A nice view overlooking of a house in the midst of fine-looking greenery. This is what it would like as you enter the gates of Master’s Garden. Owned by Mr. Pat Acosta, Master’s Garden is the first organic farm recognized in Benguet. Pat Acosta thought he needs to get the most out his property 3,000 sqm. of uphill terrain. With a limited 700 sqm. effective farm lot, Pat decided to go into organic farming. He knew that the value of organic crops are far better than chemically-nourished vegetables.
And after 13 years of farming, he never regretted going into organic. He recalled that there were only few of organic farmers in the Philippines, and he is one of the first in the Benguet area. He even heard a lot of bad press against organic farming before, saying that it is a “hard” path to take for farmers. But Pat Acosta never listened to the “temporary” setbacks and just went into creating his own organic farm that later became known as the Master’s Garden.
After all the trials and errors into organic agriculture, he is now not just a farmer, but also a teacher of organic agriculture to people who wants to learn how to go into organics. So, his 700-square-meter effective farm is now both a source of organic vegetables, and at the same time, a “demo” classroom for learning individuals.
And now, Pat Acosta works on his farm, with two other helpers, day-in and day-out. In a brief encounter with Pat, he gave us a comprehensive picture of the reasons why anyone should go into organic farming. The good thing about the Master’s Garden is that Pat Acosta was able to maximize the whole lot into an organic farm, tourist attraction, restaurant and school in one. The whole area is divided into sections or chambers to best facilitate the tour and education.
Upon entrance, you will be first brought to the compost chamber, where Mr. Pat Acosta himself will explain concisely on organic farming and the importance of the natural fertilizer or compost – that spells all the difference in nutrients-absorption of the crops and how we, humans, can benefit from it. Pat Acosta has a wide range of examples for people, especially those with zero knowledge about organic crops, to help better understand how organic compost and chemical fertilizer differ.
He even said that “manure” as fertilizer is not a good compost for plants. Since manure is already digested or processed and it already lacks the nutrients needed by plants to grow well.
Fresh grass serves as the fertilizers for Master’s Garden’s crops. He said that the farm crops are just a replication of the health of the soil. It is the soil that farmers should need to focus on. If the plants are treated with chemical fertilizers, farmers tend to “poison” the soil in the long run.
But if farmers focus on putting organic fertilizers on the soil, in return, the soil will be healthier and will give more nourishment to the plants. Pat Acosta said that the secret to good farming is on the soil. Once you have good soil, adequate sunlight, proper watering and maintenance, good farm outputs will follow. Composting is a critical part, since it can dictate the result of the crops.
He advises that if you are growing plants for human consumption, better use fresh, naturally-grown grasses to be used as compost. While, if you are just going to fertilize ornamentals, even, kitchen scraps can be used as fertilizers. It takes 14 days for a fresh grass to turn into compost. For startup farmers, manual, laborious pilling and shredding would do. But for farmers with more capitalization and bigger lots, would require a shredder for easy work.
After talking about composting, Pat Acosta toured us and educated us on how to take care of plants from each important stage it undergoes. From the seed setting, transplanting on the right growth timing of the crops.
He said that each stage of the plants needs proper care and management of farmers. Any mismanagement can result to either stunt growth or death of the plant itself. I realized there that no matter how small of a farm lot it can be, it is possible to actually produce organic crops. Pat Acosta said for a person to eat organic crops for the whole year, only needs 40 square meter of farm lot.
So, if you’re a family of four, a 160 square-meter of farm lot is all you need to sustain a surefire naturally-grown vegetables to eat for the whole year for the four of you. He advised to buy the most expensive seeds to increase better crop output.
What’s good about the Master’s Garden is that they serve dishes using their farm outputs. Like during our lunch in the garden, I, together with other bloggers and the Agricultural Training Institute people, were treated to a sumptuous, healthy meal. From soup, appetizer, to main course and dessert, ALL are from the farm.
And I imagined myself at that point, to have a healthier daily meal, if I have my own farm like that at the comfort of my own home.
Hmmmm… It made me realize that it can be possible for me as well. All it takes is the knowledge. And Mr. Pat Acosta is teaching people to learn how for just Php 1,000 per day per person, inclusive of snacks, lunch and materials needed.
The programs are as follows:
- Two-day comprehensive program
- Seven-day program
- 14-day hands-on program
This is a good investment, especially, if you’re thinking about your health and your family’s. So, whether you want to build just your own farm for your family’s consumption or going to put up your own organic farm, either way, Php 1,000 per day spent is not a bad idea for an investment for your health (and even business). So will you give organic farming a try?
RESOURCES’ CONTACT INFO:
Master’s Garden is located at La Trinidad Benguet. You can contact Mr. Pat Acosta through 0917-925-8499 or 0917-646-8134. For more information on how to learn organic agriculture you may contact the Agricultural Training Institute at:
Phone 1800-10-982AGRI (or 1800-10-9822474)
for provincial toll-free calls 02-982-AGRI (or 982-2474)
for Metro Manila 0920-946AGRI (0920-9462474)
for mobile calls Text: 391DA (or 391-32) for Smart and Talk ‘N Text subscribers 0920-946AGRI (0920-9462474)
for Globe, TM and Sun Cellular subscribers