Good Cocoa Nursery Establishment and Management

The success of a cocoa farm to a larger extent will depend on a good planting material. You can grow your cocoa farm from the seed (directly) or seedling. We recommend you do it with the cocoa seedlings from a good cocoa nursery establishment.

What is a cocoa nursery?

Cocoa nursery is where you raise cocoa seedlings for transplanting to the field at the appropriate time. The work on cocoa nursery should start somewhere between November and December. This timing will help you meet the rains at time of transplanting to the field.

Site selection for cocoa nursery establishment

Make the following considerations when you are thinking of a place to establish your nursery.

  1. Water. The nursery will require water and especially at the period you will be doing it. So make sure there is available and accessible water source.
  2. Select a flat land, preferably close to the farm on which they will be transplanted.
  3. The soil must have good drainage. Water-logging is not good for your nursery.
  4. The site for your nursery should be away (about 10meters) from the nearest cocoa farm. Pest from these cocoa farms can also attack the seedlings.
  5. Some shady trees my pose a problem for the nursery and may even promote the infection of Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease (CSSVD).

Land preparation and shading of the cocoa nursery site

You must weed and clear the site of all obstacles that will impede work in the nursery.

Cocoa nursery establishment requires that you erect a temporal shade with shade nets or palm fronds. This is to protect the seedlings from direct sunlight. Raise the shade about 2meters above the ground.

If there are livestock around that could pose threat to the seedlings, fence it.

Nursing the cocoa

You can raise the cocoa seedling in;

  1. Pots / Polythene bags
  2. Seed bed
Raising cocoa seedlings in pots/polythene bags

1. Get your polythene bags

a. If you are nursing the cocoa for a shorter period, say 3months, the bags can be smaller in size (about 12.5 cm x 25 cm)
b. If you are nursing for up to 6 months use a much bigger polythene bag (18cm x 25cm)

2. Create drainage holes at the bottom of the polythene bags. This will allow excess water to drain off and prevent logging.

3. The you fill poly bags with soil to the brim. Use soils with good aeration, water retention and high in organic matter.

4. For easy management, arrange the bags in block. Let each row have 10bags wide and 100bags longs. That will be 1000bags per block.

5. To make movement easy through the blocks, leave a gap of about 45-60cm. This will be used as path during the various operations on the nursery.

6. Water the soil in the bags before sowing the cocoa beans.

7. Sow the bean at a depth of 2cm with pointed side of the bean upward. If you are not sure, place it flat at the same depth. Avoid seeds that are already germinating.

8. Monitor germination and growth.

Cocoa nursery establishment on nursery beds

1. Weed and clear the area of all plant debris.

2. Prepare your bed of about 12.5cm high and 120cm wide. The length could go as you want. However, leave a gap of about 45-60cm to serve a path. This will help avoid stepping on the bed and compacting it during various operations in the nursery.

3. Level the top of the beds and create grooves 20cm apart on the entire bed.

4. Now, place the cocoa beans in the grooves 10cm apart.

5. Provide shade as it is done in the polythene bags method.

Note: Do not keep seedlings for more than 4months before transplanting when you raise them on beds.

How to maintain the cocoa nursery

After germination, watering should be done in the morning and evening when it is not raining. This will not be the case in the rainy season. Water as and when it is required. Too much watering can cause damping-off.

Control weeds regularly on polythene bags or nursery bed by hand.

Applying fertilizer or manure

Little or no fertilization may be needed if good soils are used in the cocoa nursery establishment.

However, if they are lacking in nutrients you can apply the recommended rate of fertilizer a month after germination. Be careful, if granules are used they don’t fall on the leaves. They can scorch the leaves. Water well so that the granular fertilizer can dissolve for the roots to use.

Controlling pest and disease

Use recommended fungicides and insecticides to control pests and diseases.

Do not apply those chemicals with knapsack sprayers used for applying herbicides.

Hardening the seedlings

Hardening helps to prepare the seedlings for transplant to their permanent field.

This is done by reducing the shade gradually a month before transplanting. The shade is then removed completely a week to transplanting.

At this stage, reduce watering and do not apply fertilizer.

How to transport seedlings from nursery to the field

This is a critical stage after the cocoa nursery establishment. The seedlings if not well handled can be damaged during transporting.

Do not overcrowd the seedlings. Carry just as much as the space available.

Records keeping on cocoa nursery establishment.

This activity should be done at the beginning, during and at the end of the nursery establishment. Keep records on everything including the source and quantity of materials used, the number of seeds planted, the number of seeds germinated, etc.

7 Tips on Profitable Farming with Good Records Keeping

Farming is a business and so farmers must treat it as such. This starts with proper planning and diligent execution of all on-farm and off-farm activities. If you intend to make farming your business then keeping records is a very important activity to note. Tracking your income and expenditure, weather trends, the efficacy of applications and treatments on the farm, efficiencies of various technologies, among others, can determine your success or otherwise in farming. You cannot ignore records keeping from your daily chores on the farm.

We have elaborated various tips that can help you in good records keeping on your farms for a very successful farming business.

1. Have a long-term vision

This is for those who have decided to be in farming for a long time. It is important to have a clear picture of where you want to be, as a farmer. A vision, as in any business, will be your long-term guide and motivation. Whenever you pause to ponder over your farms, your vision is what you weigh against progress to see if you are on the path to achieving what you envision. Altogether, your records will be a vital guide.

2. Set goals for your farms

Now, break long-term vision into short-term goals. Do not be too ambitious. Keeping records of various activities will help you track progress. Make sure the goals you set are in line with your vision and set up activities that can address the goals. Think of your resources and which farming enterprise to start with, in which season. Decide how to use your capital and how you intend to generate profit. With your knowledge of records keeping, you will steadily get to your vision.

3. Track money coming in and going out

It is very important for farmers to track their income and expenditure. Keep all your invoices, receipts and all documents on income and expenditure on your farm. Moreover, keep a journal to record all the monies spent especially on labour. Where there are more that one enterprise, you may keep records separately to be able to track progress on each enterprise. Do not forget to record dates of various transactions. Your records will tell you, which months have the highest demands for money.

4. Learn from your data

The records you have kept will be your greatest tool moving forward to achieving your goals and ultimately your vision. From the records, you can compare the cost of inputs and their efficacies. Moreover, you can know from the data if you are truly making a profit. The data should be able to give you all the vital information you need, to make all the necessary changes or improvements. If you do not find any information you want, that in itself is enough information to know what to add to your records the next time around. If you want to get your records keeping right at the first attempt, we are glad to help.

5. Cost your own labour time and where to use it

We are referring to your labour against hired labour. Most farmers think that their own labour used on the farms are worth no money. However, keeping records of your own labour will help you know how to distribute it to maximise profit. Costing your labour will give you the true picture of the real cost of production in a particular enterprise. Data on your labour will help you decide when or if you need to hire. Besides, it helps to take up other responsibilities in your farming enterprise.

6. Make use available resources

You do not need to be good at maths or an expert accountant to keep good records. In fact, there are lots of resources available that you can use. You can dwell on your personal experience or that of other farmers. Furthermore, you can seek the help of an Extension Agent from the nearest Department of Agriculture. Agrihome offers lots of information on its blog that can help you along the way. Best of all, Agrihome also offers free support all the way through your production on MyFarm Community. Just start your inquiry in any area of choice.

7. Develop successful habits

Keeping good farm records is obviously one of the key habits you need to develop, as well as a focus. With a focus on the set goals and vision, you are always bent on learning from the data and improving. Develop the habit of organising your records very well and making your plans for them. Set times to look at your books. Either weekly, monthly or quarterly. This will help you concentrate on other activities and evaluate your data at other times at specific intervals.

What The Future Of Farming Will Look Like Thanks To Technology

As the food industry continues to evolve, advanced technology is becoming a more prominent part of farming. In recent interviews, three experts shared their ideas about the future of farming and tech. Ofir Schlam, CEO and co-founder of Taranis, Jason Green, the CEO and co-founder of Edenworks, and Kevin Brown, CEO and co-founder of Innit, discussed the changes that will happen.

“In 2017, tech startups in the agriculture sphere raised $670 million to develop software management, big data analytics, automated equipment and other cutting-edge tools that help farmers grow crops with scientific precision. While companies face several challenges, such as imaging limitations and a lack of data management, farmers are still keen to introduce technologies to improve farm management. Between today’s labor shortages and the world’s rising demand for food, farmers must look to technology to predict and prevent threats to millions of acres of crops worldwide,” Schlam says.

Canola field. Photo by Martin Schutt/picture alliance via Getty Images photo credit: picture alliance via Getty Images

Canola field. Photo by Martin Schutt/picture alliance via Getty Images photo credit: picture alliance via Getty Images GETTY

Brown believes that every step of the food journey, from farm to fork, will be influenced by technology. Smart supply chains will track and report where the food came from and how it was handled, down to the individual package. Blockchain tech will enhance trust as food information is captured and shared at every point of the journey. New sensors will allow people to rapidly scan food and measure it down to the molecular level, ensuring better quality and transparency.

Schlam agrees and sees artificial intelligence (AI) as an important component of the future. While current technology is far more advanced than the tools previous generations used, there needs to be a renewed focus on technology using AI capabilities to make massive amounts of data useful and actionable. The future of farming will be dependent on precision technology, the adoption of automated practices, indoor urbanized farming and more. All of these innovations will help to propagate the growth of farming crops. The ultimate goal is to create a synergy between farming and technology that works with the forces of nature to maximize production.

Working with nature and not against it is a crucial part, according to Green. “The basis of our technology is ecosystems. It is our belief that the more we can replicate the biodiversity of nature, and the microbial diversity that results, the faster and more healthy our plants and fish will grow. Future farms will have an increasing focus on microbial health. Generic sequencing of the microbiome will help us understand what microbial communities exist in our system at any given point enabling us to understand the health of our farm’s immune system before disease actually hits,” Green explains.

Green’s company is focused on making indoor farming cost competitive with field farming. He believes it is the only way to make the sustainability benefits of aquaponic farming truly widespread and impactful. As opposed to the Industrial Revolution, which created cheap products through brute force, synthetic chemicals and backbreaking labor, he thinks it is possible to fulfill this mission by looking to nature to do most of the work for people. “A mantra that we use internally is that by harnessing nature’s complexity, we share its abundance,” Green shares.

Brown looks at the big picture and sees tech innovations spreading from the farm to the table. Increasingly, food recommendations will be made by software based on personalized nutrition. Users will simply indicate their preferences, and the right items will show up. Machine learning advances in voice and vision will create more seamless assistance with shopping, managing food and cooking. New cooking technologies powered by automated cooking programs will enable vastly improved quality of home-cooked meals while reducing stress and time requirements.

Why is Organic Fertilizer Better for Crops and Soil Improvement?

What is Organic Fertilizer?

Any fertilizer that originates from an organic source, we consider it organic. Some examples include fish extracts, manure, and compost. (

According to, Organic fertilizers undergo little processing and include ingredients such as compost and manure.

Advantages of Organic Fertilizer
  1. Organic fertilizers, besides releasing nutrients for plant’s growth also improves soil structure. The continuous application of organic fertilizers will improve water and nutrients retention of the soil and improve activities or beneficial soil organisms.
  2. They release nutrients slowly and so it is difficult to over fertilize and harm your plants.
  3. You avoid the condition of the toxic build up of chemicals and salts. These chemicals and salts are not good for plants. Moreso, they can wash into nearby waters and underground waters, making them unhealthy for consumption by man or animals.
  4. Organic fertilizers are environmentally friendly and sustainable. Also, they are renewable and biodegradable.
  5. Organic fertilizers can be made from household biodegradable waste such as kitchen waste, plant leaves and other plant residues. .

Disadvantages of Organic Fertilizers
  1. Organic fertilizer takes some time to break down and so releases nutrients slowly. This does not help in the quick recovery of crops.
  2. It is bulky. Nutrient levels in organic fertilizers are relatively low and so requires relatively large quantities to reach plants requirements.
  3. Microorganisms require warm and moist conditions to break down release nutrients. During the dry and cold seasons, the activity of microorganisms is substantially reduced and so the effectiveness of fertilizer is limited.

Organic Farming: Types, Principles, Methods and Importance

Organic farming is the method of crop and livestock production that involves much more than choosing not to use pesticides, fertilizers, genetically modified organisms, antibiotics and growth hormones. (food.ndtv. com)

In other words, it is referred to as, low input farming and uses natural sources of nutrients. These sources of nutrients include compost, crop residues and manure, and natural methods of crop and weed control, instead of using synthetic or inorganic agrochemicals.

Organic farming may be adopted, to…;

  1. increase genetic diversity.
  2. promote more usage of natural pesticides.
  3. make sure the right soil cultivation at the right time.
  4. keep and build good soil structure and fertility.
  5. control pests, diseases and weeds.
1. Pure organic farming

It involves the use of organic manures and biopesticides with complete avoidance of inorganic chemicals and pesticides.

2. Integrated organic farming

It involves integrated nutrients management and integrated pest management. It is the type of farming where you grow crops from natural resources. Further, having the complete nutritive value and also manage to prevent the crop or plants from the pests.

In organic farming, we use the following techniques;
  • CROP ROTATION: It is the technique to grow various kind of crops in the same area, according to the different seasons, in a sequential way.
  • GREEN MANURE: It refers to the dying plants that are uprooted and turned into the soil to make them act as a nutrient for the soil to increase its quality
  • BIOLOGICAL PEST CONTROL: With this method, we use living organisms to control pests with or without the use of chemicals.
  • COMPOST: Highly rich in nutrients, it is a recycled organic matter used as a fertilizer in the agricultural farms.
1. Soil management

After cultivation of crops, the soil loses its nutrients and its quality deplete. Organic agriculture initiates the use of natural ways to increase the fertility of the soil.  Hence, it focuses on the use of bacteria that is present in animal waste. The bacteria helps in making the soil nutrients more productive and fertile.

2. Weed management

Weed is the unwanted plant that grows in agricultural fields.  Organic agriculture focuses on lowering weed and not removing it completely. The two most widely used weed management techniques are;

● Mulching: A process where we use plastic films or plant residue on the surface of the soil to block the growth of weed.

● Mowing or Cutting: Where there is a removal of weeds top growth.

3. Crop diversity

Monoculture is the practice used in the agricultural fields where we harvest and cultivate only one type of crop in a particular place. Recently, polyculture has come in existence, where we harvest and cultivate kinds of crops. To meet the increasing crop demand and produce the required soil microorganisms.

4. Controlling other organisms

There are both useful and harmful organisms in the agricultural farm which affect the field. So, we need to control the growth of such organisms to protect the soil and the crops. We can do this by the use of herbicides and pesticides that contain fewer chemicals or are natural.

  1. The environment benefits because natural habitat sources are less threatened.
  2. It provides healthier food for people.
  3. The soil is in better condition because of the manure used.
  1. Organic farming helps to prevent environmental degradation and can be used to regenerate degraded areas
  2. Organic manures produce an ideal condition in the soil for high yields and good quality of crops.
  3. They cut the need for purchased inputs.
  4. They improve the soil chemical properties such as supply and retention of soil nutrients and promote favourable chemical reactions.
  5. Organically grown plants are more resistant to diseases and insect and hence only a few chemical sprays or other protective treatment are required.
  6. Poison – free.
  1. Production costs are a high error because farmers need more workers.
  2. Food illness may happen more often.
  3. Organic food is more expensive because farmers do not get much out of their land as conventional farmers do.
  4. Organic farming cannot produce enough food that the world’s population needs to survive.

Organic Farming: Benefits and limitations

In recent years, organic farming has become a trend toward a healthier lifestyle.  The government formalized the adoption of this farming system when Congress passed Republic Act No. 10068 or the Organic Act of 2010.

Through the Act, the government has been mandated to “promote, propagate, develop further, and implement the practice of organic agriculture in the Philippines.”

Organic farming has many benefits, the Act said. This farming practice cumulatively conditions and enriches the fertility of the soil, increases farm productivity, reduces pollution and destruction of the environment, prevents depletion of natural resources, saves on imported farm inputs, and protects the health of farmers, consumers, and the general public.

The Act paved the way for people to be aware of the benefits of chemical-free agricultural products, especially among those who are healthy-conscious.

Still, there remains concrete limitations to the successful practice of organic farming in the country.


Benjamin R. Lao of Barangay Eman in Bansalan, Davao del Sur has completely transformed his farm into a haven for organic products.

Lao is one of the many farmers in the Davao region who follow the organic methods of farming.

Benjamin R. Lao

The farmer-scientist managed to produce coconut sugar and coconut syrup under the brand “Donnabelle,” a combination of her two daughters’ name.   Both are alternative sweeteners which are known for their lower glycemic index.

Today, Lao Integrated Farms, Inc. (LIFI) is one of the country’s biggest exporters of coconut syrup to the United States.

It likewise exports coco sugar and coco syrup to Japan and the Netherlands and ships coconut sap-based teriyaki sauce to Germany and Australia.

Aside from coconut-based products, LIFI has also come up with other saleable foodstuffs: ice cream with goat’s milk, flavored with malunggay, turmeric, durian and soursop; and tea from coco sugar, mixed with natural extracts from malunggay (moringa), turmeric, lemon grass and mangosteen.


In 2011, the Department of Agriculture named him as Agri-Achiever on Organic Farming during the Gawad Saka Awards.

“Organic farming means going back to the basics,” said Roy C. Alimoane, director of the Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center (MBRLC).

The center, a non-government organization based located in Barangay Kinuskusan in Bansalan, Davao del Sur, has been promoting organic farming since the 1970s.

“We want people who come to the center that once they return to their respective places,” Alimoane pointed out, “they have learned something which they could use in their own farms.”

Environment-friendly, natural, not using pesticides and other chemicals, sustainable, regenerative, and healthy—these are the words used to describe this method of farming which has recently captured the attention of many countries around the world.

“Organic agriculture is the answer,” stressed Jessica Reyes-Cantos of the Manila-based Rice Watch and Action Network.  “It won’t only retain soil productivity but it can make farming viable.  If farmers will have additional income from their land they will continue to plant rice.”


Definitions vary, but according to the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, organic agriculture is a production system that relies on ecological processes, such as waste recycling, rather than the use of synthetic inputs, such as chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

“Although organic agriculture often produces lower yields on land that has recently been farmed conventionally, it can outperform conventional practices—especially in times of drought—when the land has been farmed organically for a longer time,” said Laura Reynolds, co-author of the Worldwatch report, “Organic Agriculture Contributes to Sustainable Food Security.”

Reynolds, a researcher with Worldwatch’s Food and Agriculture Program, said that “conventional agricultural practices often degrade the environment over both the long and short term through soil erosion, excessive water extraction, and biodiversity loss.”

Organic farming, she pointed out, has the potential to contribute to sustainable food security by improving nutrition intake and sustaining livelihoods in rural areas, while simultaneously reducing vulnerability to climate change and enhancing biodiversity.

Another benefit of organic agriculture is that it uses up to 50% less fossil fuel energy than conventional farming, and common organic practices— including rotating crops, applying mulch to empty fields, and maintaining perennial shrubs and trees on farms—also stabilize soils and improve water retention, thus reducing vulnerability to harsh weather patterns.

“On average, organic farms have 30% higher biodiversity, including birds, insects, and plants, than conventional farms do,” said Catherine Ward, co-author of the Worldwatch report.


Aside from Lao, another organic farmer from Bansalan is the Espinosa family of Lower Mabuhay.  During the Regional Organic Agriculture Congress last year, they were recognized as the organic farming family.  On their farm, chemicals are abhorred.


“I have a one-hectare farmland and all that were planted are pure organic,” Janilo Espinosa, the head of the family, was quoted as saying.  “All our animals were fed using organic-based feeds.”

It was his parents who opened his eyes to organic farming.  “When I was a child, my family was into organic farming and I can still remember how we put up our garden,” he recalled.  “When I got married, I continued my family’s legacy and raised my children through organic farming.”

One good thing about organic farming is that it keeps the family healthy.  “Based on our own experience, compared to conventionally grown food, organic food is much richer in nutrients,” Espinosa said.  “It enhances the nutrients of the soil which is passed on to the plants and animals.”

Researchers from the University of Michigan found that in developed countries, yields were almost equal on organic and conventional farms.  And in developing countries, food production could double or triple using organic methods, according to Professor Ivette Perfecto in the university’s School of Natural Resources and Environment, and one the study’s principal investigators.

Perfecto said that those who believed the world will go hungry if farming went organic is “ridiculous.”  In an article which appeared in People and the Planet, she explained: “Corporate interest in agriculture and the way agriculture research has been conducted in land grant institutions, with a lot of influence by the chemical companies and pesticide companies as well as fertilizer companies—all have been playing an important role in convincing the public that you need to have these inputs to produce food.”

The outcomes of their study seemed to jibe with the earlier findings of a British team, which reported in 1999 that organic farming could produce enough food to feed large populations.  In fact, the said study concluded that it could be viable even in developing countries “if the political climate is favorable.”

Farms could be economically viable on a much larger scale, even in developing countries with large populations, said Dr. Liz Stockdale, of the Institute of Arable Crop Research in England.

“In less developed countries, countries where the conventional agricultural systems aren’t that intensive to start with, we can see that conventional systems and organic systems actually can match yields very closely,” she added.


Despite the benefits derived from organic agriculture, Filipino farmers are still not agog about it.  To find out, Lucille Elna Parreno-de Guzman conducted a study in selected towns in Laguna and in La Trinidad, Benguet, where farmers are adopting organic agriculture.

The researcher found four reasons:

For one, organic agriculture is “knowledge-intensive.”  There are so many options available and it’s up to the farmers to select which suit best to their farms.  After training, “constant monitoring and assistance are still needed to ensure farmers’ continuous practice and compliance to organic agriculture standards,” Parreno-de Guzman wrote.

Another reason: too much labor in the production of organic fertilizers and concoctions.  Most farmers are used to having quick fixes by simply buying chemical inputs.  “Gathering raw materials and preparing these into organic fertilizers and other concoctions is considered laborious and time-consuming,” wrote Parreno-de Guzman.


Vermicomposting—the process of using earthworms to turn organic waste into vermicompost—is the main fertilizer production technology promoted in organic agriculture.

But doing so entails high capital as it requires construction of vermi beds and the use of a shredder to cut the materials for composting.  “These expenses are beyond the reach of small farmers,” Parreno-de Guzman wrote.

But the real reason why most farmers won’t adopt the technology is the low production during the conversion period.  The low harvest is due to the use of organic fertilizer.  “The NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) in chemical fertilizers is easily available for plant uptake unlike organic fertilizers which are slow in releasing nutrients,” wrote Parreno-de Guzman.

Aside from those four reasons, the high cost of organic certification has also been cited as a stumbling block.  Section 17 of RA 10068 stated: “Only third-party certification is allowed (for agriculture produce) to be labeled as organically produced.”

The researcher considered that statement as limiting factor in organic agriculture implementation.  Another limiting factor cited is the cost of certification, which can range from P42,000 to as much as P150,000.

Home gardening tips for preppers: Don’t plant these 18 flowers, fruits and vegetables together

Before you plant anything in your home garden, you need to plan where you’re going to place your crops to ensure that they grow well. This is crucial since certain fruit-bearing plants and vegetables shouldn’t be planted together.

Plant incompatibility basics

Sometimes, plants with different heights don’t grow well together, like tomatoes and other smaller plants.

Other plants require different levels of moisture, while some plants are more susceptible to diseases. Keeping these disease-prone crops from other plants helps restrict possible infections to a small patch of land.

There are plants that chemically damage other plants or even prevent their growth. These allelopathic plants leave behind chemicals that harm or kill other crops.

Most of the plants mentioned in this article are allelopathic, so pay attention and don’t plant them together. Allelopathic plants can make planning your garden more difficult, but doing your research can prevent crop failures.

Below is a list of 18 flowers, fruits, and vegetables that don’t grow well when planted together.


Asparagus requires some space, so don’t let other plants grow too close. It is particularly susceptible to poor growth when planted next to garlic, onions, and potatoes.

Beans and peas

Beans and peas both have negative effects on certain plants, especially all kinds of sweet and hot peppers. Beets are also affected by all kinds of pole beans.


Beets won’t grow well near mustard plants or members of the bean or pea family.

Broccoli and cauliflower

Both broccoli and cauliflower won’t grow well near peppers, strawberries, tomatoes, and squash of all types.

Brussels sprouts

This cruciferous vegetable don’t grow well next to strawberries or tomatoes.

Cabbage and cauliflower

Planting cabbage and cauliflower together makes them susceptible to Plasmodiophora brassicae (club root). Club root makes the plant’s roots swell and unable to take up water, which then kills the plant.

Radish and tomato also don’t grow well near cabbage and cauliflower.


Carrots won’t grow well if you plant them near dill. Additionally, carrots don’t like to share space with parsnips.


Celery can be a bit difficult to grow under normal circumstances. To ensure optimal growth, keep celery away from parsnips or potatoes.

Corn and tomatoes

Separate corn and tomatoes because both are vulnerable to a common fungal infection. If tomatoes are infected, they will infect the corn if both plants were planted too close together.

Corn and tomatoes are susceptible to cotton bollworm (also called corn earworm and tomato fruit worm).


Novice gardeners find it easy to grow cucumbers, but note that these vegetables don’t like being planted near cauliflower, potatoes, or tomatoes, or any strong aromatic herbs like basil, cilantro, lavender, rosemary, and thyme.


Kohlrabi, a cruciferous vegetable in the cabbage family, doesn’t grow well when planted near pole beans, strawberries, or tomatoes.


It’s easy to cultivate lettuce, as long as you plant them away from beans, beets, and parsley.


Marigolds are often included in vegetable gardens because they keep away many pests. However, these brightly colored flowers can stunt the growth of peas and pole beans.


Melons are susceptible to fungi caught from squashes. They should also be kept away from cucumbers and potatoes.

Onions and the allium family

Alliums like onions, garlic, leeks, and shallots will stunt the growth of beans and peas.


Potatoes aren’t compatible with a lot of other plants. To remedy this, grow potatoes in a far corner of your garden.

Even though potatoes and tomatoes belong to the same family, they don’t grow well when planted together. Potatoes slow the growth of tomatoes and the former becomes more susceptible to Phytophthora (potato blight) when the plants are together.

When rotating crops, don’t plant potatoes or tomatoes where the other grew the previous year. Plant potatoes away from cucumbers, melons, squash, sunflowers, tomatoes, and turnips.

Potatoes will grow well when planted near coriander, nasturtium, or sage.


Sunflowers emit a chemical from their roots that prevents nearby plants from growing. This chemical will affect an area of about 12 inches around the plants, so keep other crops away.

Take note that sunflower seed shells also contain toxic chemicals that will kill grass and other plants. Always harvest the seed heads before the seeds start to fall. Since sunflowers grow tall, they may shade out other sun-loving plants.


Tomatoes won’t grow well when planted near cilantro and cucumbers.

If you want to start a home garden, decide what kinds of plants you want to grow and plan where you will plant each flower, fruit, herb, and vegetable to maximize crop yield.

PhilRice expands area for high-quality inbred seeds production

To increase the accessibility of high-quality seeds in Mindanao, Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the University of Southern Mindanao (USM) establishing a 50ha seed production area, June 24.

 “Farmers’ competitiveness starts with high-quality inbred seeds. We have to double our efforts in producing high-quality seeds as demand for foundation, registered, and certified seeds will increase with the implementation of Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Program (RCEP),” said Dr. Sailila E. Abdula, PhilRice acting executive director.

Holding the signed MOA are PhilRice Acting Executive Director Sailila E. Abdula (L) and USM President Francisco Gil N. Garcia (R).

Under RCEP, PhilRice will utilize P3B to produce and distribute high-quality inbred seeds to qualified farmers. The said program is on top of Department of Agriculture’s core project for farmers.

The upcoming PhilRice USM substation will be utilized mainly for seed production, rice technology demonstration, and experiments. USM, based in Kabacan, Cotabato, is one of the country’s four leading state universities with achieved excellence in agricultural education.

Cayetano C. Pomares, USM vice president for research, development, and extension, said they have observed the low adoption of certified inbred seeds in Southern Mindanao. With the collaboration, he hopes to see farmers growing high-quality seeds in their rice fields.

Meanwhile, Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) in Batac, Ilocos Norte renewed its partnership with PhilRice for 25 years. The MOA, which was signed June 26, allows PhilRice to develop 10ha for seed production, technology demonstration, and construction and renovation of state-of-the-art facilities.

“With this effort, we hope to contribute in helping our rice farmers cushion the effect of Rice Trade Liberalization Law,” Dr. Shirley C. Agrupis, MMSU president, said.

PhilRice Batac station is currently housed at MMSU compound, which focuses on dry land agriculture.

llth General Assembly of Loamc-PH

Wishing for the gift of bilocation. Am in Bislig City at the 11th General Assembly of LOAMC. But this afternoon in QC at NCPAG, the Galing Pook Foundation is also having its annual general assembly.

Both organizations are driven by the belief that participatory good local governance is one of the most effective strategies to bring about the changes we want in our country, not in one grand instant, but in many different places, at different times. Through initiatives like Galing Pook and LOAMC, they can inspire one another, learn from one another, and come together to create an impact that is greater than a mere aggregation of their individual efforts. In a mantra from our activist past, “quantitative changes can transform to qualitative changes.”

11 General Assembly of Loamc Phils

I am in Bislig City (the Organic Capital of Asia) representing Regeneration International 🌏 at the 11th General Assembly of the LOAMC Phils. to sign the “Regeneration Philippines” Memorandum of Understanding 🇵🇭. 👏👏👏to LOAMC (a group of +200 municipalities, cities and provinces) for its pledge to address climate change through soil health ☀️🌧🌿🌤🌾🌾🌾🌾🌏🙏