I watered the plants in the backyard vegetable garden. Looking at the ripening tomatoes, tall spring onions, healthy lettuce and strong green pepper, it brought me to thinking about my childhood dream of becoming an agriculturist.
Gardening was one of my favourite subjects in elementary and high school. Even through college, I kept raising vegetables in the vacant lot beside our house in F Ramos Street, Cebu City. But a degree in agriculture was a “No No”.
You see, I was tasked to pursue my father’s ambition of becoming a lawyer, and my mother’s desire to be a Certified Public Accountant. But I guess it was the turn of events in the family farm in Ponod, Pinamungajan that put the pursuit of an agriculture degree in a coffin.
The nearly 50 hectares rice farm was overtaken by Marcos’ land reform program and worse, the military uprooted the grapevines that my father sowed, based on unfounded allegations that he buried firearms in the vineyard. I felt my father’s frustration. But what broke my father’s heart was that our former tenants cut down the mangoes that were on its way to producing fruits.
But then there are certain things that you cannot just get away from. There are things that are innate in a person. Even though you want to suppress these, they persist, they return to you.
Such is my love for the soil, love for the earth.
So every spring, I begin the routine of preparing the clayish ground in my backyard in Glen Eden, Auckland, New Zealand. Once the ground is fertilized, I decide on what best to plant. Then I buy seedlings and care for these through summer. As the season turns toward autumn, I harvest enough vegetables for the dining table.
Caring for plants is a simple task, yet it is rewarding. One has to be consistent in sprinkling water; one has to regularly pull out undesirable grass; one has to put fertilizer; one has to prune every now and then.
Doing little tasks in gardening gives meaning to life. You don’t need hectares of land; all that is required is a little space, and much love for sowing, growing and harvesting.