By Patricia Bianca S. Taculao
Many gardeners, both seasoned and amateur, would testify that there’s no such thing as a ‘green thumb’, or the special skill of being able to grow plants successfully but rather, that gardening requires hard work and determination to get things to grow.
However, there are times when people are innately blessed with the famous green thumb.
An example of this is Rommel David. He is a family driver employed by a resident in Tagaytay but he does more than just take the wheel–he’s a backyard gardener too. “I’ve been with my employer for 10 years now and I’m both the family driver as well as the gardener. My employer has a mini greenhouse in his property and various vegetables are planted all around the area,” David said.
He specifically emphasized that vegetables are the ones growing in the vicinity and no ornamentals or flowering plants.
“Before I came to work for my employer, it was the housekeeper who tended to the backyard garden. But it wasn’t as appealing as it is now,” the private driver said.
As a response, David took over the maintenance and development of the garden.
“I planted Baguio beans, string beans, squash, lettuce, pechay, radish, carrot, and ampalaya to name a few. I also planted papaya for variety and to have fruits among the vegetables,” he said.
David shared that he merely gives the plants undivided attention as well as all the tender, loving care that they need in order to grow. However, he strictly practices natural farming by avoiding the use of any kind of chemical input such as fertilizer or pesticides.
One reason for this is to make sure that the vegetables are safe for consumption and free from any compounds that could harm a person’s health.
Although the private driver is successful in growing crops, he confided that he learned more than basics by joining online groups of farmers who willingly share their knowledge and offer help to aspiring and experienced growers.
“From a group of eggplant farmers, I learned how to properly care for this specific vegetable and even make them prolific so we can have a bountiful harvest,” David said.
The produce from David’s backyard garden is used for personal consumption or shared to his employers’ friends.
“My employer doesn’t meddle with my work in the garden and hardly gives any instructions. The family I work for simply enjoys strolling around in the garden and it gladdens me to see that aside from being able to produce a lot of vegetables, I’m also making others happy as well,” the family driver said.
Although David is blessed with a green thumb, he admits that he has a lot more to learn when it comes to farming and growing other kinds of produce. Still, he’s eager to absorb any more information that he can come across and happily garden away to his delight and that of others.
To get a glimpse of David’s backyard garden, check out David Roms Backyard Garden on Facebook.
This article appeared in Agriculture Magazine’s July to August 2021 issue.