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Marvin Agustin Gets Ingredients For Cooking From His Garden: 'Laking Tipid'
PHOTO BY Instaram/marvinagustin
  • When Marvin Agustin was looking for a home to rent a few years back, he got immediately attracted to the garden of a 1970s bungalow in Quezon City that has since become home to him and his two sons. (Check out the rest of the property here.)

    The actor-turned-chef and restaurateur then worked on the garden of predominantly ornamental plants by adding herbs (basil, rosemary) and vegetables (okra, talong, alugbati, malunggay, cherry tomato), plus corn and papaya.

    Today, Marvin gets to harvest produce from his garden and uses them as ingredients in cooking whatever dish he fancies.

    On a rainy day, for instance, he harvested a few pieces of papaya and corn, plus several stalks of malunggay to use as sahog to nilagang baboy at manok. Another time, he harvested a few pieces of corn to make ginataang mais.

    Marvin also sources basil leaves from his garden to use in making fresh spring rolls and cocktails at one of his restaurants, Kondwi.

    Marvin proudly shows off his corn plant (left) and some fresh produce from his very own garden, like basil (center), malunggay, papaya, and corn.
    PHOTO BY Instagram/marvinagustin
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    Marvin shares his gardening experience, along with cooking demos and workout sessions, on his social media accounts.

    He also shares some tips he's learned from his own research and visits to farms. He does this in line with his business ventures as well as his stint as an ambassador of the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD).

    So far, he's visited and talked to kamote farmers in Tarlac during a project with DOST-PCAARRD. He's showed off the adlai farm in Pampanga (and soon in La Union) where one of his businesses, Oh Crop!, gets its main product.

    "Magtanim na kayo, guys, laking tipid," Marvin says in his vlog. "Matrabaho lang sa simula." He echoes the same encouragement on Instagram: "Mag-aral na tayo magtanim, hindi biro ang pagtaas ng presyo."

    He adds, "Mahirap pala talaga magtanim, pero worth it pag nakikita mo na ang mga bunga!"

    Marvin's gardening tips

    Here are some of the advice that the enthusiastic gardener has shared on his social media accounts:

    Planting hack

    "Labeling plants using plastic spoons from your takeout/delivery at mga buto at pano sila itanim."

    Dealing with garden pests

    "Balutin ng plastic [ang mga bunga], gumawa ng homemade pesticides [gamit ang] garlic & chili."

    Propagating Thai basil

    "Para dumami 'yung basil n'yo, simply cut a healthy stem of the plant 'tapos lagay sa bote na may tubig. After 2-3 weeks, pwede mo na itanim sa pot na may lupa."

    Making papaya tree bear fruits

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    Marvin made a series of vlog episodes and Instagram posts about his papaya tree. At first, he said, he wondered and worried why the tree wasn't bearing any fruit though it's grown so tall. Then he learned from a man he calls Ronald that the tree was male, so it won't really bear fruits.

    Marvin heeded the advice of Ronald to chop off the upper part of the tree's trunk and wait for it to grow back as female. That's the time the tree will bear fruits—and it did, after months of waiting.

    Read also: Mylene Dizon Says Gardening Has Taught Her Patience, 'Kumalma' 

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