GREEN THUMB ON DUTY
Out of curiosity, Rowena Bohol, an admin officer from Cebu, bought seeds and tried to grow red okra and white eggplant upon seeing them on an online selling platform for the first time.
Her interest in planting came from her parents, both farmers, who influenced and taught her how to plant at a young age.
As per Bohol, out of her 20 red okra seeds, only eight sprouted and grew while for white eggplant seeds, only two became successful. She didn’t harvest the first few vegetables until they ripened and redeveloped new fruit. After it produced vegetables again, that’s when she harvested and added them to their meals. Red okra and white eggplant have no significant difference from the green okra and violet eggplant varieties, said Bohol. Their flavors and flesh are similar and the only distinct feature of both vegetables are their colors. Growing red okra from seeds to harvest only takes a month while white eggplant takes two months. This will also depend on the soil they are planted in; if the soil is good, they will grow faster, Bohol added.
For her plant medium, she mixes cow manure in her garden soil. She makes a natural pesticide made of liquid soap, baking soda, and oil mixed with water. Pests like grasshoppers are the only challenge she faces in growing her vegetables. Grasshoppers tend to eat the leaves and flowers of the plant so growers must know how to control them.
Since Bohol is currently out of work due to quarantine that was implemented to combat COVID-19, she has more time to tend to her garden. Her plants have become her source of income as she sells seedlings of her red okra, white eggplant, and other vegetables like moringa, sigarilyas, sitaw, mung bean, sibuyas dahon, and squash in their area. Posting on social media has allowed her to sell her seedlings to a wider market.
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