By JAMES TABABA
Falling under the rainy season, July still brings frequent rainfall, high humidity, and occasional typhoons. Here are some crops that can tolerate the rain during this month:
Snap bean (Phaseolus vulgaris)
Snap beans, commonly known as Baguio beans, thrive in the cool climate and fertile in the northern part of the Philippines. They are prized for their tender texture, delicate flavor, and nutritional value. These versatile beans are used in various Filipino dishes and provide protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals while being low in fat and cholesterol.
Snap beans are easy to grow, suitable for the Philippine climate, and can be cultivated year-round with adequate moisture, soil nutrients, and pest protection. They grow well in well-drained clay loam soil, pH 5.5-7.5, and prefer temperatures between 18-29°C.
Planting beans at a depth of 2.5 cm ensures proper germination, while incorporating chicken dung and NPK fertilizer enhances soil quality and nutrients. For small-scale production, a general recommendation is to use 1 tablespoon of complete fertilizer (14-14-14) plus a handful of chicken dung per hill at planting, and another 1 tablespoon of T14 applied during hilling up. This fertilizer can be applied in two doses at planting and the other half applied one month after planting.
Harvesting green pods, around 10-15 days after flowering, is crucial to avoid fibrous and tough beans. Pods are ready for picking every 3 to 4 days, 45-60 days after planting.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
Ginger is a versatile spice and herb widely used in Filipino cuisine, adding pungent and slightly sweet flavors to stews, soups, and marinades. It is not only valued for its culinary purposes but also recognized for its medicinal properties. Traditional Philippine medicine utilizes ginger for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, treating ailments like coughs, colds, and digestive issues.
Ginger thrives in well-drained, slightly sloped areas with light to medium-textured soil rich in organic matter and a pH range of 6.8 to 7.0. It can grow in elevations up to 1500 meters above sea level, with annual rainfall of 200-300 cm evenly distributed throughout the year. Optimal growth occurs in temperatures ranging from 25 to 35°C, and ginger can tolerate shading between 25-40%.
Planting ginger is typically done at the start of the rainy season from April to May, but it can be done year-round in areas with consistent water supply. Pre-germinated seed pieces are spaced 30 cm apart in furrows and lightly covered with soil. Mulching with rice straw or coconut leaves is recommended for small-scale plantings. Ginger is often intercropped with perennial crops like coconut and coffee to maximize land utilization.
Due to its high nutrient demand, ginger requires significant fertilization. The recommended application rate is 180 kg/ha of nitrogen, 180 kg/ha of phosphorus, and 255 kg/ha of potassium. Potassium supply is particularly crucial for ginger. Fertilization includes 11.5 bags of 14-14-14, 4 bags of 0-0-60, and 5 tons/ha of animal manure, incorporated during furrow preparation. Inorganic fertilizers are side-dressed at 30 and 60 days after planting.
Harvesting occurs 8-10 months after planting, signaled by yellowing and withering leaves. Each hill is carefully dug using a spading fork or hoe, ensuring the intact removal of the entire plant without damaging the rhizomes.
Talinum (Talinum triangulare)
Talinum, also known as waterleaf, is a nutritious leafy vegetable popularly consumed in the Philippines. It is rich in vitamins, minerals such as iron, calcium, vitamin C, and beta-carotene, and is used in various dishes like stir-fries, salads, and soups. Talinum is suitable for small-scale farming, as it can tolerate different soil conditions.
This warm-season vegetable thrives in warm, humid tropical climates, with optimal growth between 25-35°C and a relative humidity of 70-80%. Sandy loam soil with a pH of 5.5-7.0, enriched with organic matter and nutrients, is preferred. Planting during the rainy season ensures sufficient moisture for growth.
Propagation of talinum is commonly done through seeds, although collecting small seeds can be challenging due to fruit shattering. Alternatively, cuttings from mature stems at about 15-20 cm long can be used for propagation.
Talinum seeds can be broadcasted or directly sown in the field or seedbox before transplantation. Delicate seedlings require shading and mulching for proper growth.
Harvesting typically begins 6-8 weeks after sowing, either by uprooting the whole plant or cutting off young tops. This can be repeated 15-20 times per year, with a two-week interval between harvests.
Pako (Diplazium esculentum)
Pako, also known as fiddlehead fern, is a popular vegetable in the Philippines. It is a delicacy used in stir-fries, soups, and salads, offering vitamins A and C, iron, calcium, and dietary fiber, with low calorie content.
This tropical crop thrives in areas with high humidity and rainfall, making the rainy season ideal for planting in the Philippines. Selecting a variety that tolerates high humidity is crucial to prevent common diseases like fungal and bacterial infections.
Pako prefers well-drained, sandy loam soil with a pH range of 5.5-6.5, rich in organic matter and nutrients, with good water retention capacity. Proper soil preparation involves plowing, harrowing, and leveling, followed by creating furrows spaced 30 cm apart.
Organic fertilizers like compost and animal manure should be applied during planting, supplemented with inorganic fertilizers at 3-4 week intervals.
Harvesting begins 30-40 days after planting, when the leaves are still curled or coiled before unfurling. The best time for harvesting is in the early morning when the leaves are crisp. Cut the fronds at the base, leaving 2-3 inches of the stalk for regrowth.
Eggplant (Solanum melongena)
Eggplant or talong, is a significant vegetable crop in the Philippines, widely used in local cuisine such as adobo, tortang talong, and pinakbet. It offers nutritional value, being rich in vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, making it a nutritious addition to a healthy diet.
Planting eggplants is recommended during the rainy season when they can tolerate excessive rainfall. They thrive in temperatures between 25-32°C, but it is important to select disease-resistant varieties for high humidity conditions, preventing fungal and bacterial diseases
Eggplants prefer well-drained sandy loam or silt loam soils with a pH range of 5.5-6.8. Soil preparation involves plowing, harrowing, and leveling to create a deep, loose soil structure that aids root penetration and nutrient absorption.
Transplanting eggplant seedlings with a spacing of 50 cm between plants and rows follows soil preparation. Regular weeding, watering, and fertilization are necessary for optimal growth.
The recommended fertilizer application for eggplant is 50-60 kg/ha of nitrogen, 30-40 kg/ha of phosphorus, and 40-50 kg/ha of potassium. Organic fertilizers like compost and animal manure are advised during planting, supplemented with inorganic fertilizers every 3-4 weeks.
Harvesting of eggplants can begin around 65-75 days after transplanting. Fruit maturity varies depending on the variety, and they should be harvested using a sharp knife or scissors, carefully cutting the fruit from the stem without damaging the plant.
Production guides are available for download on the Department of Agriculture Bureau of Plant Industry website here.