By Zac B. Sarian
FRUITS OF MINI CUCUMBER – Photo shows the miniature fruits of the perennial cucumber that can remain productive for several years, unlike the ordinary varieties in the market which die after just one cycle of fruiting. The small fruits can be eaten fresh as snack, made into pickles, used in salads, made into jam and other preparations. The perennial variety was publicized about three years ago but there were no available planting materials at that time.
SWEET FORTUNE – Photo shows Angelbert Tamayo of Candelaria, Quezon holding a packet of Sweet Fortune seeds while the other photo shows an ear that is fully-filled to the tip. From 13 kilos of Sweet Fortune seeds in his last planting, Angelbert was able to harvest more than 50,000 Class-A ears which fetched a high price. Ordinarily, 13 kilos of seeds of other sweet corn varieties would yield only about 19,500 Class-A ears.
PERENNIAL CUCUMBER PLANTING MATERIALS – A limited number of planting materials of the perennial mini cucumber is now available at the Sarian Farm in Teresa, Rizal. The propagation materials were supplied by a hobbyist grower who has had the variety in her garden for several years now. The seedlings can be planted in the ground or in a container. Four-month-old plants will start fruiting, according to the hobbyist.
PINK GUAVA FROM VIETNAM – The pink guava from Vietnam has been observed to adapt well to the growing conditions in the Philippines. Plants that are grown from seeds start bearing fruits in less than two years if given the right care. It should be adequately fertilized and under full sun. The fruit is sweet and juicy, very nice to eat.
KOREAN PEARL ONION – A handy plant to grow in the home garden is the Pearl Onion from Korea which is very convenient for home use. The thin cylindrical leaves have the characteristic flavor of the onion and can be used for garnishing congee or lugaw, arroz caldo, pansit and other food preparations. The Pearl Onion can be grown in containers. A few such plants can supply the requirements of an ordinary home. Propagations can also be sold for additional income.
HIGHLY NUTRITIOUS MEXICAN TREE SPINACH – One of the exotic plants that can be useful to homeowners is the Mexican tree spinach botanically known as Cnidoscolus chayamansa (aka Chaya) which is claimed to be packed with nutrients much higher than other leafy green vegetables. According to the internet, in terms of nutritive value, Chaya leaves have two to three times greater than most leafy green vegetables. For instance, Chaya leaves with a nutritive value of 14.9 is by far superior to ordinary spinach (6.4), amaranth (11.3), Chinese cabbage (7.0) and lettuce (5.4). The green leaves are cooked as vegetable in a wide variety of dishes.
Here are some new varieties you would love to try in your farm or garden. One of them is a mini cucumber that is perennial, one that will not die after one fruiting cycle. It can remain productive for several years.
This cultivar was first publicized some three years ago but there were no available planting materials then. Now, a hobbyist has come out that she has been growing some plants in her garden for several years already.
She provided us some planting materials which we propagated in our little farm. A limited number of planting materials are now available on a first-come-first served basis.
Our informant said that she saw some fruits being sold in an outlet in Subic in Zambales. The price is P400 per kilo. It is packed in 250-gram packs at P100 a pack.
A friend of ours who has previously planted a few rooted cuttings just allowed the plants to crawl on the ground. He observed that the vines are very prolific. In every node the flowers are all female. There seems to be no need for male flowers to pollinate them. That’s what they call parthenocarpic.
SWEET FORTUNE – This is a recently released sweet corn variety introduced by Ramgo International. Angelbert Tamayo of Candelaria, Quezon is so happy about the new sweet corn. The reason why? Well, from the 13 kilos of Sweet Fortune seeds that he planted, he was able to harvest more than 50,000 Class-A ears that fetched a high price in the market. Ordinarily, he said, a kilo of seeds of most other varieties would produce just about 1,500 Class-A cobs. Which means that 13 kilos of seeds would produce just about 19,500 Class-A ears.
Angelbert has other reasons to be happy about Sweet Fortune. The ears are big and they are fully filled with kernels to the tip. There are no incidences of unfilled grains.
Another reason why Angelbert loves Sweet Fortune is that it can be grown in both the wet and dry seasons. He himself can plant Sweet Fortune in any of the rainy months from June to December because it is resistant to rainy weather. It is said to be highly resistant to the Northern Corn Leaf Blight and Banded Leaf and Sheath Blight (Tuba).
Sweet Fortune seeds also have a high germination percentage. The plants are also claimed to be resistant to strong winds.
MEXICAN TREE SPINACH – There is a plant from Mexico that is little known here in the Philippines. It is popularly called Mexican tree spinach, known by its botanic name of Cnidoscolus chayamansa or Chaya for short.
The young leaves are cooked like many other leafy green vegetables. The very good news is that the leaves are packed with a lot of nutrients that include protein, crude fiber, calcium, potassium, iron, vitamin C, and carotene.
The info from the internet is that in terms of the average nutritive value, Chaya leaves (14.9) is by far superior to other leafy green vegetables such as spinach (6.4), amaranth (11.3), Chinese cabbage (7.0), and lettuce (5.4).
It is said that in Yucatan, Mexico, Chaya is grown in home gardens where the people get their supply of leafy greens for their daily meals. The plant is easy to grow. We have some plants growing in partial shade between lanzones and durian trees.
PEARL ONION – Another handy plant to grow for home consumption is the Pearl Onioon from Korea. It has thin cylindrical leaves that have strong onion flavor. For use in lugaw, arroz caldo or pansit, one can just harvest the leaves from plants grown in containers. The plant grows well in containers and is easy to multiply by division.