Dr. Eduardo Paningbatan Jr., a retired soils scientist from UP Los Baños, has devised a system of growing your favorite upland kangkong so that you can produce your kitchen requirements on a sustainable basis without your having to water your plants every so often. You can leave them for weeks without watering and still they will be growing well.
This is what he did. He halved lengthwise the plastic drum that is readily available. On top of the halved drum, he installs welded wire that will hold the plants grown in the soda bottles. The half drum is filled with water up to an inch or two below the rim.
The kangkong in the halved soda bottles are held in place by the welded wire, with the lower portion of the soda bottles submerged in the water. Water is taken up by the roots to make the plants grow. Of course Dr. Paningbatan also applies his special nutrient solution to each of the bottles planted to kangkong. He likewise places algae in the water to produce oxygen gas that will help aerate the water.
To maintain the good health of your kangkong, you have to fertilize them with the special nutrients formulated by Dr Paningbatan. It is not expensive. One liter of the nutrients costs only P60. And for fertilizing your plants, you mix 3 tablespoons of the nutrients in one liter of water. Only small amounts are applied per plant.
He also places small tilapia fingerlings to eat the wrigglers of mosquitoes, if there are any.
Dr. Paningbatan said that seeds or cuttings can be used for planting in the soda bottles. Seeds will usually become harvestable in about 25 days. The leafy portion could be harvested leaving a leaf or two on the stump. The kangkong will regrow and in about 10 days the new shoots could be ready for harvesting.
Actually, other vegetables could be grown under the same system. These include leafy vegetables like lettuce, pechay, mustard, camote, alugbati, talinum and even fruiting vegetables, culinary herbs and ornamental plants. You can contact Dr. Paningbatan at 0929-855-8789.