Yeng Constantino and her husband grow food to live a more sustainable lifestyle – Manila Bulletin

Celebrities are often expected to lead luxurious lives because of their fame. However, once the cameras and microphones are turned off, not everyone can see that they too can be human beings looking for a simple life.

So it is for Filipino pop-rock royalty Yeng Constantino-Asuncion, who started growing food with her husband, Victor “Yan” Asuncion, during the first week of the COVID-19 quarantine period.

In an attempt to achieve self-sufficiency, the Asuncions have built a garden on their beach property in Quezon Province which is planted with eggplant, okra and tomatoes.

A few steps from the first market gardening area, they grow sitaw, camote tops and kangkong, both in containers and on the ground. Then next to it is another area for more okra plants (grown from seed) as well as calamansi.

Said house is an Airbnb accommodation, but due to travel restrictions amid the pandemic, the couple were forced to postpone its opening to guests, deciding to stay there for several months instead.

Yeng mentioned in a vlog that she loves fruit, so they also planted fruit trees in the area, including papaya, macopa, and bayaba. She then showed viewers seeds of Pico mangoes and avocados, which had not yet been sown.

The singer said they purchased adult or established vegetable seedlings from local vendors and planted them in their vegetable patch, allowing the couple to harvest vegetables in just two months.

“As we have sandy soil here, there are not enough nutrients to sustain the plants, especially as they mature,” Yan said, adding that they solve this problem by adding compost to the soil.

The couple use an old bucket as a compost bin. It is filled with kitchen scraps, paper, cardboard, rice and soil. Their technique involves crushing the materials into small pieces so that they can be composted more easily. Yeng saw that after applying compost, the plants fruited in just one week.

She documented herself harvesting several times, but she didn’t stop there; she also showcased her vegetarian recipes, such as eggplant burger steak, gravy and fried chicken using produce from the garden. She even had a “mukbang,” or meal show with her husband using the crops they grew and harvested from the garden.

Yeng encouraged his viewers and followers to plant vegetables as they are good for well-being and can help save money. Gardening can “enrich your soul,” she added.

The couple were able to grow vegetables in a sandy area in just a few months, so imagine what others can do in unused spaces suitable for food production.

Even after leaving their beach property and returning to Manila after the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), Yeng and Yan continued to plant vegetables in the subway. In raised beds they grow eggplant, okra, ampalaya, kalabasa, sitaw, tomatoes, herbs, etc.

The vegetarian couple aim to source 50% of their food from their urban garden. They also plan to produce mushrooms in the future.

In his recent vlogs, Yeng shared a glimpse of their Quezon family farm where his father and sister currently reside. Since local travel restrictions were lifted, the couple have been frequenting the farm to see family. They also built a house for themselves while there.

Yeng grew up watching his father raising chickens. Now she helps him feed them when she’s on the farm. In her November 2021 vlog, she showed off their chicken coop which is home to seven Rhode Island Reds (RIRs), four Orpingtons and four Silkies.

Staying in the province taught the couple a lot about farming and life in general. Ultimately, they found comfort in two things while the world is isolated: living simply and growing food.

Photos taken from Yeng Constantino’s YouTube and Instagram accounts.

Learn more about agriculture and gardening at agriculture.com.ph

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