How to grow a green thumb (and eventually, your own garden)

Photos by Erwin Canlas

It’s 2016 and a lot of people are still on that health kick. There has been a boom in organic restaurants over the past few years and we’re pretty happy about it. But think about this: how sure are you that what you’re eating is truly organic? Your favorite organic restaurant might not even be serving genuine organic food.

If you want a true lifestyle change, it may be time to go all-out. Maybe the only way to make sure that what you’re eating really goes straight from farm to table is to grow your own produce. And it’s not even that hard. All you really need is a pot of soil and enough dedication to get you to water your plant babies twice a day.

One of the common misconceptions about urban gardening is you need to have the backyard for it. But for a start, your windowsill and patio will be enough. If you have pets or if you’re living in a smaller space, consider a vertical garden. It’s basically putting your pots on a shelf for more storage space.

Aside from planting vegetables to eat, it’s also a good way to test your parenting skills. For example, the plant sansevieria is the easiest thing to take care of (even college students who are working on their thesis can keep it alive). In fact, they say that if you manage to kill a sansevieria, then you’re pretty much doomed as a parent. (Just kidding.)

To get you started, Cedarhills Garden Center in Quezon City is offering basic urban gardening workshops. With their short classes, they want to educate city-dwellers about the possibilities of having a piece of green haven in the metro. They cover the basics like seed planting and transplanting. They even give you tips on which plants are good for indoors and outdoors. A pro tip: succulents aren’t meant to be kept indoors. Give your little Instagram friends sunlight once in a while; your feed will be better for it.

This week, we asked the nice folks of Cedarhills to teach us a thing or two about seed planting. We’ll see a greener and better Metro Manila –– and you! –– in no time.


• Seed of choice

• Watering can

• Seed strainer

• A pot or planters

• Measuring cup

• Measuring spoon

• Stirrer

• Unchlorinated water

(To do this: Leave tap water in room temperature overnight)

• EMAS mixture (molasses + EM-1 + water)


To make the EMAS mixture, combine 50mL molasses, 50mL EM-1 and 900mL water in a plastic container. You can also purchase this mixture in Cedarhills.


Pour one tbsp of EMAS in a liter of unchlorinated water and stir.


Put your seeds in a mini strainer and soak it in the water mixture for two to three hours for small seeds and seven to eight hours for bigger seeds.


Put soil in your pot of choice. Make sure that your soil is compatible for growing plants. Potting mix can also be purchased in gardening supplies stores.


Transfer the water in the pitcher to a watering can and wet your soil.


Poke holes in the pot and place the seed. Make sure you plant one seed in one pot. Plants need space too.


Sprinkle with more soil on top and press it gently. Water the pot.


Water it regularly and make sure it gets enough sunlight. Or better yet, leave it outside or by your windowsill. After a week or so, it should look this this.

Cedarhills Garden Center is located at #57, Mo. Ignacia Ave, Diliman, Quezon City. For workshop schedules and more details, contact 0907-6742642.


Share this: