By Vina Medenilla
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) officially announced the onset of the rainy season last May 18, 2022.
During this time, growers are either taking extra precautions to shield their plants from heavy rains or switching to crops that can withstand wet conditions.
If you go with the latter option, here are some crops that can help your gardens or farms progress as the seasons change.
Long purple eggplant
Eggplant (Solanum melongena L.), locally referred to as talong (Tagalog), tarong (Ilocano), or bringhinas (Bisaya), is a year-round vegetable that may be produced in low- to mid-elevation areas. The best soil for this is sandy loam soil with a pH of 5.5-6.5.
One talong variety that is ideal for the rainy season is the Dumaguete Long Purple (DLP), which is known as a waterlogging-tolerant eggplant. It takes 100 days to fully mature and can generate 20 to 25 tons per hectare.
This kind of eggplant can be used as a rootstock for high-yielding tomato cultivars (such as NSIC TM-9) as it is resistant to bacterial wilt and other diseases. It may be employed to produce tomatoes on rainy days or for off-season production.
Kamatis, or tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), is another crop that you can grow all year long. Aside from its versatility as an ingredient, it is also adaptable to various soil types, but prefers sandy loam soil with a pH of 6.0-6.8.
The NSIC TM-9 tomato is a preferred variety if you are grafting it with flood-tolerant and disease-resistant eggplant as a rootstock. Moreover, the cultivation of grafted tomato seedlings is suited to soggy soil conditions.
Besides vegetables, you can also grow rice to complete the meal despite the gloomy days of this season.
Some of the flood-tolerant inbred rice varieties that you can consider are Rio Grande, Ala, Sacobia, Apo, Submarino 1, and Tubigan 18, which were all produced by the UP Los Baños (except for the Rio Grande or Rc 14).
As the name implies, Submarino 1 is a suitable rice variety for flood-prone locations. Submarino 1 or NSIC Rc194 can survive submergence for up to 14 days during its seedling and vegetative stages.
When soaked in rain, this variety takes 125 days after sowing (DAS) to mature and reach a height of 93 cm.
If you are growing in low land or flood-prone zones, one technology that you can efficiently employ, particularly in this season, is hydroponics, or the production of plants in water with nutrients.
There is a simple, non-circulating hydroponics set-up that you can easily create and use without having to spend a lot of money or electricity. Plus, this is less stressful to manage, save, or even relocate in case of floods or a downpour.
The information is from the DOST-PCAARRD’s Information Bulletin No. 86 titled, “Crops and Technologies: Recommendations for La Niña and the Rainy Season.”