Welcome to The Flog

One of the big goals of this Flog is to help redefine “farmer”. I love the term “farmer” because it evokes imagery of a kind of relationship with the land, a balance of give and take that engenders appreciation and respect. For others though I think “farmer” means something totally different. However, it doesn’t take a straw hat and stained blue overalls, buck-toothed grin and a shotgun to be a farmer, ok – although that image is very entertaining and I like to joke about it. You can be a farmer even if you live in an apartment.

In the city, being a farmer is fun and dorky and rewarding and kinda cool like that you know?

So lets get this friggin’ Flog started. Right now my farm consists of a 20th floor apartment in the city of Manila, Philippines. Needless to say it’s not a farm in the “conventional” sense. Good thing I’m an unconventional farmer. I have a balcony where I’ll grow my “crops”, and that will be the focus of this adventure.

On gardening: I think it’s hard not to get a feeling of excitement when you’re holding a pack of seeds in your hand, getting ready to plant. Just knowing the power in those seeds, that they will sprout and grow into something vibrant and alive, it’s just awesome.

The fact that you are responsible for that growth is what makes cultivation so much fun for me. What can I do to help it grow faster? Bigger? More succulent? How do I make tomatoes taste more delicious? Peppers more spicy? These are questions that drive me to long hours pouring over Internet forums, books, videos, anything I can get my hands on.

More than just tweaking the growth, appearance or taste of my plants, what are all the different ways I can achieve those goals? Sure I can sprinkle a 10-10-10 slow release fertilizer on my potted plants every 6 months and be done with it. But that’s just not that much fun.

You want to have a sense of accomplishment, like I did something really special and this is how my plant looks because of it, this is how my tomatoes taste…

So with this approach in mind, I’ll start my balcony garden and share all the different fun and totally unconventional methods I use to grow my plants, mostly revolving around Gil’s recipes. I’m not a professional and there is definitely a chance I’ll kill the plants with all my tweaking. In fact I’m going to say now it’s a guarantee I’ll kill some of the plants. Trying new things is half the fun for me though, and it will be for you too – what works and what fails. Along the way hopefully we’ll all learn something about growing a garden, unconventional style.

I’ll see you all next week to discuss “Garden Goals”!

By the way, if you haven’t seen Gil’s recipe for homemade, scentless fish fertilizer, you should check it out. Don’t pay for fertilizer – make it!

  • Jayjay Calimag

    Hi Sir Gil, can I use the lactobacillus serum for hydrophonics system

    • Patrick

      Just make sure you filter out any particles when adding so you don’t clog anything in your system. Should be fine. Let us know how it goes!

      • Jay

        Thanks Sir,does lacto serum expires? Mine was already mix with equal part of sugar and diluted with 20 parts water.

        • Patrick

          It has a long shelf life, even after diluting 20x with water. Gil sells the diluted mixture in the Salcedo market each week – unopened it is very stable and does not need to be refrigerated to keep for months or longer. Once you open it and start using, it’s recommended to keep it in the refrigerator.

          • Jay

            So mine was safe and good, thanks for the reply. I can’t wait to see your post on composting using lacto.

  • Patrick

    Yeah me too Jay, it is going to be awesome! It is one of the simplest, most efficient ways to compost. Like traditional composting but without all the turning, and much faster! Lot’s of articles in the pipeline.

  • Jay

    I will look forward to that and start my own. I’m already using my lacto on my trial amplaya plants and it’s doing good.

  • Carolyn

    Hi Patrick,
    I saw you were from B.C. and so was hoping your balcony garden was located there because I’m in the Pacific NW. I was hoping to get lots of ideas for gardens in this cooler climate. This is the third year in a row that our spring has be very poor for starting our garden without hoop houses, green houses, etc. Sadly now I see you’re in a much warmer climate. It will be nice for your crops though.

    I’ve just recently found out about Bokashi composting and the various uses for the lactobacillus serum. My research led me here. I’m very interested in the gardening aspects. I raise a few chickens for eggs, too, and would like to apply this information to their diet and environment as well.

    Thanks for posting and good luck with all your experiments and hard work.

    • Patrick

      Haha, yeah sorry I moved to the Philippines some years ago and never made it back. The tropics is great for growing, but it’s a little too warm sometimes.

      You can use lactobacillus serum to make your own bokashi activator, save lots of money! I have a post coming on that soon. You should also use lactobacillus with your chickens like you mentioned. You can soak their food in a diluted lactobacillus mixture for a day or two before feeding them. Amazing results with this! Much faster growth, better disease resistance, less smell, it’s amazing. Just try it and you’ll see…then report back!

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