Our Family’s Journey in Growing Our Own Food

Long before I got married, I always dreamt of having our garden where I can plant vegetables, fruits, tubers, and flowers. I love the idea of growing our food at home. I grew up with it, though. My father was a home gardener. He taught me how to plant green beans, long beans, water spinach, bananas in our backyard. It wasn’t big, but it was enough to show his kids how to take care of plants that we were going to eat. Our garden was always full of life. We had a Rambutan tree, two Starfruit trees, a mini Pomegranate tree, a Sawo tree (Manilkara zapota), a Watery Rose-Apple tree, and a Kedondong tree (Spondias dulcis). They are all tropical fruits.

Member of Farmers Family

I came not far from farmers family, after all. My grandfather and grandmother from my mother side is a rice farmer. My mother’s brothers are farmers too. My father was an employee of a fertiliser company named Pupuk Kaltim. But I never seriously pursued a life in agriculture. I take it as an obligatory hobby until a few years ago when I get married to a wonderful tech guy, Asep Bagja. I got an education in information technology field and pursued a career in it. Early 2011 when I was still in college, I founded a gardening community named Semarang Berkebun. Even though we weren’t active at that time, it was enough to light the fire of gardening in me.

Lived in A Small Apartment

After getting married in 2014, I moved to Jakarta to live with my husband. Having a remote work as a front-end programmer at that time gave me flexibility and freedom. And then I told my husband that I want to try gardening again in our (very tiny) studio apartment. He said okay, and he bought me a few gardening kits with soil. I put it on our balcony. But it didn’t grow! 😆 The roots of our failure was the location and techniques. We barely know anything about it back then. Our balcony didn’t get enough sunlight, yet it was hot too. And the quality of the seeds or the growing medium might be not good.

But that doesn’t stop us from trying. We did our Internet research, and we found about hydroponics. We wanted to make it happened in our apartment. And again, it failed successfully! :p

We were growing spinach. It sprouted fast, only need three days to see the small leaves. After about seven days, we moved the sprouts to the hydroponic system so it can grow freely. We chose wick system, the easy hydroponic methods we could try in our place. Instead of germinating, the spinach wilted. The second time, we decided to grow lettuce. Many gardeners said that it is the most comfortable vegetable for a hydroponic beginner. At that moment, we added LED grow lamp to our hydroponic system because we knew that our plants were getting a lack of sunlight. However, we still got the same result like before; the lettuce was wilting.

We tried another shot. I forgot how many times we tried to grow vegetables in the apartment and got so many failures. At last, we knew it came from the temperature and the humidity. The temperature in our place was too high, and the humidity level was too low.

And then, after living there for about nine months and getting tired of it (the living, not the gardening part), we moved to a suburban area, in the outskirt of Jakarta.

Growing Plants in A Greenhouse

Our first greenhouse.

We rent a house that has a small front yard. It was 2-3 metres square. And because of the dry season at that time, we decided to build a greenhouse. We chose bamboo as the frames, and UV plastics to cover it. Bamboos are very cheap in Indonesia. It is very easy and fast to grow.

And finally, we managed to grow lots of vegetables in this greenhouse. I love it!

Currently, we are living in a different house. We moved again after a year in that house. We found a larger house with bigger gardens, on the front and the backyard. And we try to do two different gardening methods, organic (soil-based) and hydroponics.

I’ll tell you more about it later on this blog.

Happy gardening!

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