA thoughts

Mr. Metilla (who lived nearby in a mini-tropical forest environment, a stone’s throw away from the Sacred Heart parish church) supplied us with all the plant stocks, seedlings, and garden lore we needed. On weekends, we combined our garden work with Scout activities (since he was also the scoutmaster), including occasional overnight camp-outs on the school grounds. This further increased our volunteer force and hours. Continue reading “Schools must have gardening programs for kids”

The banana is dead. Long live the banana!

Have you ever witnessed the execution of royalty in real life? I have, many times. In fact, I have had the honor of serving as the executioner quite a few times. Last weekend, I made sure to take pictures to show you how we do it in my secret corner of the world.

The royal victim isn’t a person. It’s one of the two maturing banana fruit bunches that I had selected for a quick harvest, before a possible strong storm came in. I consider the banana as the king of tropical fruits, thus the reference to royalty.

I should clarify that after a banana “tree” (the trunk is not woody, it’s actually an overgrown soft-plant stalk) bears a single bunch of fruits, it starts to dry up and die. After the maturing bunch is harvested, what a farmer does is to cut down the useless trunk, and thus give way for small adjacent suckers to grow into a new banana “tree.”

Thus, the axiom “The king is dead, long live the king” applies to banana trees as well.

Image 1. The executioner sharpens the death weapon — a peasant’s
scythe — on a whetstone.

banana 1
Image 1. The executioner sharpens the death weapon -- a peasant's scythe -- on a whetstone.

Continue reading “The banana is dead. Long live the banana!”