Celebrating potted victories

The struggling plantita's treasures

As a trying-hard plantita, I have always wanted to grow cucumber (Cucumis sativus). I just love this cucurbit! It is so versatile as it can be savory or sweet, think desserts, or even drinks! It is definitely packed with refreshing healthy goodness.

I have seen how easy it is to grow cucumber from the ATIng Gulayan sa Rehiyon Otso. All these lockdowns and work-from-home shifts have actually made gardeners in most of us. My colleague, Ms Graciel Gacutan, gave me five healthy seedlings to plant at home. However, much to my utter dismay, all 5 seedlings were damaged during transport. I actually cried in frustration. I specifically instructed the driver (no, not ATI RTC 8 drivers…he he he) to handle it with care. When I got home, all 5 had their stems severed from the base. I decided to just let go of the idea of planting cucumber.

When ATIng Gulayan sa Rehiyon Otso had a surplus of ready-to-transplant cucumber seedlings I gladly asked for 3. God bless our ATI RTC 8 colleagues who maintain the gardens when staff are busy with training and other activities. I said to myself this could be it, finally, I will have cucumber plants. I planted them in big pots because the area at home actually gets huge puddles of water when it rains. The plants have been growing well and were soon flowering. Voila! I just woke up one day there was already a cucumber proudly hanging on one of the vines. I was giddy with happiness that seasoned farmers/gardeners would have laughed at me had they seen me.

On top of this, I have been patiently waiting for a bougainvillea plant to finally flower. You see, I pruned a bougainvillea whose growth has gone haywire. I divided its stems and planted them in the hope that they’d root and become new plants. I have no knowledge whatsoever about bonsai only that I want a small bougainvillea plant with flowers. What I didn’t realize was that it would entail hard work and a lot of readings and asking questions from officemates. My struggling plantita brain just had to resign and wait it out. Will it root? Will it survive in the small pot? It did survive but was not flowering. It just remained, well, green!

And there it was again! One fine morning, I looked around and found my little bougainvillea plant already flowering! I was so proud of that little bougainvillea plant! Those tiny flowers make me think I just may have a “future” in gardening.  I particularly enjoyed experimenting with just a pot or two. I know though that I will have to put in a lot of reading and asking if I really want to do well as a plantita.  Good to know that there are many resources online if one wants to pursue gardening. There’s the Philippine e-Extension Portal where one can enroll in online courses in agriculture and fisheries. There is also the PCARRD e-Library which is also full of all things agriculture.  The bite-sized info from ATI RTCs posted on social media is also a big help.

So here I am, celebrating these small victories from my potted plants and looking forward to the readings I’ll be doing in the coming days. See you online!

ATI Today

Extension services continue to evolve. With the challenges that extension workers and farmers face, the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) continues to explore various strategies to improve its efforts as the extension and training arm of the Department of Agriculture. In over 30 years, the ATI has celebrated various successes and learned from the lessons during hard times. Nonetheless, we are proud to be standing the test of time through the support of our partners and the clientele themselves. This is the ATI Today, more committed to bring you extension services beyond boundaries.