By Patricia Bianca S. Taculao
When people mention the west coast, they think of sunny days lounging around on the beach. But for Victor Mendegorin, who originally hails from Pangasinan, the warm weather of California is another opportunity for him to use his knowledge of growing vegetables which he learned from his high school teacher.
Dubbed ‘Bahay Kubo ni Tsong,’ the patio garden he now maintains is L-shaped, with a contemporary look. He considers it his personal “man cave” where he can recharge and get exercise.
“I just go to my backyard and it brings back to the feeling of my life in the province where you can see all the greens, the butterflies, bees, and the humming of the birds,” he said.
Since he works as a food and beverage attendant at Marriott Vacation Club during the nights, Mendegorin visits his garden early in the morning and he attached a modern irrigation system that uses drippers which automatically turns on or off, saving both time and water.
How the patio garden came to be
From a simple hobby, Mendegorin managed to fulfill his dream of having his own garden.
“It’s been my dream that when I have my own house I will have a vegetable and flower garden. And when we got the opportunity to buy a house, I envisioned the backyard for my dream garden thus ‘Bahay Kubo ni Tsong’ was born,” he said.
Vegetables such as okra, tomatoes, a variety of chilis, kangkong, and lettuce to name a few grow in the patio garden along with fruits and herbs.
Since they live in a state where the weather is mostly warm, Mendegorin found it challenging to grow vegetables because he also had to deal with sandy soil along with the four seasons: winter, spring, summer, and fall.
“It was a lot of trial and error at first and expensive too. I have to condition the soil to make sure they have the right pH, study the vegetables like learn what month they should be planted and how much sunlight they need,” he said.
Despite the challenges he faced, the encouragement and support that he got from his wife willed him to go on. After he overcame the challenges. Mendegorin’s flourishing patio garden provides his family with fresh and healthy produce.
Aside from the automatic irrigation system, Mendegorin maintains his patio garden by visiting it every morning before sunrise to pick the insects to avoid using artificial pesticides. He also feeds them with homemade organic compost.
Setting an example
The food and beverage attendant admitted that starting a patio garden is not an easy feat, but through his perseverance and determination, he managed to achieve his goal.
“Invest your heart into it and soon enough, you will be harvesting the fruits of your own labor. You can even feed your loved ones knowing that the produce is safe while also saving money at the same time,” he said.
Since he experienced the trials of being a newbie at gardening, Mendegorin established a Facebook page where he features his patio garden while also sharing tips to those who need it.
He hopes that this will inspire aspiring gardeners to make their gardening dreams come true.
For more information, visit Bahay Kubo ni Tsong on Facebook.
This article appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s July to August 2020 issue.