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3 Cost Effective Ways to Solve Metro Manila's Traffic Problem

The Facebook page of ANC 24/7 is asking for its reader's suggestion on how to solve Metro Manila's traffic problem.

This got me thinking, "what is the best way to solve Metro Manila's traffic problem?" It's easy to make suggestions, what's hard is the implementation and the cost of implementation. So what is the the best way to solve Metro Manila's traffic problem and the most cost effective solution?

Punitive Fines
First of all, any implementation will definitely cost money, a lot of money. The cause of the traffic mess is the people themselves so it's only right that those causing the traffic problem should be fined and the fine should hurt. That way, the fines will pay for the cost of enforcing the law.
The fines should start at P500 and goes up every week if you don't pay it within 15 days. To enforce this and prevent people from ignoring the fine. It will be tied to their driver's license or car registration. They cannot renew their d…

Herb Garden

I found a new hobby growing a herb garden. It kind of started when I was young when I heard the song Scarborough Fair by Simon and Garfunkel. I was kind of intrigue with the part of the lyrics where it says "parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme". I wondered what they were when I was young and learned they were herbs and I learned that herbs are used for medicine and cooking. We never actually used those herbs in Filipino food other than parsley when it's used mostly as a garnish.

Later, when I got older and learned how to cook. I learned that it's used mostly in Italian cooking. When I saw some TV show by Jamie Oliver called Jamie at Home where he shows one major ingredient per show and in some episodes, he shows his garden with potatoes, tomatoes and herbs which he uses for his cooking. It was a really interesting show and I really got interested in starting a herb garden of my own. Well, I don't have a garden, I just have a patio so I never really got anything started.

However, a year ago, a co-worker of mine who's been had really good success growing herbs and vegetables in his garden is moving to another city and has decided to completely cut down his garden and give all the herbs away. I asked him if he can give me some of his herbs so I can start my own and he gave me 3 big pots of rosemary, thyme and oregano.

Well, we had a very harsh winter last year and me being new with taking care of plants promptly forgot to take proper winter care of the three herbs. I basically let snow cover them and left water near the bottom of the pot stay and freeze the roots. The water and ice ended up killing the thyme and rosemary. I also bought some basil and also left it to die basically during the winter.

When spring came along, I was hoping the rosemary will grow again by cutting it down but I didn't see any green in the stems. I confirmed the rosemary was dead when I pulled the stem and whole root just came out which means it doesn't hold the soil any more. The thyme was also dead when I pulled it out and the whole root came out as well.

I was afraid the oregano was also dead, but when I cut it down, I saw some leaves come out. Doing some research online, I found out the oregano self seeds so it grew new ones on its own.

Oregano 2014-05-18

I probably have to start cutting this down a bit to encourage more growth.

Growing from seeds

Anyway, this spring, I suddenly got the urge to regrow my plants. I have some seeds I got a few years ago from a herb garden kit I got from work. It included some basil, thyme, Italian parsley and oregano seeds so I planted them. A few weeks later, nothing. They never grew. I thought the seeds were dead. It turns out, I was doing it all wrong. So I went to Google and searched for ways to grow those seeds. It turns out, you have to plant them a certain way and have to grow them in the right environment.

Well, I got some of the soil from the pots I got from my co-worker and put them in an egg carton. I kept the soil moist and covered it with plastic. Kept it in the bathroom where its the warmest part of my house and...nothing.

Undaunted, I read some more and decided to go to a specialty garden store and bought some seeding trays and seeding soil mix. I also bought some new basil seeds, baby carrot seeds and lavender seeds.


I read that basil is easy to grow and you can just put the seeds in seeding soil and water it and it'll just grown. I did some research from some websites and learned different ways to encourage easy growth of seeds. For basil seeds, I generally soak them for a few hours and wait until the seeds grow some jelly like substance outside so it looks like frog eggs. I then planted them in seeding soil and kept it covered outside where it can get some light sun.

In about 10 days, they started to sprout.

2014-05-18 11.26.46

The photo above is about 3 weeks but I didn't start taking pictures until last week. Encouraged by this, I started a new set of seeds but this time, to save money, I used a plastic muffin box that came with the muffin we bought from the grocery. I cut some holes at the bottom to get good drainage of the soil.

One of the things I forgot when I planed the seeding tray is that I forgot to label the seeds. I planted different seeds in each tray and I now forgot which ones I planted. I'll only find out once they grow.

Well, learning from that lesson, I asked my daughter to keep the popsicle stick she has after eating a popsicle so I used that to label the seeds.

Basil seeds in muffing tray 2014-05-18

And, true enough, after 8 days, a basil started to sprout.

Basil seeds 2014-05-25

The other seeds that sprouted where the baby carrots. This photo was last week.

Carrot seedlings 2014-05-18

This photo is for this week, which is starting to show some carrot leaves which is those smallish leaves on top of the long leaves.

Baby Carrot seedlings 2014-05-25

But then again, these could also be the lavender. I really don't know because I forgot to label them! Arrgh!

Cuttings and Rooting

While doing my research, I came upon some info that it's easy to root some herbs than growing them from seeds. I was extremely curious about this so I decided to buy some herbs and mint from the grocery. I don't know if that would work but I read somewhere that you can just put the cut herbs in water and they will just grow. I tried that with the mint and rosemary and 2 weeks later, nothing happened. I kept the jar of water in the kitchen so there is no sunlight, but either I should have put them outside in the sun or the water we have is just not conducive for growing roots.

Frustrated, I decided to stick some of the mint cuttings into the seeding soil in the tray.

Seeding trays with mint cuttings 2014-05-18

At the time, I also bought some purple basil plant from Home Depot along with strawberry and chocolate mint. I hope to propagate them (it's a new word I learned which means to breed specimens from the parent plant). Propagating is a good way to grow more plants from one plant. Basically, what you're creating is a clone of the original plant.

Anyway, I cut some of the purple basil and stuck it in the seeding soil as well which you can see at the far end of the seeding tray.

I put some cover in the seeding tray to keep the soil moist and the temperature more even. I started these near the end of April where the temperatures ranges from 20 degrees Celsius in the morning to 10 degrees at night which is killer for the plants.

Another good reason to cover them is to keep the cuttings moist. Since the cuttings are basically stem and leaves with no root, there is no way for water to get to the leaves. I learned this when the sage cutting I planted quickly became limp overnight. I put a plastic cover over the pot where the sage cutting was planted and cut some small holes in the plastic to make some ventilation. The next day, the sage cutting was upright!

I wasn't hoping for anything as these were mostly experiments, a week later, the mints in the water are starting to shrivel up and still no roots. I decided to pull out one of the mint cuttings from the seed tray and behold! Roots!

Mint cutting rooted 2014-05-17

Not just some roots, but a lot of roots!

So I decided to move the mints in water to the seeding tray. Another week later, roots!

Mint rooting 2014-05-24

From all I've read, mint is supposed to grow crazy like weed. I have several mint cuttings that have rooted and I transferred them to individual pots. I hope to grow several of them so I can keep growing cuttings and hopefully, I will have mint all year round as some will probably die in the winter and some I can bring into the house hopefully to survive in the winter so I can regrow in the spring.

Rooted mints transfered in individual pots 2014-05-18

I'm going to stop this post here for now. I'll post more updates of what I learned in my next post.


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