HE TRIES THE UNTRIED – What we like about the attitude of Capt. James “Bong” Reamon, a retired pilot and now an organic farmerin Gen. Santos City, is that he loves to try the untried. And in the process, he usually discovers something great.
OTHER USES – Just like the case of the Salvinia molesta that he bought from a British organic farmer based in Palawan several years ago. He bought the water plant because it was claimed that it makes very good feed for pigs. He was happy that his pigs liked Salvinia. But he was interested to find out what other uses the water plant is good for.
HE SAW NODULES – One time, he saw nodules in the roots of Salvinia. Is it possible that a non-legume like Salvinia can also fix nitrogen from the air? He was not sure but he did something to find out if his hunch is right. He did his own experiment and he was so excited to tell us about his findings. The plant could greatly reduce the cost of producing his vegetables and even his fancy rice!
WHAT HE DID – Here’s what he did in growing his lettuce with Salvinia. He made a plot of well pulverized bed one meter wide and 10 meters long. He made two canals about 8 inches deep lengthwise atop the bed. The canals are then filled with 60 kilos of fresh Salvinia then covered with vermicast which he himself produced. The vermicast decomposed the Salvinia in just a couple of weeks, making the bed ready for planting. He then planted his lettuce seedlings over the canal filled with Salvinia and covered with vermicast. Bong says that the lettuce plants grew fast and tender. One month after planting the seedlings, the plants were ready for harvest. Usually, the the yield was 30 kilos worth P3,000 from that 10 square meters.
TWO CYCLES – Capt. Bong said that 2 cycles of lettuce could be grown in the same plot without applying any additional fertilizer. The technique also works fine with other vegetables. Bong and his wife Ligaya had planted with good results Japanese cucumber, carrot, cherry tomato, pepper and others.
HAS OWN WINDMILL – Water is no problem in Bong’s farm because he has a giant windmill that he himself designed. He has ponds that he uses for growing not only Salvinia but also duckweed and azolla which he uses for feeding his pigs and chickens.
FOR RICE ALSO – Bong also grows rice, particularly the fancy variety. He has observed that Salvinia also makes a very good fertilizer for rice. This is how he does it. He seeds the rice field with Salvinia and when the palay is harvested, the stubbles and the Salvinia are plowed under. Vermicast is also spread over the field.
RICE AGAIN – After a few weeks, the field could be planted with rice again. No additional fertilizer is applied to the next crop. Yet Bong says that he can harvest 80 cavans per hectare from a variety that is not known to yield high but which commands a high price in the market.