By Vina Medenilla
In a mountainous barangay in Cebu City, N Blessing Farm, a 1.1-hectare integrated farm, can be found. Lettuce is grown as the farm’s main crop along with other vegetables, chili, root crops, and fruit-bearing trees. It is also home to farm animals including livestock and poultry. In an interview with Niel Bantilan, the current chief operating officer (COO) of N Blessing Farm and son of Nilo Bantilan, founder of the farm, he shared how their farming family has grown as a team in agriculture. He also discussed a few tips on growing their main crop- lettuce, which will be tackled in this article.
Tips on producing lettuce
Niel has shared a few reminders and tips in terms of growing lettuce based on their farm experiences:
Lettuce variety. Picking a variety of lettuce that is heat-tolerant, less susceptible to bolting (the production of flowers that makes lettuce unpalatable), and that is locally available are three crucial things to consider before cultivating lettuce.
Potting media. According to Niel, a recommended medium is 1:1:1 of cocopeat, carbonized rice hull, and vermicompost. This will allow lettuce seedlings to have a healthy root system. Harden young lettuce plants by gradually exposing them to outdoor conditions to prevent transplant shock.
Watering. Lettuce loves moist soil but isn’t tolerant of a heavy downpour. Because of this, it’s necessary to install a plastic tunnel system to shelter lettuce from rain. Water them early in the morning about three to four times a week. A drip irrigation system is also a great option, especially since it decreases farm labor.
Harvest. Lettuce can be grown in a span of 45 to 90 days after transplanting. Harvest them in the morning to late afternoon to lessen transpiration and wilting.
In over two years, the Bantilan family continues to grow in agriculture and still hopes for many things for their farm. One is to reduce rural poverty by serving as a venue for community-based programs that will help in promoting local food production.
For more information, Visit N Blessing Farm.