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Filipino creates a rich urban farm by upcycling old tyres and over 1,000 plastic bottles

5 min read

Good Stuff
Source: Michael Triviño/ManilaBulletin

Using discarded items such as tyres and bottles, a businessman in the Philippines decided to turn his vacant lot into a backyard urban farm and name it “Myrtle Sharrin’s Garden” after his daughter.

Philippines quarantine project bears fruit

As a quarantine project, Michael Triviño—a businessman in Quezon, the Philippines—decided to turn his vacant lot into an urban farm and named it “Myrtle Sharrin’s Garden” after his daughter. Despite his trucking business having no work during the community quarantine, Triviño was kept occupied cultivating crops. He discovered his interest in urban farming upon watching gardening-related vlogs and joining groups online.

He went to the supermarket, bought seeds, sowed the seeds in plastic bottles, and placed them in his then idle backyard. Instead of buying pots, he opted to upcycle old bottles, tires, and crates. “Since I owned the lot, I’m the one who designed and decided what and where to plant the seeds. For me, it’s my little project,” said the urban farmer. To maximise the space further, Triviño attached his bottle planters to the property wall. He also created racks out of bamboo where he laid other bottles.
Michael Triviño, a businessman-farmer, 43, posed with his harvested mango fruits. He went to the supermarket, bought seeds, sowed the seeds in plastic bottles, and placed them in his then idle backyard. Instead of buying pots, he opted to upcycle old bottles, tires, and crates. “Since I owned the lot, I’m the one who designed and decided what and where to plant the seeds. For me, it’s my little project,” said the urban farmer. To maximise the space further, Triviño attached his bottle planters to the property wall. He also created racks out of bamboo where he laid other bottles. Source: Michael Triviño/ManilaBulletin
From a cluttered storage area, their backyard is now a thriving urban farm. He started the project last April with the help of his drivers and helpers from his trucking business. Since his employees had no scheduled trips, Triviño thought of a way to retain their income through his farm project. “They became my help [in building the farm] so at least they can get their income directly. The bamboo I used was from them too, so everyone is making money. Some of my drivers have bamboo trees on their farms nearby so I bought them.”
Take a look at his 240 square meter backyard farm, which Triviño and his helpers built in 30 days. From a cluttered storage area, their backyard is now a thriving urban farm. He started the project last April with the help of his drivers and helpers from his trucking business. Since his employees had no scheduled trips, Triviño thought of a way to retain their income through his farm project. “They became my help [in building the farm] so at least they can get their income directly. The bamboo I used was from them too, so everyone is making money. Some of my drivers have bamboo trees on their farms nearby so I bought them.” Source: Michael Triviño/ManilaBulletin
Triviño mainly cultivates loose leaf lettuce, but he also grows eggplant, okra, labanos, pechay, mustasa, sili, ube, and herbal plants. His initial plan was only to plant lettuce in his PET bottles, but it turned out that he had bought so many seeds to the point that he ran out of bottles, so he used other materials like tires and crates.
Triviño with his employees sharing a meal in the garden. Triviño mainly cultivates loose leaf lettuce, but he also grows eggplant, okra, labanos, pechay, mustasa, sili, ube, and herbal plants. His initial plan was only to plant lettuce in his PET bottles, but it turned out that he had bought so many seeds to the point that he ran out of bottles, so he used other materials like tires and crates. Source: Michael Triviño/ManilaBulletin
“I love lettuce, that’s why I intended to grow them in my PET bottles. Since I got overjoyed in buying seeds, I ended up putting my labanos and kangkong seeds on the used tires. The first few seeds went great and successfully grew until now that I was able to plant all the seeds that I bought.” He also grows lettuce in his self-made hydroponic system.
Backyard bottle-crops: Triviño upcycled more than 1000 bottles as planters in his backyard garden. “I love lettuce, that’s why I intended to grow them in my PET bottles. Since I got overjoyed in buying seeds, I ended up putting my labanos and kangkong seeds on the used tires. The first few seeds went great and successfully grew until now that I was able to plant all the seeds that I bought.” He also grows lettuce in his self-made hydroponic system. Source: Michael Triviño/ManilaBulletin
For eggplants, strings, and okra, he gets to harvest twice a week, while for lettuce, he harvests them weekly. Every day, Triviño waters the plants around six in the morning and checks them for any presence of insects. He also removes weeds and dry leaves daily. With the use of the internet, he learns everything from planting tips to making his natural homemade fertilisers and pesticides. He also attends webinars related to gardening or farming.
To be able to sow the seeds that he bought within the available space, Triviño practiced vertical farming. For eggplants, strings, and okra, he gets to harvest twice a week, while for lettuce, he harvests them weekly. Every day, Triviño waters the plants around six in the morning and checks them for any presence of insects. He also removes weeds and dry leaves daily. With the use of the internet, he learns everything from planting tips to making his natural homemade fertilisers and pesticides. He also attends webinars related to gardening or farming. Source: Michael Triviño/ManilaBulletin
The main purpose as to why he started the garden is for his family’s personal consumption. Triviño says, “We get to save so much because we don’t need to buy vegetables that are readily available in our garden.” He expresses his joy in this newly-discovered passion. “During those times [of gardening], I feel happy, especially when I see that there’s an improvement with what I am working on. It’s my way of releasing stress too,” Triviño told the Manila Bulletin.
Triviño’s daughter Myrtle Sharrin, who the farm is named after, holding a harvested patola. The main purpose as to why he started the garden is for his family’s personal consumption. Triviño says, “We get to save so much because we don’t need to buy vegetables that are readily available in our garden.” He expresses his joy in this newly-discovered passion. “During those times [of gardening], I feel happy, especially when I see that there’s an improvement with what I am working on. It’s my way of releasing stress too,” Triviño told the Manila Bulletin. Source: Michael Triviño/ManilaBulletin

Triviño found passion in producing food for his family, neighbours, friends, and employees

Every month, the Triviño family gets to save up to P4000 in food expenses (approx. €70/$83/£62.50). During August, the produce went to their meals only, and they also shared some with their friends, employees, and neighbours. However, Triviño began to sell their produce by September and plans on expanding his urban farm by using his other vacant lot located in their subdivision. 

As many people lose jobs and struggle to find purpose due to the current situation, Michael Triviño found passion in producing food not only for his family, but for his neighbours, friends, and employees as well. Hats off to Michael Triviño.

Recently, Triviño won in the AgriKwento Contest by ATI CALABARZON. Check out his video below:

Source: ManilaBulletinAll Photos: Michael Triviño.

Quarantine project bears fruit for green-fingered Filipino businessman. As many people lose jobs and struggle to find purpose due to the current situation, Michael Triviño found passion in producing food not only for his family, but for his neighbours, friends, and employees as well. Source: Facebook/ATI CALABARZON
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