Ensuring steady supply of lowland vegetables in Cagayan Valley highlights in-house webinar

At the height of the restrictions to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, three research centers in DA-Cagayan Valley implemented a project to ensure the steady supply of vegetables in the community through mass propagation techniques of quality seeds and seedlings of lowland vegetables. DA-Cagayan Valley Research Center (CVRC) science research specialist Mary Jane B. Ibarra discussed the technologies used during the in-house webinar on 31 August 2022 via Facebook live. 

DA-CVRC, DA-Southern Cagayan Research Center, and Northern Cagayan Experiment Station produced 429,600 seedlings, 274.8 kilograms of open pollinated variety (OPV) vegetable seeds, 31.535 kg of indigenous vegetables seeds (ie. wild ampalaya, winged bean, and amaranth) and 31,400 seedlings of malunggay and katuray. These were provided to the partner households, youth, and farmers association. 

Through the project, 1,576 backyard gardens and 13 barangay communal gardens were established. These served as venues to showcase various technology interventions, such as the use of OPV seeds varieties, choosing the appropriate type of garden to be established, cultural management using the good agricultural practices and organic way of farming, seed saving, and seedling production. 

Iyong [seeds ng OPV] na gulay [at iba pang crops] ay pwede paulit-ulit na itamin  itanim basta alam natin ang proseso ng seed production. Unlike hybrid varieties na minsan lang pwedeng itanim tapos bibili na uli,” said Ibarra. 

For the type of garden to be used, she stated that usually backyard gardens are in typical raised beds or plots similar to how school gardens look like. They introduced a horizontal garden with the following plot sizes: 1 m by 5 m and 1 m by 10 m. This type of garden is best suited to backyards with productive soil. 

Vertical gardens were also introduced and installed in backyards that had been concreted or had poor soil conditions. This type of garden can be established using a variety of containers such as used sacks, various sizes of plastic bottles, polyvinyl chloride pipes, bamboo, and pails, depending on the vegetable to be planted. 

Ibarra added that the beneficiaries were also trained on seed saving, which refers to the production or recycling of seeds for the following growing season. The seeds are stored in recycled glass and plastic bottles together with charcoal, which serves as a desiccant to absorb moisture and prevent seed rotting. 

They also trained the recipients on how to produce their own seeds and seedlings. The beneficiaries also shared this technology to those considering establishing their own gardens. 

Through the project, four groups of youth and households were given low cost greenhouse where they can grow their own vegetable seedlings as a source of planting material and one of their businesses. (### Rena S. Hermoso)