SALVINIA, a water plant makes very good organic fertilizer.
The nodules in the Salvinia roots intrigued Capt. Bong Reamon, prompting him to do his own experiment.
What we like about the attitude of Capt. James “Bong” Reamon, a retired pilot and now an organic farmer, is that he loves to try the untried. And in the process, he usually discovers something great.
Just like the case of the Salvinia 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.
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!
Here’s what he does in growing his lettuce with Salvinia. He makes a plot of well pulverized bed one meter wide and 10 meters long. He makes 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 produces. The vermicast decomposes the Salvinia in just a couple of weeks, making the bed ready for planting. He then plants his lettuce seedlings over the canal filled with Salvinia and covered with vermicast. Bong says that the lettuce plants grow fast and tender. One month after planting the seedlings, the plants are ready for harvest. Usually, they get 30 kilos worth P3,000 from that 10 square meters.
Two cycles of lettuce could be grown in the same plot without applying any additional fertilizer. The technique also works fine with other vegetables. They have planted with good results, Japanese cucumber, carrot, cherry tomato, pepper and others.
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.
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.
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.
Capt. Bong Reamon doing his own brand of organic farming in General Santos City.He and his wife Gilda run the Felicidad Orchard and Garden Organics.
Mrs. Gilda Reamon tending her plants that produce edible flowers.
Well, we really admire people who are not afraid to try the untried. Like Capt. James “Bong” Reamon.