Dec 30, 2010

Spending the last day of 2010 quietly.

Many people not only in Japan but in the world seem to have a fun in spending the last day of the year holding parties, drinking, watching movies through a night. But I usually spend the day quietly reflecting what happened in the year without watching year-end special TV programs.
But I will do some exercises avoiding weight gain because new year's feasts are waiting in new year holiday when my family and relatives will gather.
And I went to my garden today and I harvested more vegetables for my parents.

The biggest thing to me in 2010 is launching my blog on my vegetable garden. Starting the blog in June, I could know many gardeners from many countries exchanging ideas and showing my achieves through the blog.
I am very happy that my blog has gathered over 3000 accesses for about 6 months since starting my blog.

I am thinking of what I want to do in 2011 and have put the on a list
No.1: Changing layout of my planting beds for more planting space
No.2: Planting new kinds of vegetables like celeries, corianders and herbs.

What do you want to do the next year? When it comes to gardening, I will try new vegetables and cook them into delicious dishes!

Lastly, I would like to express my application for all followers and bloggers who read my blog and sent warm messages! Do-mo Arigato!

-- from iPod touch

Dec 26, 2010

Today's dinner

Today's dinner is hamburger steaks, which is my most favorite dish among all dishes made by my wife. I know westerners like to dip them with tomato ketchup or demiglace sauce but many Japanese including me like to use ponzu sauce ( say sauce with citrus juice ) and grated daikons.
I grated the daikon radish which I harvested and mixed it with ponzu sauce.
The sauce is so refreshing that it goes well with many oily dishes like beef steaks or grilled fish and we make the sauce whenever we eat those kinds of dishes. If you can get ponzu sauce around you, I recommend you make the sauce.

My wife made salt-pickled turnips. The recipe is just slicing turnips, soaking them with saltwater for 1 hour. If dried konbu ( dried kelps ) is available, i recommend you add it to the soaking water since delicious broth come out of the kelp.

-- from iPod touch

Fast growth and slow growth

My komatunas in a vinyl tunnel has grown so fast that all of them can be harvested after about 30 days since setting the tunnel. In the past few days freezing cold weather continued so I was concerned if my vegetables would be frostbitten but the tunnel seem to work not only as a air warmer but as a protection against frost.

Today's harvest is just only komatunas shown above. Other vegetables like daikon radishes, Chinese cabbages but those will be consumed during new year holidays so those are preserved in my garden.

My onions are growing slowly but steadily as we can see a bulb coming out on the surface on the soil. I expect they can be harvested next spring. They are the first vegetables in my garden which will spend a cold winter till the harvest. Today I added fertilizer to give nutrition to glow onions during a winter.

How are you spending this Christmas holidays? In Japan the Christmas is not a national holiday so we have to work during the Christmas but from 30th.Dec we will have a new year holidays. I will spend the holidays eating, drinking, watching movies and caring my vegetables.

Dec 25, 2010

Year-end greeting to our gardening teacher.

Today our family visited my wife's aunt to express our appreciation to her support for us.
And we found something interesting there.

The vegetables shown above are bunches of mustard greens which were harvested and were waiting for being packed. They will be distributed to local stores.

The most attractive thing there was a big daikon radish with about 20cm diameter!! My wife's aunt said that daikon has bolted but the size shows how nutritious and fertile the soil in her garden is.

We got some presents from her. The first one is turnips. I and my wife are wondering how we'll cook them but I prefer turnips boiled in fish broth.

The second one is 2 packs of fermented cow manure. I am considering reorganization of my garden and making the soil fertile is on my list. I'll put the manure into the soil and let the soil rest for a while.

-- from iPod touch

Dec 24, 2010

Happy merry X'mas!

We are not Christians and most of Japanese see X'mas as an opportunity to buy, give presents to someone, or to hold parties, to drink and eat so much, not as a religious event.
My kids also think X'mas as some the day when Santa claus would come to my home with their presents. (my son has already known " who Santa claus is " but my daughter is so adorable that Santa claus really exist.)

Hoping they can deserve great X'mas presents, my kids decorated a X'mas tree with ornaments.
While decorating I asked my daughter what Xmas present she hope and she said " It's a secret. I will meet Santa claus tonight and ask him for my present! "
"Her Santa claus" has already known what she wants and bought it!

-- from iPad

Dec 23, 2010

Today's harvest

I'm very happy to harvest a white radish with straight and thick root for the first time. Since I picked up a split-root radish as I mentioned on the last blog I wonder if most of my white radish were deformed.

-- from iPad

Dec 19, 2010

My new gadget for my blog

Today I bought a new iPod-Touch G4 today.

The new one has 2 cameras so when I go to my garden I will bring it with me and take photos of vegetables and I can upload the photos onto my blog through the iPod.

And "FaceTime", a video phone application has been installed on it so if some gardeners following my blog have iPhone G4 or iPod-touch G4, we can talk seeing our faces and exchange ideas on gardening for free!

If you are interested with talking with me about gardening, cultures of Japan and so on, please send a message to my plot on www.botanical.com!
I wll send my FaceTime phone number through the replying massage.

-- from iPad

Today's dinner

If we can get Chinese cabbages in winter, most of us in Japan usually enjoy Nabe ( a dish cooked in a pot ) adding the cabbages , meet, fish and other vegetables. I have been having a dream of cooking a Nabe dish using Chinese cabbages we harvested and today the dream has come true!

Today's nabe was boiled with chicken stock. But we added our home-made Hot chili oil as a condiment to the dish. The oil can make the taste so hot ,spicy and delicious that we could warm ourselves warm.

Beside the Nabe, we enjoyed " Daikon steak ".
My wife grilled thick sliced white radishes with butter. Salty butter go well with daikon's taste.

After enjoying Nabe, we usually cook porridge in the same pot.
The soup with tastes coming out of pork and chinese cabbages can be absorb by rice.

Our hot chili oil took a important role in the porridge, too.

-- from iPad

Dec 18, 2010

Harvesting Chinese cabbages and white radishes

Overcoming many problems like bugs attacks, bad weather, we can at last harvest Chinese cabbages and a white radish (Daikon radish) today!

The first white radish has split-roots but it doesn't affect the taste.
I wish other radishes have long and straight roots.

I'm very happy to harvest a big Chinese cabbage!

The vegetables will be cooked and served on a tonight's dinner table.
I will post the dishes on my blog later....!

-- from iPad

Dec 14, 2010

Growth report

My komatunas in a vinyl tunnel are growing much faster than my first komatunas which ended last weekend and we can expect to harvest them sooner than I think. As I mentioned sometimes, the effectiveness of the vinyl tunnel has been proved with the much germination and growth of the komatunas. If you seed or plant vegetables outside in winter season, I recommend you consider the method as your option.

My white radishes (Daikon radish) are also glowing and some of them have been ready for being harvested. I don't know how long and big they are till I will harvest them but judging from the white and green roots appearing on the soil I believe they have thick and long roots.

My cabbages have rolled their leaves inside shaping "cabbage-like appearance" beautifully. And fortunately few holes by bags are seen on them.

My Chinese cabbages (Hakusai), which have been suffering bugs attacks, are shaping their appearance and I expect to harvest them before the Christmas.

All of my 100 onions are very healthy showing us their leaves shooting upward, which shows water and nutritions can be sucked up successfully by the onions. I am looking forward to seeing ripen onions next spring.

-- from iPad

Dec 12, 2010

Grill, baby, grill!!

As the Christmas or year-end are upcoming, we might have some opportunities to hold parties where we can enjoying eating, drinking and talking with your family members, friends, colleagues.
In Japan we customarily hold what we call "the forget-the past year-party" at this season. The party is held literally to forget whatever unpleasant things, bad lucks and difficulties happens in the year.

Today my family held the party at my favorite Yakiniku ( grilled beef in the Korean style ) restaurant near my house.

Sliced strips of beef are served on our table with the special sauce.

At first, we enjoyed slice row cow liver as an appetizer with dipping them with salt and sesame oil. That is a favorite menu of my family.

We grilled the beef on a heated iron net, which is the Korean style.
"Grill, baby, grill!

Another source of our stamina is sliced garlics boiled in sesame oil.

We should not forget eating vegetables when we eat beef for balance of nutrition. That is "Kimuchi" or cabbages which are picked in hot chili based source.

-- from iPad

Dec 11, 2010

Making hot chili powder and oil

Do you want to use a new electric tool to test it as soon as you've bought it? Yes, I do!

We made hot chili powder and oil using a new electric blender which my wife bought.

After we've got rid of seeds from chilies, we put them a glass case of the blender and turned it on and then,,,,,?

Here is a hot chili powder!

Besides the powder, we made hot chili oil, which is my favorite condiment, with adding boiled sesame oil to the chili powder.

-- from iPad

Today's dinner

Today's dinner is a steamed chinese cabbage with sliced pork in a pot and a grilled komatunas. They are so easy to cook and the steamed cabbage is welcomed especially in a cold winter.

All you have to do is sliced cabbage and pork and put them into a pot.
If you layer sliced cabbages and porks as you see in the above photo, the appearance can be beautiful.

You don't need to pour any water. A plenty of soup comes out of the cabbage and pork! It's very delicious...

You can enjoy it with your favorite sauce or condiments such as soy-sauce with citrus juice.

-- from iPad

Harvesting and cleaning up all komatunas

Today my family and my daughter's friend went to my garden to harvest all of my first generation komatunas. The kids seemed to be delighted with the harvest.

My daughter's friend, who is 2 year olds younger than her, was eager to help my daughter cultivating with a hoe and my daughter taught her how to do it with demonstrating.

"Don't swing it too much or it will hurt you..."
"Ok, teacher."

The planting bed has been cleaned up after adding lime powder, rice bran and fertilizer for next planting.

-- from iPad

Dec 9, 2010

Today's harvest

My first generation komatunas, which had suffered low germination rate and poor growth, were at last harvested today. It took about 45 days since seeding those komatunas. I think the color of the leaves is lighter and paler than usual due to poor growth caused by less nutrition and less sunlight.
The second generation komatunas are well grown in a vinyl tunnel which can make temperature inside warm and gather much sunlight.

My wife will slice them and add them into Miso-soup.

-- from iPad

Dec 5, 2010

Today's harvest

Here is our today's harvest!
About 3 boxes of kiwi fruits and 25 persimmon fruits.

The kiwi fruits will be preserved with apples till they'll have been matured.

And some sweet persimmons were served on our table.

-- from iPad

Harvesting autumn fruits with my kids

Today my family visited My wife's father who lives with his family in Nara to help harvesting persimmons and kiwi fruits which are planted in his garden.

Unfortunately we saw less fruits on the trees than usual because the heatwave at this summer might affect the productivity of the trees according to her father.

There are 2 persimmon trees in the garden and the fruits are located on the top of the trees so I have to climb up to the roof of his house to harvest them.

The type of persimmon fruits shown above has a lot of persimmon tannin (astringent) so the taste is too bitter for us to eat! After harvesting them they are dried outside for a few months to get rid of tannin and we can enjoy dried persimmons.

Some persimmons are eaten by birds, mainly crows. They are so smart that they can recognize which fruits are sweet leaving bitter ones.....

The other persimmon tree shown above is planted behind his house and it is a sweet persimmon. Can you recognize difference between astringent persimmons and sweet ones? Sweet ones are more round-shaped than bitter ones which look like pointed-shaped.

As you see the above photo, we have to take a risk to harvest the fruits! There is no roof to go up around the tree but only thin brick wall and I dare to stand on the wall and use 'a long shaft nipper' to pick up the fruits. You see my daughter ready to catch them! No risk, No return. That is what my kids learned today, I hope.

Eventually we harvested about 20 persimmon fruits today. Some fruits have crack but that's ok for us to enjoy the taste.

-to be continued.

-- from iPad