Being on a boat didn’t stop this man from pursuing his passion for farming

By Ankrizel Santos

Having a garden that can supply your daily needs is priceless. Just imagine waking up and not worrying about buying fresh vegetables because you already have it in the comfort of your own home. You can save money and reduce the risk of eating vegetables that may contain harmful chemicals at the same time.

According to a study conducted in the Netherlands, gardening is also a natural way to relieve stress. It is a better way to relax and it can improve your mood. That’s why for Capt. Primitivo Lanario Jr., being a seafarer and living outside the country will never be a hindrance in pursuing his love for gardening.

Since he’s working as a captain in an international vessel that travels through African countries like Angola, Gabon, Cameroun, and Congo, Lanario decided to create his own vegetable garden. Approprioately, he calls it “Garden at Sea.” “Lumaki ako sa bukid dahil ang mga magulang ko ay mga magsasaka. Simula po noong maliit pa ako ay pagtatanim na ang aking hilig at naging passion ko na rin ang gardening kahit ako’y sumasakay na ng barko.” 

Capt. Primitivo Lanario and his ‘Garden at Sea.’

Nag-decide ako na magkaroon ng garden para magkaroon ako ng stress reliever. Sa nature kasi ng trabaho ko sa barko bilang kapitan ay matindi ang stress at pressure. So noong nagsimula na akong magkaroon ng tanim sa barko ay naging libangan ko na,” he adds.

Aside from his passion for gardening, the captain also noted that he decided to build his own vegetable garden to provide a source of fresh vegetables. “Sa byahe kasi namin ay medyo mahirap ang supply ng mga gulay at hindi maganda ang quality. Dahil hindi gaanong mahigpit ang authorities sa mga port na pinupuntahan namin, naisipan kong magtanim ng mga gulay mismo sa barko. Gumawa ako ng paraan para kahit paano ay meron kaming source ng gulay.

Capt. Lanario buys soil from agricultural stores in different countries and uses seeds from the Philippines and Africa. He converted empty bottles, plastic crates, and wooden boxes into vegetable pots. If you’re wondering where Capt. Lanario gets his fertilizers and pesticides, he shared that he uses all the food waste from the galley and other materials at the ship.

“Lahat ng pino-produce ko na gulay ay organic. Ako lang ang gumagawa ng pataba na galing sa food waste. Natutunan ko gumawa ng mga organic fertilizer at pesticides sa mga sinasalihan kong gardening group sa Facebook at pananaliksik sa Internet,” he says.

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His little garden consists of lettuce, alugbati, jute (saluyot), basil, onion, radish, tomato, okra, lemon grass, swiss chards, blue ternate, amaranth, peppermint, bitter gourd, and many more.

The “Garden at Sea” is not just a passion project, but it’s also his way to save money and share his knowledge about gardening to his crewmates. “Bukod sa nakakatipid kami sa budget namin sa pagkain, nagkaroon na rin ng interes at idea sa gardening ang aking mga crewmates. Kapag nasa bakasyon sila ay pwede nilang i-apply ang idea ko para makapagsimula sila ng kanilang vegetable garden sa kanilang bakuran.”

Capt. Lanario’s effort in building this unique garden is an inspiration to everyone. Just like he said, “Walang imposible kung pursigido tayo sa isang bagay na gusto nating gawin.”

Photos from Capt. Primitivo Lanario Jr.