When Speedy and I were doing the gardening, our routine was to buy seedlings and propagate them. As far as I remember there were only two occasions when we grew anything from seeds. The first time, it was cherry tomatoes; the second time, it was lettuce via hydroponics gardening.
Several monsoon seasons later, we have lost much of the herbs and vegetables in the garden. We’ve been planning and planning to replant, but it wasn’t until Sam and Alex discovered vegetable seeds in the supermarket that the replanting finally happened. This time, Alex took charge. She asked her father for pots and garden soil and, sometime over the Christmas holiday, she planted the seeds that she and her sister picked from the supermarket. Some six weeks later, we have seedlings and they are thriving beautifully.
By the front door is the pot of basil (pictured above and below).
Alex wants to replant them directly on the ground but I suggested that she leave them be for now. When the basil is large and has grown woody branches, we can just snip a few branches off and propagate via cuttings. That was how I did it in the past. At this point, the basil seedlings are much too young. I predict that, by summer, we can start propagating.
On one side of the gazebo, in a huge pot, Alex planted flat-leaf parsley. Parsley cannot be propagated via cuttings so she’ll just have to keep dropping seeds in the pot every few weeks so that we can have an uninterrupted supply of parsley.
Above, the seedlings of cherry tomatoes. Alex weaved bamboo skewers together for the vine to climb on. Speedy said bamboo sticks aren’t sturdy enough. When the seedlings are a little bigger, he said he’d hand-craft a bamboo trellis for them.
The bell pepper seedlings were grown from seeds discarded from bell peppers that we used for cooking. Large bell peppers—the kind that cost over a hundred pesos per piece. They are so much sweeter and juicier than the small ones that flood the market.
Like the bell pepper seedlings, the habanero seedlings were grown from store-bought habanero. Planting the seeds was an afterthought. We have bird’s eye chilies in the garden and growing more varieties of chili never entered my mind. When Alex asked if habanero could survive the intense summer heat, I told her it they probably could. They grow in Mexico, don’t they, where the heat is just as bad as ours. Reading up on the subject later, I learned that a hot climate is, in fact, a requirement for growing habanero.
What Alex seems to be having problems with are thyme and oregano. It might be the location of the pots (not getting enough sunlight) or the soil in the pots might be contaminated with something bad. She will try again using new pots and garden soil.
The bird’s eye chilies just sprout in the garden. The two plants we have now grew in the most inconvenient spots but who’s complaining? We get chilies and leaves for free.
A few flowering plants still grow here and there. The hibiscus (gumamela) has survived typhoons and storms. It may be due to its location. Planted near a wall, it gets all the sunlight it needs but the wall serves as buffer for strong winds.