Tag Archives: tagaytay

hydroponic setup in Hotel Kimberly

this weekend, we had an unexpected rendezvous with hydroponics…

Long-time readers of this blog would know that we started our farming venture using a hydroponics system. Turo trained in the SNAP Hydroponics technology from the Institute of Plant Breeding in UP Los Banos. SNAP stands for Simple Nutrient Addition Program, and is a low-cost, low-maintenance, non-circulating hydroponics system. Our first commercial venture into growing lettuce and herbs used this system, was successful at first, but encountered so many problems once we tried to scale up.

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Fast forward to the present, we are now implementing organic production practices for growing vegetables. We have fully replaced our hydroponic setup and converted into an organic farm. While more labor-intensive, organic farming requires less inputs, produces better quality vegetables, and is more adaptive to weather and seasonal changes.

Just this weekend, however, we had an unexpected rendezvous with hydroponics.

We were in Tagaytay for the weekend to celebrate my father’s 56th We stayed overnight in Hotel Kimberly, a nice hotel quite secluded from the busy Tagaytay restaurant scene. We, and the kids especially, enjoyed our short, sweet stay here. In the morning we were eating breakfast at the buffet, and noticed that part of the buffet spread was a tray of leafy greens, stems on, roots intact, held together by a tiny bottlecap-sized plug. This looked all too familiar to us, we knew these were hydroponically grown.

After breakfast, we asked around in the kitchen where they get the lettuce plants being served at the buffet. This was Tagaytay, and we knew many farms growing these types abound in the area. To our surprise, the source of the lettuce plugs was a mini-hydroponic facility housed in the hotel itself!

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The hotel staff was kind enough to take us on a tour of their organic farm. Apparently, the organic farm is part of the hotel’s attractions. There were farm animals that guests can feed, ponies that kids could ride. We, of course, headed straight for the greenhouse once we saw it. It was tiny, about 50 sq.m. And it grew ALL the salad greens and herbs the hotel uses for its daily buffet! Now that is sustainable.

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The farm staff told us they were using SNAP, the very same hydroponic system we used before, but failed. But here, in this tiny greenhouse, the SNAP system seemed to work really well. The difference, we soon found out, is aeration. With the addition of an aquarium-type pump circulating the SNAP nutrient solution through the system, nutrient absorption increased. Consequently, well-nourished plants are healthy, disease-free and had a very good eating quality.

To be honest, were very impressed (almost envious) with the hotel’s hydroponic facility. They grew lettuces, rocket arugula, microgreens, and various herbs like basil, parsley and even rosemary.

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It felt serendipitous, actually, to be there, see a very efficient hydroponic system in place, providing fresh greens to a hotel kitchen, nonetheless. That tiny organic farm tour in a quaint hotel tucked away in Tagaytay roused our sleeping hydroponic bones in a totally unexpected way. It looks like Hydroponics 2.0 is going to be part of our present scheme of things.

ilog maria finds

And I continue to be a sucker for everything local, natural and hand made.

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Ilog Maria is a honey bee farm in Silang, Cavite. Just a few minutes drive from our in-law’s home in Dasmarinas. We’ve been seeing signs of the place each time we head to Tagaytay via Aguinaldo Highway but never really took the effort of going there. That was until last January. And then suddenly, we were honeybee lovers.

beeswax bars
beeswax bars

We already have a local source of wild organic honey at the Bee Project here in UPLB’s Institute of Biological Sciences. But Ilog Maria opened our eyes to a whole range of useful, everyday products made from all things bees.

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They have handmade soaps made from honey, beeswax and propolis, with variants like lavender or rosemary which are supposed to be great for energizing morning showers. Or charcoal which has a deodorizing effect.

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This time I bought the calamansi, sandalwood and charcoal variants, all three are supposed to have some kind of antibacterial or deodorizing effect. If it was just me taking showers in my household I would have done with just about any organic soap you can find in the market. But with my 2 rowdy boys and a farmer-husband, I need an everyday soap that has a good dose of antibacterial powers to keep my boys clean. So far I’m still on an active search. Let’s see how Ilog Maria soaps fare with respect to the germs in my boys’ bodies.

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They also sell beeswax candles. These are all handmade and when you hold them, the texture is just glorious. They are a bit expensive but the quality of the product easily speaks for its price. It was good thing I didn’t bring extra cash or we’d end up with going home with a manger-full of beeswax statue candles. But I swear, I’m going to buy candles on our next visit here. And if I can afford to, give them away as gifts for Christmas.

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Because it was a weekend of getting something for myself, I bought this handmade, beaded curtain which I plan to drape around the smallish entrance to our new kitchen (did I mention we’ll be moving to a new apartment?). The curtain wasn’t made from bee products or anything, but I did validate that it was made by a local community also in Silang. Still local, which is a good thing.

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I think I’m doing a good job of converting my household, and my extended family, into fans of all-natural products. Or maybe it’s just a matter of finding organic products that are of really good quality. Turo is now a huge fan of Ilog Maria’s Honey & Propolis Shampoo which he uses everyday together with 2 slices of calamansi as his conditioner.

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Just in case you’re headed for Tagaytay, you may want to pass by Ilog Maria farm and take a look at the range of honey bee based products they offer. You just might find something you can use everyday, and take the first steps to a chemical-free lifestyle.

 

To all things natural and crafted by hand!

tagaytay mahogany market

Turo & I were in Tagaytay yesterday on official business. Our meeting was at 2:30pm which gave us ample driving time past the 10:00am mark of the number coding scheme. We left at 11 and went on a slow drive to Tagaytay via C-5-SLEX-Daang Hari-Aguinaldo Highway route. Slow driving is such an indulgence these days we almost felt guilty on the road going there and back.

Continue reading tagaytay mahogany market