Our Awesome Garden Update!

So, I had an encounter today with some other expats that basically turned my stomach, and I just finished writing up a blog entry which was basically one big long vent.  Realizing that most folks probably don’t want to hear it – and seeing as I am uploading our garden update video – I decided to put it on the back burner and perhaps save it for another time.

That said, our garden and backyard cleanup seems to be doing pretty well.  In the video, you can see that there is a “before” and “after” section that shows some of the work we have done.  First off, we cut the backyard grasses down.  The Philippines is basically always trying to return to its natural jungle state, so by the time we moved in – and the previous renters hadn’t cut it down for a few weeks – the grass and weeds had gotten a bit out of hand.  The Scott’s push lawnmower that we have couldn’t cut the whole yard, since it is uneven and scattered with rocks, so most the work was done with our trusty pruning shears.  The shears are a bit work-intensive, but the area is pretty small, so it wasn’t too bad. 

Once grass was cut down, we started the process of outlining the future garden area, weeding, turning soil (with a little handheld hoe/rake that’s Chinese metal was a bit suspect, twisting and bending quite a bit), collecting and moving rocks and getting rid of the large pile of burnt trash.  This last bit was a bit of a chore but it also provided some unexpected dividends.  The burn was a mix of black mulch, wads of plastic, glass, and aluminum foil.  Once we pulled the unburnt plastic, glass, and foil from the rest of it, we ended up with nice pile of dark culture.  Having already turned and weeded the soil of our future garden spot, we simply gathered it up and mixed it in to the garden soil.  (Ugh – I say “soil,” but it is more along the lines of clay/sand/soil mix, that didn’t look all that healthy.)  To further enrich it, we took a trip to the dump and bought 100 kilograms of vermiculture.  (The dump in Dumaguete actually separates organics from the non-biodegradable materials and does a healthy business in selling fertilizer and mulch to the locals.)  This stuff was also nice and dark, and once it was mixed in, the bed looked pretty healthy.  It also smelled like crap, which is always a good sign.

I bought some okra, carrot, greenbean, and cucumber seed from a local shop in town – one packet of each which came to about five dollars.  We started the seeds in paper towels, spraying them down and keeping the little fellers nice and damp.  Thanks to the hot and humid weather, they sprouted VERY quickly (like in a day), and we soon found ourselves planting the little tykes into egg carton starter trays.  Putting them outside, it only took a few days for them to turn into strong seedlings. They were growing so fast, in fact, that we had to get them into the ground fairly quickly. Well, that is, all except the carrots – they have taken about a week to germinate and are struggling a bit.  I talked with a few other expat farmer types, and they also said that carrots are difficult to grow here – something to do with the weather.

Michell and I are new farmers, so we are learning as we go along, getting most of our info from Google and Youtube.  Still – and despite our lack of experience – the little veggies seem to be doing well.  And with the nice sunny weather, regular rains, and lack of veggie-loving bunny rabbits, we are hoping to be enjoying our first consumable harvest fairly soon.

Not to worry – when that happens, you will be the first to know.

Take care, ya’ll!


  1. I garden alot here in Missouri. I love you guys and im addicted to your videos (no not a creepy dude) I just think these videos are very informative. I want so badly to move there. I have wanted to for years but just now became serious. On the garden if there any rabbits there people raise then ask for there poop. Lol I know sounds weird but if you let some sit in a bucket with water in a few days you can strain the solids out and use the liquid as a very nutritious fertilizer for the plants. Will work for all plants even ur little pineapple I sen hahaha. Ned I know that you are very busy but I cant stress enough how much I want to come there and would like to talk with you about ways for me to make a living there via the internet or other ideas. Possibly some sort of tourist venture. Im dreaming hahaha…thanks Jeff Dye

    1. Nothing wrong with dreaming, Jeff. Just know that you DEFINITELY have to have some sort of steady income to live here. You can’t really work here, and if you do, you will be paid peanuts in comparison to a western salary. Oh, and there’s no rabbits here. The crocodiles ate them. 🙂

  2. When you’re in Cebu, hope you could show Talisay around. We’ve tried to find good decent video of Talisay, but couldn’t find one.

  3. LOL crocodiles huh….ummm I don’t like them. Haha I am looking into work I can do online anywhere in the world via internet. I am currently in college and I write so I am looking into that as an option. If you have any ideas of legitimate companies that do that I would greatly appreciate it or if your viewers do I would like that info as well. I want to thank you and Michelle for doing these videos. Her expressions to YOU are hilarious!

  4. Hi Ned And Michelle
    Regarding you banana trees…once you have harvested your bananas…you normally cut the tree down…generally you only get 1 bunch per tree….Malungai…can be used for tea…but is very good eating…cook the leaves like spinage…or added to stews ..soups stews both meat or fish….Michelle should know that…I love malungai…difficult to find here
    BY the way ned I did send you a messaged..regarding the house you lived in Dauin….you did mention it is up for rental and forsale….I wonder if you’d be so kind to let me have more info …agents or who ever should be contacted regarding the property…..all going to plan I should be in Cebu early Dec…and a few days later should be in Dumaguete…hopefully catch up with you and Michelle for lunch or dinner or what ever..


    1. I put dried mulanngay in my protein shakes and Michell tosses it in dinners whenever she can. Good stuff AND good for you! Thanks, Merv! If we are down that far, I will get the phone number to the homeowner. Personally, I don’t think it’s a great deal – no internet, rocky beach, loud neighbors……

  5. Hi Ned, more great work. From what I understand in organic gardening, you sometimes have ti grow a sacrifice crop [cucumbers] so the rest of your crop is left alone. How about boxing up the snails and selling them to France? Or are the toxic kind? Really enjoying the site.

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