Agriculture - - Enterprising -

DID YOU KNOW that a sim­ple hobby can be­come a lu­cra­tive busi­ness in the field of agri­cul­ture? That’s what hap­pened to Robert Igle­sias of Gu­maca, Que­zon who, at first, ven­tured into hy­dro­pon­ics as a hobby. Even­tu­ally, he found out that through hy­dro­pon­ics, he could pro­duce dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties of veg­eta­bles in his back­yard.

Hy­dro­pon­ics is the sys­tem of grow­ing plants with­out soil. The method al­lows ur­ban gar­den­ers to grow plants in a con­trolled en­vi­ron­ment. Us­ing this method, off-sea­sons can be elim­i­nated be­cause hy­dro­pon­ics al­lows its ad­her­ents to prac­tice un­in­ter­rupted ur­ban farm­ing.

An­other ad­van­tage of hy­dro­pon­ics is that a prac­ti­tioner can main­tain the sys­tem by him or her­self, and it can be used all year-round.

Dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties of veg­eta­bles like cu­cum­ber, let­tuce, up­land kangkong, and even sweet pep­per can be pro­duced suc­cess­fully through hy­dro­pon­ics, as Igle­sias dis­cov­ered; he used Con­dor seeds for his pur­poses. He also found that with sim­ple hy­dro­pon­ics, plants can grow bet­ter when the prac­ti­tioner uses var­i­ous plant nu­tri­ents which are now avail­able in the mar­ket. His other tools for his ur­ban hy­dro­pon­ics farm in­cluded read­ily avail­able ma­te­ri­als like seedling plugs, cul­ture pots, nu­tri­ent so­lu­tions, and an im­pro­vised shel­ter or green­house. Igle­sias mainly uses dis­carded Sty­ro­foam fruit boxes as the base or cul­ture pot for the plants and his nu­tri­ent so­lu­tion. The seedling plugs can also be cre­ated us­ing Sty­ro­foam cups with holes cut into the bot­tom.

To keep the plants he grows in place, Igle­sias uses a mix­ture of soil, car­bonized rice hull, chicken ma­nure, and coco coir in his seedling plugs. His nu­tri­ent so­lu­tion is com­posed of tap wa­ter and a mix of fer­til­iz­ers, in­clud­ing Peters Gen­eral Pur­pose, Peters Hi-Nitro, Peters Yield Booster, and Peters

Robert Igle­sias poses with some of the fruit­ing vines of the BR-4 Ja­panese cu­cum­ber va­ri­ety.

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