WE are now hoping to realize these native tree squares which not more than two meters wide on all sides. Since we already have papayas, tamarind, duhat and either supa, balitbitan or bani near the perimeter fence on the east, we only added some native tree seedlings as they came.
On one square we have a banana, kalumpang, kamansi and hauili. Both kalumpang and kamansi are either tall or medium trees, while banana and hauili are both small. This way, they do not compete with the supply of sunshine. While the seedlings are still small, the banana nurses them, and later, the hauili will water the trees. All will bear edible fruits and nuts, with blossoms as sources of nectar for bees. Their leaves when they fall shall form a biomass for other crops on the ground.
On another square are sablot, banana, duhat and tibig. On yet another, not too far away, are molave, neem, zapote and mulberry. My favorite square has catmon, banana, is-is and kamansi.
All these will be windbreakers, water bearers, biomass sources and bird sanctuaries.
Lately we got two botong seedlings, a seedling of mamalis and some madre cacao cuttings to try to plant again. The other weekend, as part of a reward in helping plant native trees in a distant mountain, my colleagues gifted our garden with more niog-niogan, is-is, hauili and tibig, all “waterboys.” Also, we bought again some cacao seedlings to plant and complete our squares.
Some non-natives have to be planted among the natives but we see to it that new tree seedlings are not invasive. So we have a square with tamarind and duhat alongside tibig and banaba or a choice variety of mango.
On the existing full grown trees, we planted vibe crops bagbagkong and giant peas to cling to the trunk. We also have passion fruit that grows on trellises.
Among the first native tree seedlings we have already planted this year are ipil, Igyo, Tangisang Bayawak and supa on one line, and bagawak puti, bagawak morado, catmon, talisay and narra on another line. Cacao, botong, mamalis, kamuning, lipote and tagpo will soon be outplanted to complete our native tree squares in time for the next rainy-season tree planting.
Meanwhile, our little contribution to the wider initiative at native tree propagation is sowing as many seeds as are available. So far our mini-nursery is alive with talisay, zapote, kamansi and other seedlings. We still get more seeds for sowing for other people who may want to plant native trees in their own yard.
With these experimental tree squares, we hope to gain insights as we embark on a higher level of planting for food.