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Mylene Dizon Says Gardening Has Taught Her Patience, How To 'Kumalma'
PHOTO BY Instagram/missmylenedizon
  • One of Mylene Dizon's childhood dreams is have her own farm.

    While working on that dream, the 47-year-old actress got into gardening. She always kept potted vegetable plants at the balcony of her old residence in Metro Manila and, when she moved to Silang town in Cavite, she managed to start her garden.

    "Sa katabing bahay namin, may kaunting piece of property, nahiram namin," Mylene said in an interview with Agri Tayo! It's an online show focusing on agriculture, farming, gardening, and the like, and uploaded on former Senator Kiko Pangilinan's verified Facebook page.

    Mylene recalled, "Nagpaalam kami kung puwede naming matamnan, e di ‘yun, inumpisahan ko na kaagad."

    That was around 2018. Mylene was busy making movies (Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank 3, Belle Douleur) and TV series (The Good Son, Sahaya, Bilangan Ang Bituin Sa Langit). So she couldn't give much time and attention to her gardening.

    "Alam natin na ang pagtatanim, kailangan tinututukan natin ang halaman," she pointed out. "Hindi basta nilagay mo na ang seed doon e aasahan mo na tutubo na siya. Lalo na ang organic farming, kailangan lagi mong babantayan."

    When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020 and staying indoors became a must during periods of community quarantine, Mylene suddenly found the opportunity to give her "100 percent" to gardening.

    She planted a variety of vegetables (tomato, beet, radish, eggplant, lettuce, cucumber, carrot, dill seed, mustard, sitaw, upo); a few fruits (guyabano, avocado); and other plants (butterfly pea flowers). Soon, she started harvesting from her garden.

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    Mylene said, "Sa mga naitanim, masayang anihin ang Romaine lettuce, lalo na kung tumubo siya nang maganda. Kasi ang crispy-crispy ’tapos iba talaga ang lasa.

    "Ang kontrabida ng buhay ay iyang si rosemary. Matagal na kaming nagtutuos n’yan. I’d say about 15 years na kaming nagtutuos ni rosemary. Kung ano-ano ng conditions ang ginawa ko, pero pinapahirapan niya talaga ako."

    The passionate gardener also shared what she's learned from cultivating the land, planting, and tending to her garden.

    "Ang learning ko dito sa farming is gusto ko ng challenge. Pag madali siyang patubuin, tulad ng sitaw, ‘Okay, may sitaw ako.’ Di ako masyadong excited. Pag may challenge, pag pinapahirapan ako, doon ako nage-enjoy."

    She also learned to be patient, especially at the height of the pandemic: "My patience was really tested this time around. Kasi nandito lang tayo sa bahay. Kasi minsan, nilagay mo na ang seed, nagpunla ka. After a few days, ‘O bakit wala pa?’

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    "Akala mo ang tagal-tagal na kasi naka-lockdown. Ang araw natin, ang hahaba. Dalawang araw pa lang, masyado kong pine-pressure itong halaman. So you have to have patience."

    She admitted, though: "It’s actually stressful, but it comes therapeutic. I think it’s starts with being stressful, and once you learn the groove, kumbaga, of things, then it becomes therapeutic.

    "Pag natuto ka nang kumalma with it...Hindi puwedeng magpunla at aasahang umani in one week. Kung kakalma ka lang, and you use your time well with other things, katulad ng paggawa ng compost, mag-cultivate ng worms para meron kang vermicast, hindi ka na mai-stress, ‘Bakit walang tumutubo?’

    "You just have to use your time well, and then it becomes therapeutic. Lahat ’yan, trial and error."

    She added, "Marami pa akong dapat matutunan. Kaya hanggang ngayon, bumibisita pa rin ako, nagtatanong-tanong pa rin ako sa ibang urban farmers d’yan. Maraming-marami pa akong matututunan at hindi siguro ako titigil hangga’t na-perfect ko sila. Malayo pa ’ko.

    "But I have knowledge already, and I’ve shared my knowledge to some friends and people who ask about my garden."

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    Gardening tips

    Here are some of what Mylene has learned over the years of growing her garden:

    Watch video tutorials, but be selective

    "I do watch a lot of tutorials, at saka pinipili ko ang mga tutorials na napapanood ko sa YouTube, ganyan. Kasi hindi lahat ‘yan, angkop sa weather natin sa Pilipinas, e. So mas pinapanood ko ang mga videos na gawa sa atin.

    "Halimbawa, gusto mong magpatubo ng rosemary e hindi naman talaga angkop sa weather natin ang pagpapatubo ng rosemary. Kung papanoorin mong video ang pagpapatubo ng rosemary sa America, ’tapos ipa-practice mo dito e talagang magfe-fail ka.

    "Mas mataas ang success rate mo kung ang papanoorin mong video ay sa local na lugar mo rin.

    Attend workshops

    "Nag-attend din ako ng workshop sa isang farmer dito sa atin. Nahanap ko lang siya. Natiyempuhan ko na may workshop siya isang weekend."

    Ask for advice

    "Mahilig akong magtanong at mag-visit ng ibang garden. Kaya na-visit ko rin ang garden ni Senator Kiko. I’m very curious of their practices, what they use para mapalago ang kanilang gulay.

    Be careful in buying seeds

    "Naging interesado ako kung paano mag-save ng seeds. Ano ang tamang pamamaraan, the organic way, to save seeds. Kasi karamihan sa mga seeds na nabibili natin sa mga commercial stores, ini-spray-an nila ng chemicals para magtagal ’yung seeds. Of course we don’t wanna do that.

    "Itong dalawang unang ani ko, siyempre nabubulukan din ako ng gulay. ‘Anong gagawin ko dito? I don’t wanna buy seeds.’ I had to learn it.

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    "Maganda ring bumili sa mga pakete, lalo na kung non-GMO, hindi ginamitan ng pesticide, at galing siya sa reliable o reputable at responsible farmer."

    Everything can be learned

    "Ang ibig kong sabihin dito, ang lahat ng bagay, naaaral, kung gusto mo lang naman."

    Know about scheduling

    "Kung kelan mo ipupunla, kelan mo ililipat sa beds, kelan ka magpupunla ulit. Kailangan may scheduling kasi minsan may tendency tayo…Nagpunla ka ng Romaine lettuce, nilagay mo sa bed, ’tapos lumalaki na siyang ganyan, ’tapos umani ka na. ‘Ay, wala pala akong Romaine for next week or next month.

    "’Pagkalipat mo [ng punla sa bed], magpunla ka na ulit. Para tuloy-tuloy na meron kang aanihin na gulay."

    Read also: Neri Miranda Advocates Backyard Farming: 'Grow Your Own Food'

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