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Neri Miranda Advocates Backyard Farming: ‘Grow Your Own Food’
PHOTO BY Instagram/mrsnerimiranda
  • After Neri Naig-Miranda and Chito Miranda got married in December 2014 in Tagaytay, she suggested for them to live around the area but he was against the idea of leading a provincial life.

    Neri, who was born in Zambales and grew up in Baguio before starting a career in showbiz, eventually convinced her husband. Chito, the lead vocalist and chief songwriter of Parokya ni Edgar band, is an urbanite who studied in Ateneo de Manila and U.P. Diliman.

    The couple settled down in Alfonso town, also in Cavite province like Tagatay City, as they started their family. They now have two sons: Miggy, 5, and Cash, 9 months. They also have an older daughter, Sophia, also called Pia, who's on the way to becoming an official member of the Miranda family (read here).

    At the same time, Neri grew her own vegetable garden as her line of businesses expanded from gourmet tuyo to bakery, accessories, beddings, bed and breakfast, and restaurant. She planted kamatis, sili, pipino, kalamansi, talong, talbos ng kamote, mais, mani, ampalaya, bawang, sibuyas, and labanos. She also had different kinds of lettuce and herbs, as well as a few fruits and flowers.

    Neri started her garden by planting in every available piece of land in their family home in Alfonso town, Cavite. She said back in 2019: "Ang saya at ang sarap ng may vegetable garden sa bahay! Para ka lang talagang nagbabahay bahayan, hehe! Ano na ba ang mga na ani nyo sa mga garden nyo? Yung kalamansi ko, may mga bunga na rin!"
    PHOTO BY Instagram/mrsnerimiranda
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    So by the time the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, Neri's hobby of backyard farming was already providing a steady supply of fresh produce for her family.

    In Neri's August 2020 social media post, she shared a couple of photos showing her vegetable garden and wrote this caption: "Masustansyang gulay para sa pamilya. Grow your own food."

    Prior to that, Neri has been posting about her backyard farming adventures and using the hashtag, #NerisGarden.

    Why you should try backyard farming

    In one post, Neri wrote in the caption, "Hinihikayat ko ang lahat ng maybahay na magsimulang magtanim sa ating mga bakuran."

    She then enumerated the reasons: "Unang-una, masaya ang magtanim! Nakakawala ng stress at lungkot. Lalo pa at makikita nyong namumunga na at aanihin nyo na.

    "Pangalawa, alam nyong galing sa malinis ang kakainin nyo. Pangatlo, malaki ang matitipid nyo sa monthly budget. Pang-apat, matuturuan nyo pa ang mga anak nyo for sustainability."

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    Additionally, she said in another post, kids would be enticed to eat vegetables because they know where the vegetables came from and had a part in the process.

    Neri also gave these pieces of encouragement: "Wag mawalan ng pag asa kung sa tingin nyo ay di nabubuhay ang mga pananim sayo. Baka may mali lang kayong ginagawa. Maaaring panay dilig nyo sa mga halaman kaya nalulunod o di kaya di nyo talaga nadidiligan. Search lang sa Google o Pinterest at madali lang matuto ngayon.

    "Hindi kailangan ng malakihang lote para makapagtanim. Search nyo 'yung container gardening. Good luck at sana after two months ay may maani na rin kayo. Happy gardening!"

    Neri's eldest son Miggy, whom she teasingly calls Don Miguel, is her helper especially in harvesting fresh produce. These include pipino, sili labuyo, siling sigang, lettuce, kamatis, alugbati, mushroom, talong, ampalaya, pechay, basil, mustasa, arugula, dahon ng laurel, and munggo.
    PHOTO BY Instagram/mrsnerimiranda
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    Neri's tips

    The avid farmer constantly shares her experiences in cultivating plants while graciously gives advice and encouragement to her followers.

    On planting garlic

    "Nagbungkal muna ako ng lupa gamit ang piko. 'Tapos binasa ko 'yung lupa for 3 days dahil sobrang dry 'yung lupa. Nung lumambot na 'yung lupa. Kumuha na ako ng bawang sa pantry 'tapos tinanim ko isa isa. Twice a day ako magdilig sa garden."

    She points out that garlic can be grown in containers "timba, batya, lata, lagayan ng tubig, o sako." These are ideal for dwellers in condos or in houses without a backyard. Aside from garlic, you can also grow lettuce, radish, and pechay.

    On planting basil

    "Nakabili ako ng seeds ng basil sa grocery stores dati pa, nagbungkal ng lupa, dapat basa at malambot ang lupa para siguradong tutubo ang mga buto, 'tapos sinaboy ko lang 'yung seeds, 'tapos tinakpan ng lupa ulit at diniligan. After more than a week, ayan na siya."

    On planting okra

    "Mahirap bang magpatubo ng okra? Hindi po. Super dali lang. Basta moist lang palagi 'yung lupa at may araw. In less than 5 days may tumutubo nang halaman. Saka di siya alagain.

    "May fertilizer ba akong ginamit? Wala po. Galing sa buto tinanim? Yes po pero galing sa pinagtuyuan ng okra. Sa isang bunga ng okra, more than 10 seeds ang makukuha mong pananim. Patuyuin lang 'yung mismong okra. Pag super dry na, pwede nang buksan ang okra.

    "At napansin ko na mas malalaki ang tubo ng okra kapag galing sa pinapatuyuan ng buto. Try nyong kumuha ng isang okra sa ref nyo, patuyuin sa labas. As in medyo mangingitim siya at matigas. 'Tapos buksan at itanim."

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    On planting peanut

    "Paano ko tinanim ang mani? 'Yung mga nabibili sa palengke o grocery stores na hilaw na mani na may balat o shell pa, buksan 'yun, itanim isa isa 'yung mga hilaw na mani. 'Yan na sya after. January tinanim 'yan after ng Taal." She's referring to the Taal Volcano eruption in January 2020.

    On planting sitaw

    "Sa lahat ng nagtatanong kung mahirap magtanim ng sitaw, sobrang hindi! Basta handa nyo lang 'yung balag nyo at ang bilis nitong lumago at ang panay bunga.

    "At sa mga nagtatanong kung naglalagay ako ng fertilizers sa mga tanim kong vegetables,'yung mga pinagtabasan naming mga damo, tinatambak namin sa likod 'tapos after ilang weeks, durog na mga damo, paghinalo mo, pataba na sya. 'Yun ang ginagamit ko kapag magtatanim na ako ng panibago.

    "Saka nagpapatugtog ako para sa mga halaman at kinakausap ko sila, haha! Kapag nag aani ako, nagpapasalamat din ako kase panay bunga nila. Hehe!"

    On how to be successful in gardening

    "Kapag naghaharvest pala ako, syempre nagpapasalamat ako kay Lord. Pero nagte-thank you rin ako sa mga halaman kase panay bunga nila. At mukha namang natutuwa sila kapag pinasasalamatan sila, panay bigay ng biyaya! Lagi kong sinasabi, salamat po at binibigyan nyo kami ng pagkain. Wag po kayong magsawang mamunga.

    "Kinakausap ko talaga mga tanin. Kinukumusta ko sila. Tinatanong ko kung kumusta araw nila. Kapag may makarinig sa aking kapit bahay baka akalain loka loka ako, haha! Pinapatugtugan ko pa sila at kinakantahan, hehe!"

    Read also: How To Grow Vegetables in A Small Home

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