I Almost Broke My DSLR Camera

For the first time in 5 years, I accidentally hit my DSLR’s 50mm lens against our wall and it created a dent on it. My heart broke as I shouted “Ohhh myy gosssh! Noooo!😰”

I was standing on a stool, taking photos of some of our herbs, when this happened. As soon as one of my legs bent down, the stool tilted and I fell on my side, causing my leg to have a huge bruise (Hello, ice pack!). I raised the camera as I was falling, but since I was beside the wall, it still struck against it!

I immediately checked the damage and realized that ONLY THE LENS FILTER WAS BENT! It’s similar to the tempered glass on our phones. THANK YOU, LORD!!🙏🏼 I remember receiving this tip years ago — to secure a lens filter on top of the actual lens, since this protects the lens from dust and damage, in case the camera drops! I was relieved, but also anxious at the same time. As of the moment, there are no cracks inside the lens and I can still adjust the focus.

The biggest concern I had was how expensive the lens is. It is thrice the price of a basic kit lens and ever since I got it five years ago, I did my best to take care of it. Also, it would be such a hassle to go to a repair shop or to buy a new one now, considering our current situation with COVID and my lack of funds.

The funny thing about this experience is that a few minutes before my fall, I was admiring how the lens was able to capture lovely bokeh effects. I loved the quality of the photos! So, when the accident happened, I realized that THESE MATERIAL THINGS CAN EASILY BE GONE IN AN INSTANT! At that moment, I saw how quickly I was tempted to get discouraged or angry and it showed me what was in my heart.😬

Tomorrow (Sept. 5) is the 5th birthday of my DSLR camera. HOW TIMELY! As I take a deep breath and massage my bruised leg, I accept this as a humbling reminder from the Lord. In the same way that my 50mm lens creates bokeh and focuses only on what is necessary, I, too, must focus on what is most important in life. Not being fixated on material things or desires that will eventually fade away.

I honestly don’t know if that intense hit on my lens filter has a negative long term effect on my camera, but, I will take it one day at a time. I am still so grateful for the past 5 years with it. So many memories documented using it! By God’s grace, I hope to be able to use it more in the future.

To my fellow photographer friends, I know you understand my heartbreak! Hahahuhu. I can’t remove the lens filter now, though. I think it got jammed.💔🙈

How To Grow Basil From Seed

It’s been a while since I last shared about growing Basil using cuttings . So many things happened in between! But today, I am excited to show you a recent journey I’ve had in growing this lovely and practical herb from seed.

Even if you don’t have any experience in gardening yet, you can definitely grow Basil! This is one of the easiest herbs to grow and I hope that with this post, I can help you get started. :)

  1. POTTING MIX / LOAM SOIL
  2. FERTILIZER – Such as chicken manure, vermicast, or compost.
  3. BASIL SEEDS – You may start with the Sweet or Genovese Basil variety. This is usually used for pesto and other Italian dishes. But another common type is Thai Basil.
  4. SUNLIGHT – Around 4-6 hours each day
  5. WATER – You may use tap water on a regular basis. But, you can also use rainwater and rice water every now and then, for added nutrients. I use spray bottles during the seedling stage. Then, I use a cup or pail to water them once they’re bigger.
  6. SCISSORS – For pruning as the plant grows
  7. CHOPSTICKS & YARN / STRAW – For support
  8. PLASTIC / WOODEN SPOON – To help transplant seedlings
  9. GLOVES – Since you’ll eventually work with the potting mix
  10. ACCESS TO WIND – To help dry the leaves in case they get wet
  11. CONTAINERS – Egg cartons, small cups, and the final pot (Around 8-10” high and wide will be enough, depending on how big you want the basil to grow.)

 

HOW TO GROW BASIL:

 

STEP ONE: Prepare the Container

I start by adding 1-2 spoons of potting mix inside each egg carton space. The potting mix I use has vermicast, cocopeat, and carbonized rice hull in it. It is very loose and ideal for growing seedlings.

 

STEP TWO: Sow the Seeds and Water Them

I spray the potting mix in the cartoon with water. Then, I lightly sow 1 seed in each hole. Afterwards, I spray water over them again. Also, I place this beside a window with sunlight and water them every morning for 5-7 days.

 

STEP THREE: First Transplant

Seeds first grow cotyledons (initial two leaves / “fake” leaves) in preparation for the seedling. Once you see the true leaves forming (third leaf onwards), you can now transfer these seedlings to bigger cups. Or you can also wait until the plant is 2-3” tall.

ONE SEEDLING PER CUP, PLEASE! :) This will prevent the roots from competing with each other. In the photo below, I eventually separated these two seedlings that sprouted in the cup. I usually transfer them to small plastic cups with small holes at the bottom, for good drainage. You may use a spoon to carefully scoop out the whole seedling as you transfer, without damaging the roots. Also, you may add more potting mix to the cups to help provide support and nutrients.

 

STEP FOUR: Water, Expose to Direct Sunlight, & Fertilize

Continue watering every morning and expose your seedlings to direct sunlight at least 4-6 hours each day. This will help them grow faster. You can also give fertilizer every two weeks. I find that 1-2 tablespoons of chicken manure is enough for each seedling. Also, WATER THE SOIL, not the leaves. This will prevent bacteria in the soil from infecting the leaves, especially when the water splashes on the soil.

 

STEP FIVE: Second or Final Transplant

Depending on the height that you want to maintain, after the seedling grows to 5-6”, you can transfer it to its final pot (or keep transferring to bigger pots as it grows). By this time, a spoon might not be enough to scoop out the seedling. So, you may use your gloves and carefully transfer the seedling to its new home. Add more potting mix to cover the roots and stems. Also, make sure that the bottom leaves aren’t touching the soil.

 

STEP SIX: Support the Plant

Using chopsticks, you can support the plant as it grows. I let the stalks lean on them or I lightly tie them to the sticks using yarn.

 

STEP SEVEN: Prune, Fertilize, and Water

When the plant reaches 8-10” in height, I would recommend for you to prune it since this will help you develop more leaves for harvest. I included a video below on how to prune basil. Also, continue watering every morning and giving fertilizer every two weeks.

Remember, if you want to keep harvesting Basil leaves, the goal is for the plant to become bushy. Not to become tall with thin leaves and flowers.

 

STEP EIGHT: Remove Flowers and Dying Leaves

Flowers are used to collect seeds. But when the Basil plant flowers, it means that the plant is using its energy to produce seeds, not to make leaves. So, make sure to snip off flowers when you see them growing (unless you want to collect seeds).

Also, snip off yellow, brown, or infected leaves when you see them, so the plant’s energy can focus on the healthier ones. This will prevent diseases from spreading too!

 

STEP NINE: Keep Harvesting

This will encourage the plant to continue producing leaves. But, make sure NOT to harvest more than 1/3 of the plant, so that it won’t have a hard time recovering.

 

STEP TEN: Enjoy Growing!

Aside from enjoying the process of seeing plants grow, I’ve been having a blast learning from this too, both in my successful attempts and in my failures (or what I call “experiments”) along the way.

 

I hope this detailed post helps you get a clearer picture of how to plant Basil seeds. If you have more questions, feel free to let me know in the comments below. Or you can also visit my gardening page “ANYONE CAN GARDEN” on Facebook and Instagram, where I post more about lessons learned. :)

Experiencing Truth

This morning, while I was researching about an organic insecticide, I read contradicting tips and conclusions across many articles online. After reading and watching a few more materials, I sighed, and said “I wish there was a bible for gardening. I just want to know and apply the REAL truth!”🙈

This made me think about how I’ve been learning a lot about truth this week. One specific highlight happened last Monday at 3:30 am. I received an angry email from a contact person who accused me of doing something that I didn’t do. She showed me a curse word and accusation that I had sent to her number and it seemed like she was angry at me for five days!😨 But, when I showed her that the mobile number she was texting WASN’T my number, everything made sense. Eventually, she apologized for how she responded.

That moment hit me! If I’m not careful with what I think of or if I’m not intentional in discovering the real truth, I may also end up believing in and acting on a lie, without me knowing.

But, more than knowing the truth, I find that there is greater value in experiencing it. Because knowledge of the truth can sometimes be shaken by lies that seem to be true. On the other hand, a personal experience with truth gives us first-hand access to it!

Even if others tell us it’s a lie, we won’t be easily shaken because we HAVE EXPERIENCED the truth!

Similar to gardening, I may not know tons about it, but when I read tips online, instead of immediately believing it, I like to experiment with it first. In this way, I am able to discover AND experience the truths (or lies) in them. E.g. Years ago, I didn’t know this. But after many experiments, I now know that if you put the right cutting of Basil in water, it will root and eventually grow as a new plant.🌱

I also may not know everything about God, the Bible, the world, or even myself. But, because by His grace, I AM EXPERIENCING His presence in my life (whenever I pray, study the Bible, and walk with Him), I can confidently say that He and His words are true.💯 This gives me hope even when I’m surrounded by troubles and lies.

Whew.😅

📷: I took this photo during our trip in Bangkok last 2017. Only the BOTTOM 10% of the photo is real. The rest of the picture is only a reflection seen in a random puddle.

How to Grow Basil from Cuttings

A few months ago, some of our old Basil plants showed signs of deterioration. They kept producing flowers and weak branches and leaves. We still tried to revive the plants, but after doing some research, I decided to try growing new plants from their cuttings and seeds too.

From the existing plants we have, I harvested Basil flowers (which contained seeds) and I got a few cuttings to propagate. In another post, I’ll share how the seeds turned out. But for now, here are some tips on how to grow Basil from cuttings.

 

FIRST: SNIP

Using a pair of scissors, cut 4-6 inches of stems with leaves. Make sure that there aren’t flowers growing on the stems. These stems will least likely produce its own roots, because having flowers is a sign that the plant is reaching the end of its life and is preparing for seed production.


SECOND: TRIM

Remove the leaves at the bottom part of the stems (2 inches from the bottom).

 

THIRD: WATER

Add clean water in a glass jar, enough to cover the bottom 2 inches of the stems.

 

FOURTH: REFRESH

Place the Basil cuttings in the glass jar. Every two days, change the water to make sure the cuttings stay fresh.

 

FIFTH: TRANSPLANT

Once the cuttings produce long roots (maybe 3-4 inches), you may now transfer them to small containers with loose potting medium. This step can be stressful for the cuttings, so make sure to carefully handle the roots and to add water and fertilizer to the soil after transplanting them.

 

SIXTH: TRANSPLANT AGAIN 🌱

After a few weeks, the cuttings will begin to grow taller and have more leaves. During this stage, you can transfer the cuttings to bigger containers with loose potting medium, so they can continue to expand.

It’s amazing how we can produce new and healthy Basil plants from dying ones. I will still take care of our old Basil plants, but they’ll be used mainly for seed production. On my next gardening blog post, I’ll be sharing tips on how to grow Basil from seeds.

Are you growing anything now? Feel free to share your adventures too!🌱