Rooftop Gardening, Season 2011

8 05 2011

November 29 2011: This month not much have been done planting wise, I just kept tendering what remains on the garden plot (kamote tops, ginger, papaya, lemon grass, calamansi, pineapple, malungay, etc…). The patola vines had reach its final stage on soon to be retired. I am still working on a snail pace wrapping up some concreting works….

October 28, 2011: Gardening Season Coming to a Close…. ?!

I am contemplating now on officially closing this year’s gardening season. I just need to wrap up some important things and then i’ll put the dot on it there after.

Why am i doing this? A new chapter in life is about to unfold… yes, always hoping for the better 🙂

October 12: Oh May Gulay… May Bagyo Na Naman! Ramon Ramon pls go away…. 😦

October 03: It’s the first day of extended trading hours in PSE. The usual closing time of 12:10PM was now extended up to 1PM and coming from last weeks bloody DJIA close, its going to be a slow movement with the ticker painted mostly in red 😦

October 1-2: Plenty of clearing on the roof, but still managed to continue with the aquaponic tank wall plastering. Its hard to do plastering when the CHB wall is soaked from rain… but i must manage.

“Wake me up when September Ends…”

I definitely got awaken but with the least expected visitor. Typhoon Pedring came and left with a big mess on my roof. Lots of clearing and rearranging jobs to do.

Sept 10-11: Something Surprising at my Roof Garden! All the while i thought it was just a typical grass but i just left it there growing at the corner but later i realized it was no grass… it was a bunch of rice stalks! Where did it came from? Probably from the seeds of rice stalks hauled from nearby rice field that i laid on the planter beds and it grows in place.

So what I did is let it grow. Now the bunch is bearing rice grains and in few weeks time will mature. I intend to save the seeds and later on use for sowing, hopefully the sparrows leave me some. Now, I got an idea of planting rice on my roof garden and raise native poultry at the same time. The rice grains and stalk i’ll feed to chicken thereby minimizing commercial feed buying costs. Ahh… the beauty that roof gardening brings 🙂

The aquaponic tank build-up is on slow but continuous progress.

Sept 03-04: Another “One of those days”. Got side-tracked for this weekend to give way for other personal matters.

Aug 27-30: LONG WEEKEND!

Some Life Lessons on Cutting Loss.

1.0 Typhoon had pulled down most of the premature corn stalks to its roots. Initially, i thought of this as a huge loss but after contemplation, I had viewed it simply as cutting loss and moving on. For the better part of it, I simply chopped the corn stalks and spread it across the planter beds. Soon they will decompose and become part of the compost nutrients for the soil. Nothing had really went to waste, just a matter of realigning perspective.

2.0 The Potato on Old Tires. Due to too much rain, the rice hay medium used to grow potato got very drenched and the potato shrubs disintegrated. Another faulty experiment but will keep the lessons recorded for the next round of doing the experiment. As for the rice hay, they simply went to papaya plant base as mulch.

3.0 Sweet Potato Vines Infested with leaf worms. I pulled them all and chopped the vines and went to compost bins.

4.0 Papayas prone to wind overturning. I had to prop up their base by laying chb blocks/gravel and then covered with rice hays. Will they stand better now, well that i have to see.

5.0 Too much of everything is excessive and very clutter-y. I am learning to minimize and just keep things to bare essentials. Indeed i need to practice more on this aspect in order to make it a second nature by way of habit.

To summarize, time is always working on our favor. We’ll just have to wait and re align with the flow. Somethings we thought should be given to us ASAP will most often take time realizing. Patience will be rewarded, persistence will make us grow stronger. Rewards will be just icing on the cake once we get to achieve what we conceive and believed.

Aug 20-21: Regular Weekend, continuation of activities.

Aug 13-14: Nasty!

Red ants getting nasty and pretty anarchic, how’s that? Yes they do, as if they control my garden, everytime I roam around I got a bite or two… nasty ants!! they must be made aware that it’s my place!!!   I already gave them a place to live and food to let by and still this is what I get from them? BITES BITES BITES !!! Today I swooped down on an ant hill… and one more anthill under target for de-infestation… Caterpillar Worms showing mini infestation and about to bloom, I had to cut-off their usual breeding grounds -> the sweet potato vines… sometime less is more and I am learning my lessons well.

Continued work on aquaponic fish tank, slow progress but i’m in no hurry now 🙂

Harvested corn basically the young corn, also cleaned up the squash vines. For the record, this will be the first batch of three sisters planting experiment and I learned well, the squash vines can get really invasive space wise. The young corn went up as recipe mix for nilagang pig pata and the squash tops went to ginisang kalabasa. All of the plant refuse will complement the compost mix.

An important thing i must not forget to mention here, is that i am exposing my son on how things works in our garden. I am conducting another experiment on potato planting using used tires and rice hays only. It’s now showing good growing results as we had added up another tire layer and filled with hays. Of course the final outcome of successful experiment is to see potato tubers in few months time.. always hoping for the better. I’ll make a separate blog of this experiment once it gets completed, the pictures are being collected with each progression… 

Aug 6-7: Busy Busy Busy 🙂

Finally, I’m able to commence building the aquaponic system. I laid the first layers of CHB for the walls of roof deck fish tank. Plenty of work to follow. I also did overlaying crushed gravel on terrace deck since the molds are getting uncontrolled and very slippery.

Some observations on fruiting vegies (okra and tomatoes), they are above average size growth and in flowering stage but yet to fully develop fruits. I think some nutrients are lacking to induce fruit bloom. Will work out a solution on this concern.

On the other side of life, we had conducted our first officers meeting to focus more on our oncoming HS batch reunion. More and more classmates are coming out for their support and we are happy for this developments.

Aug 04: Foggy Morning 🙂

I woke up early today around 5AM to tender my plants and it was still dark. The plants which had been subjected to intermittent rain for the past days must have washed out of the soil nutrients down the drain so i must replenished it. I mixed my fermented juices (FAA, FPJ, FFJ) to a container of rain water and as I watered the plants, morning light slowly creeps in. To my amusement, I observed some kind of smoke hovering the air, i smelled it but it was no smoke. As Iglance far and wide I realized it was no smoke… it was FOG!! What a wonderful way to greet the morning …. i must say after a long gloomy weather, lets’s cheer for a bright sunny day!!

July 30-31: Lack-luster weekend as i would say, it’s “one of those days”.

Was not able to make much progress due to continuous rains. But I was able to make a new batch of FPJ using mix of kamote tops and malungay. I also collected the juice of fermented jack-fruit bagasse. Also topped the front planter bed with soil and rice hay collected from nearby rice field.

Despite the lesser inaction on my garden, i am indeed glad to catch up with other matters of life. Our high school batch are now geared up to fulfill the conducting of our silver anniversary reunion. I am also able to refine my trading strategies and was able to pin point some flaws on the previously implemented system. I hope that this time, i will be able to fill up the gaps that had stumbled me from taking bigger strides.

As always, I’m hoping for the best. Cheers!

July 23-24: This weekend is no different from the others… busy as usual.

Almost completed filling up the planter beds with rice hay+soil mix. Sowed corn and beans on these beds. I cleaned up the aquaponic allocated beds and it’s now ready for the next steps.

I collected the fermented fish trimmings juice and they really smelled like bagoong. Also prepared new batch of FPJ composed of sambong and kakawate leaves. The (FFJ) fermented jackfruit bagasse is now of liquor like scent, with white molds present, a good sign of fermenting doing fine.

Did some major clean-up in order to trash heaps of junks.

Connected together two plastic drums to collect rainwater to be used for plant watering on sunny days to avoid using tap water. I intend to make a bigger holding tank at ground level in order to collect more rainwater, with intention to put some hardy fresh water fish (catfish, pangasius, etc..) to serve dual purpose and extra impact on benefits in terms of experimentation for long term sustainability. In terms of sustainability, it’s high priority on planning and implementation to recollect used water and apply some bio-filtering and treatment for the benefit of aquaponics and plants needs and purposes.

As an added workload, i am now regularly visiting the community garden plot and i planted some cassava and sweet potato, both of which shall be less maintenance good for my own sake since i may not be able to cope up with the up keeping. The interaction with neighbor planter is giving an added value as well, the free trade of harvest and exchange of experience will benefit mutually in the long run.

The observed results of applying organic fertilizers (FPJ, FFJ, FAA, etc) to the plants is that they grow vigorously with larger and greener leaves compared to those planted in containers applied with chemical fertilizers. A very good sign of healthy natural growth. The papaya, okra, corn, tomato, squash, ampalaya, saluyot, malungay were all healthily blooming.

Not to forget, the ampalaya vines are now bearing fruits! I counted at least seven of them. I covered them with plastic bags to prevent fruit flies from infesting them. In less than a week, our viand will be teeming with amplaya recipes.

July 16-17: Very Good Week! I completed casting the planter beds and filled with rice hay and soil mix, filling the rest shall follow the coming weekend. Sowed corn on the filled beds, the first batch of corn is growing well along with the squash while the second batch are now sprouted. In general, the plants are doing A-OK! Also completed filling-up gabi on its planter box.

The jackfruit had ripen and my stomach got overfilled with the treat way too much for digesting comfort! I’ll use the left-overs for my FFJ concoction. BTW, as i checked on my FAA brew, they smelled similar to BAGOONG and i find it amazing since i used sugar instead of salt!

I graduated the kamote vines so i can use the soil for my other beds and the vines once dried will fill the compost bin. The emptied beds will soon be readied for its final plan of building aquaponic fish tank on it.  Once i get to finish filling the planter beds and sowing plants on it, i’ll focus on another structural column/beam casting that needs immediate attention. After all that being done, the work load shall be directed to aquaponic build-up… i’m excited on this part 🙂

July 10-11: Another rainy week but i like working in the rain 🙂 I hauled more rice hays from the field. They were quite heavy since soaked and nearing full decomposition almost soil-like now. I filled up an empty bed and topped up the other. Two or three more beds needs filling as scheduled for next week. I sowed corn on the filled up bed. I like how the first batch of corn are growing nicely along with squash. The other beds are also showing good sign, the amplaya vines are in full growth but i am still to see a fruit bloom. The remaining patola vines are soon to be resigned. Just like the Upo, they wilted maybe due to “namamarako disease” or too much infestation from those visiting orange bugs.

I drove off to wet market and bought some fishes where i also took the liberty to ask for free material sourcing of my FAA concoction. The fish gill and guts are primarily for trashing but they will serve good purpose for organic gardening. To prepare FAA, one should ferment it with crude sugar and water at 1:1:1 mix ratio for 2 weeks. The concoction will provide a rich source of fish amino acid and other nutrients for plants use.

As for the open space garden plot, i planted some kamoteng kahoy and harvested some atis and a good sized jackfruit, though im not sure if it’s near ripen, better take it now than lose it to non planting-free harvesting souls roaming around on rainy nights. These souls are some of the reasons why i prefer planting on roof rather than on open space plots, we can get to harvest from roof garden almost all the time with pests, insects and birds as  the only culprits.

July 03: GREAT WEEK!! Coming off from 5 day trip off Albay, i came home to see most of my plants were ok but the Upo vines that were under observation eventually succumbed to sickness and i had to pull of the remaining two. I think i planted them on the wrong season… better luck next try. I finally did managed to re-plant and fill up the previously casted planter box. I filled it up with malungay, papaya, kamote, ginger, saluyot and an okra. The corn and squash on the other bed are showing good sign. I still need to cast few more beds and to fill up other beds with soil mix, here, plenty of vegie seeds awaiting their turn to be sown. Meanwhile, the ampalaya vines on front trellis are now bearing its first fruit and they are spreading well.

By late afternoon, i finally did managed doing the long overdue scope, that is, collecting and replanting gabi from nearby rice field. From now on, i’ll just wait for some over growth be harvested for my newly found LAING recipe from Bikol.

June 25-26: A very very rainy week, courtesy of tropical storm Falcon. I had observed the vine plants got weak. I actually uprooted two ‘upo’ vine as they seemed very very sick. I’ll observe the remaining two. The pair of patola vine seems ok as well as the ampalaya. By saturday, it rained the whole day but did not stop me doing any. Once again, i trekked to the community plot and cleaned up allocated space, in between clean-up i munched on tree ripen atis and guava. I decided to re-plant plenty of pineapple shrubs to rubber pots so they can addorn my terrace’s beam sill and who knows, after some time they may bear fruits! Was really tiring bringing the pots from home, replanting the pineapple at field and bring it back home taking in 8 pots all, tired but quite pleased for the entire morning work. Not to forget, i also harvested more than a kilo of “kamoteng kahoy” root-crop, and replanted its bark for future harvests.

The next day the weather got better and I was able to lay CHB planter bed and intend to plant on it malungay, papaya trees and some gabi which i’ll take from nearby rice field. Sunday Afternoon, i re-aligned the wiring of front terrace light as i have a plan of putting up cast in place planter box on top of CHB fence were the wires used to run. I may use this planter box to plant ornamental plants. Also, rearranged and modified the front terrace trellis to accommodate the now top reaching ampalaya vines.

June 18-19-20: Long Weekend+Holiday. Celebration of 150th Bday of our National Hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal. Cheers to All Filipinos!!

As for the roof garden, i was not able to do much structural work due to continuous rains thus i just did some clean-up and sowing of seeds. I also visited the open space turned community garden off our block and picked up some plants that can be transplanted to my roof garden. I took some herbal meds (sambong, pandan) and malungay. Re-planted to front terrace planter box the oregano. I also prepared my 2nd batch of FPJ concoction (Banana trunk, malungay, pansit-pansitan) this time using 5:1 mix ratio. Replanted the two calamansi from its pail to the front side planter bed. Replanted 3 heads of pineapple. Started collecting compost-able materials on my compost tumbler bin (though yet to be made real tumbler). Next target is to prepare FAA concoction and my first IMO base mix using spoiled cooked rice.

Re-arrange the arch trellis corrugated plastic roof sheet to cover the stair, need to add up another sheet to act as rain shed.

Caution: Spiny Caterpillars showing up again, must practice early prevention to avoid last year’s heavy infestation. Kamote vines are prime target here. I think this is mother natures way of saying that i need to retire them soon and prepare the beds for aquaponics as per plan.

June 14-15: Collected the fermented FPJ brew, tasted it as well.. kind of tangy and bitter-sweeet. Where had all the sugar sweet go?  The residue is mixed with water and used as fertilizer for the vegies. Let’s see later what will be the effect? This AM, i dug up a couple of sweet potato tuber and had it for breakfast. Ahh, the beauty of having a kamote garden, an unexpected harvest to boot from time to time, aside from regular tops. Need I say more?

June 11-12: Continued concreting of remaining portion of roof slab. Almost complete, only the up-stand beam remains to be casted. I am so busy i was not able to filter the fermented concoctions, I’ll deal with it tonight. Next to be done on the roof are clean-up and laying of planter beds intended for planting malungay to provide shade for chicken coop. I’ll transplant a couple of papaya seedlings on prepared old tires.

June 3-4:  Prepared my first batch of OHN and FPJ, using home grown assorted plants (kamote tops, oregano, pandan, pansit-pansitan, sabila) and the 3 spices. Currently under fermentation and to use thereafter the juice to fertilizer the roof garden beds. I also sowed pop corn seeds on the planter beds as kick-start for the intended 3-sisters planting approach. Broke open a portion of rear property wall to allow light and ventilation for the proposed (chicken/pig/goat) raising room. Still, plenty of work to be done and I can only get to do as much … should focus on clearing up and disposal of trashy materials.

May 31: Transplanted this early morning and last night the upo and ampalaya seedlings on the prepared planter box and bed. Next in line is to plant 3-sisters on the other planter beds. Need to sow various vegies as well.

May 28-29: Work at the roof garden continues. Early morning hauling of rice hay. Concreting of entry/steps to roof deck via front terrace. Planter box/bed build-up. Need to transfer very soon the vegie vine seedlings. Cleaned up proposed chicken cage location. Initiated the closure of neighbors ventilation opening at their firewall which is on my property side as I am now asserting my right to privacy.

May 27 (Fri): Typhoon Chedeng did not pass PH as expected, good for all. The ricefield near us was expecting her arrival today so they hastened the harvest and treshing. And i am glad to have a fresh supply of rice hay. I woke up early today and get busy collecting my hay stockpile. The coming weekend will find me very busy with the collection added up to my regular roof garden works. A little change on work schedule, i will prioritize the chicken coop after planting the new planter beds, next is the fish tank as i will alot ample time for the kamote to grow root crop.

May 21-22: Continuation of a busy weekend. Laying of planter beds, clearing up and preparation for planting. I was surprised to see the previously stocked rice hays on a container turned into soil like after a very lengthy composting. I put this all up on the newly prepared planter bed. I lined the bed with chopped fresh palm tree leaves. I will be ordering garden soil and maybe rice hull to improve soil composition. As of this time, most of the vining vegetable seeds that i sow had germinated, i will be happy to see 100% germination rate which will mean success on the germination technique implemented. I will allocated the west most side planter beds for these vines in order to use the arc trellis arbor. Will also need to modify corner planters at front terrace to be used for the vine vegies. I am getting more excited as days went on.

May 14-15: A very busy weekend. Casted good portion of the roof deck and i think i’m nearing 80% completion. Will try to cast planter divider in between weekends in order to sow new plants and gradually see the entire roof deck turn green very very soon!

May 7-8: Continued concreting the balance of roof deck slab, but the sunday rain hampered my progress thus casted limited concrete. The weather deteriorated later that day and i had to stop work. Instead i just focused on the PACMAN-MOSLEY fight! That fight was a DUD!

Today, i learned that Typhoon Bebeng will hit across, as long as she packs moderate wind and plenty of rain, it will be a welcoming event on my garden. However, if the rainy season did arrive too early, i may need to hasten my plans in order to achieve targetted results.

May 5: Aquaponic plans modified. I will put the fish tank on the roof apex and the existing step planters be used as bio-filter/grow beds. Will start construction of this very soon, but i still need to build another planter bed needed for relocation of the existing two planter bed’s contents that will be affected by the fish tank build-up. No hurrying here.

May 4: After some lengthy drought on entries here, i am slowly catching up. As of date i had continued concreting the remaining portion of roof garden. The sweet potato vines are in bloom. I had picked today my first patola fruit and mixed it up with instant yakisoba for lunch. The patola vines took some time to bear fruit since the sparrows are messing/eating up the fruit buds thus unable to yield fruit. I had to keep watch and manually polenate in order to see fruits with good results. Yesterday, i was quite busy picking up some updates on aquaponics as i intend to convert soon the roof into grow bed for that scope. I’ll put the fish tank on the cleaned up bodega room below which i’m still thinking of what tank material to use… maybe i’ll use glass(??) or polycarbonate sheet(??) or epoxy painted metal sheet(??)…. plenty of options but the ease of construction and costs over  performance/durability will dictate… will need to study this further.

Mar 19-20: Summer heat is rising fast. It will be harder to bear for the plants which will mean higher water consumption. I shall then tone down planting to drought tolerant plants.

Mar 14: DAMN Sparrows AGAIN! They are always eating up the young growth of my planted veggies. Are they really acting as pests now a days? If so, then i must really cover my roof garden with nets or probably focus on plants that they don’t like munching.

Mar 12-13, Weekend: I got busy with the continuation of roof garden concreting as well as the column support. I also transplanted the PATOLA seedling on the front terrace planter box.


I just couldn’t imagine the effect of this massive nature’s wrath on what i had been doing at that very moment of impact! I WAS ACTUALLY DOWN UNDERWATER SCUBA DIVING!! OMG!! I got the hellish scare down to my spine upon learning the news. Luckily on my part, i was not down there at the ocean seas. I was only refreshing my scuba diving skill under the depth of a pool. WHEW!

Mar 09: Before i forget i’ll just note it down here. Yesterday i had my pants repaired… why? It’s getting loose on my waist. Thus from 36 i had it shoved down to 34! And all of a sudden my senses gets wild! If it’s possible to lose 2 inches without exerting heavy effort, how much more if i revert back to old routines? Can i recover the lost 31-32 waistline i had 5 yrs ago?….. why not!!

1st Weekend March: Road Trip to Tagaytay then to Talisay Batangas a sleepy town beside Taal Lake. That winding down slope from Tagaytay to Talisay will scare the shit out of newbie drivers. At Talisay, we took a peek at a resort Club Balai Isabel, nice place. Next, strolled at the town proper, visit the church and had our lunch at a karinderia. Then drove off again the same route uphill unto Peoples Park for a nice 360 degree view of Tagaytay and the lake. Bought some pasalubong, fruits, flowers and orchids then went off for home.

4th Week, Feb: I had implemented another batch of planting this time using the seed pre-germination technique and focuses mainly on vining vegies. Last time i checked, the Amplaya seeds are making good progress. Will need to transfer the sprouted seeds on the seedling trays for initial growth prior to final transplanting.

Feb 26-27, 2011: I picked the mountain trip. To Baguio! 16th Panagbenga Flower Festival. A wonderful experience indeed, my first time! 🙂

Feb 25: Back-Packing for Weekend Get-away… to the beach or the mountains?

Feb 17-20; Was Bed-ridden for last two weekdays due to cough and colds, the changing weather is acting like my Achilles heel. By saturday, slightly recovered to tender the roof garden but only to make a foolish mistake. I fertilized the seedlings and learned the hard way of not over fertilizing (strong mix of urea+water) lest the plants be burned.. and so they did. What a waste 😦 i need to start from scratch again. Come Sunday, I just focused on the build up of terrace arbor which i’m thinking of converting into a Kubo-type with a Duyan (hammock) inside, to serve as my siesta place during the oncoming hot summer time. Slowly inching forward to its completion… 🙂

Feb 12-13, Weekend at my rooftop garden. As i worked on the clean-up and preparations for next planting season, i can’t help but be amused to the hilt on the unexpected discoveries my roof garden had to offer. Definitely, true happiness are usually manifested in ways we cannot comprehend at times.  Life indeed goes better and better 🙂

This season, i will implement on greater scope the “HPSNP Planting System” which gave me good result last year, but this time using the used paint containers with some personalized insulation i have in mind.

Feb 11, 2011: Stock Market is currently in the Doldrums or Abyss. Not much can be done for now except maybe to replenish fresh capital for the deliberation day. I am staying away for awhile. See you when you’re up and ready Ms. Market.

In the meantime, the seeds i sowed last week had some of it germinated already. I will then keep myself busy preparing for the roof planter beds for the oncoming transplanting. Need to retire the old growth of the season past, clean up and recycle planting materials of value. Roof Gardening Time once again.

Life gets better and better 🙂


Let’s Get Physical…

8 05 2011

Rest of May: I drop the nightly run and instead inserted in between the roof garden works. It’s enough already for my work-out since already getting good results on weight loss regimen. Will concentrate for now on gardening works.


May 11: Track Work-out at night. Gradually increasing base run limit by at least 10% a week now pegged at 6. Included some strengthening and speed work. Planned to put up more plyometrics on next runs. Must focus more on dieting.

May 09: Uphill run work-out outside the track. Done a 4set uphill-downhill run, mind wanted an extra lap but the knee jerked a warning sign not to push harder and so i quit. More than half hour work out though and that will be enough.

May 2011: Slowly picking up strides on physical fitness with intent to pursue at least 2x weekday night runs and a weekend sorties. I’m also getting more conscious on dieting by lessening rice intake and replacing instead with alternatives.


April, 2011: Not much done lately, except for few out of town beach front swims. I was knocked off my chair but still trying to paint a wryly smile …


Mar 29: Easy Night work-out at the track oval. 2xwarm-up, 5xeasy(time to beat 14:25), stretch+no weights work-out. I don’t want too much strain on this starter to avoid traumatic bodily aftershock. The next day I’ll try some Hard-Easy combo and get serious on the diet.


I’m Slowly returning back to outdoor physical activity.

For the last two weekend, i am gradually re-integrating the base endurance preparation for my swim. My respiratory system is resisting the re-introduction of sudden change by giving me a bout with nose and throat irritation. Indeed, when one gets sidelined for very long, a transition is somehow hard to accept either by the mind or body. But i must not get distracted. I think i need to spruce it up with other activity like cycling and or running to get the juice flowing.

But i must remind myself, all things done too soon can be destructive in the long term. Just take it one step at a time, ride and stride in style.