I have told you before that 1 hectare of land in the Philippines can feed a family of 4 for the entire year! This hectare will produce more than enough fruit, vegetables, dairy products and meat for your family. You will even have a surplus to sell in the market or for storing. It is up to you or you can be generous and give some of the produce away to needy families in the Philippines, as there are many.
An expat once confronted me and said he did not retire to the Philippines to be a farmer. Good for you, buddy! I did! I guess he thought I am personally working in the fields everyday while taking care of the farm but he is far from right. My wife and I have 3.1 hectares of prime farmland, which is 7.6 acres, comprising 2 separate farms, and we have a farm manager. My wife and I have never lifted one finger in doing any farm work or manual labor concerning the farms! We have created jobs for local agricultural workers, so this also adds to our enjoyment of retiring to the Philippines. Helping others!
I know a few expats whose goal is to be self sufficient in the Philippines and it is still a work in progress. They have land and they are using every square meter of it! They built their home on the land, they are growing their own fruit and vegetables and they are raising their own livestock. A great idea! This will tremendously cut down on their actual cost of living in the Philippines.
Will Seeds From the USA Produce in the Philippines?
When we first moved to the Philippines in 2009, my brother in Florida sent us a number of local SE USA seeds for planting on our farm. Since we were moving from China to the Philippines back then, we also brought a number of local seeds from there for planting. Did they produce? Not all of the seeds produced but some did. Overall, the experiment of planting foreign seeds in the Philippines proved that they do not produce well. The Clemson Spineless Okra from Florida grew like wildfire! The Brandywine Heirloom Tomatoes produced for a short season and then fizzled out. None of the butternut and crook neck squash seeds produced one bit! The Creole Mustard Greens took off and produced very well.
I highly recommend that you buy local seeds in the Philippines for planting on your farm or in your family garden. East-West Seeds have the best track record for us personally and they are produced in the Philippines for the Philippines. Makes sense doesn't it? I recommend two other seed companies that have a good track record for us in Negros Occidental. Harbest Seeds and Ramgo Seeds. All 3 seed companies produce hybrid vegetable and fruit seeds that should flourish in your area of the islands.
Gardening As a Hobby
In my last article, I related as to what expats can do with their time once they have retired to the Philippines. Personally, I think gardening is a great hobby because you can not only see the results but you can eat the results! Fruit and vegetables! Now, who does not like eating those?
Great news! If you are retiring to one of the gated subdivisions in the Philippines, you can still have a home garden! My wife, our son and I spend most of our time in our home in Bacolod City and not at our home down at the farm. Our city home is located in a gated subdivision and yes, we have a family garden, even though we do not have an actual yard. Say what? Believe me, you do not need a piece of land or a yard to have a garden or to even grow orchids! Is this not great news or what?
My wife grows beautiful orchids on driftwood mounts! In the city. She also grows beautiful orchids in clay pots that are mounted on the security wall of our compound. Where there is a will, there is always a way! The beautiful orchids planted on driftwood mounts can be sold for as much as P5,000 but my wife is not interested in selling them at this time.
We had a large planter box built outside our house in the city. It is built on concrete but we added compost and planting or potting soil. Does it work? You betcha! We have enjoyed large delicious tomatoes the past 3 months! We just planted Jalapeno Peppers and White Lisbon Onion within the last 2 weeks and they are coming up nicely.
Due to the climate of the Philippines, you do not have to be concerned about frost or a cold snap! Insects will be your # 1 enemy when planting in the Philippines but there is organic insecticide available to fight them off.
My wife and I have a garden for hobby growing and we also grow rice commercially. We still have 1/2 hectare, which is a little more than 1 acre, that we are still deciding what to do with. I am leaning more toward planting cash crops and seeing how that goes but first, I must hook up with a supplier who will buy the entire harvest. Django Peppers, Galaxy Ampalaya and Diamante Tomatoes are 3 good choices. This is all part of the fun and adventure of living in the Philippines! Never a dull moment and there is plenty you can do here.
Whether you wish to plant commercially and farm the land or if you want to just have a family garden, I can't think of a better place in the world to do these things than in the Philippines! Happy planting!