Dec 31, 2011

Harvesting at the end of 2011

Today is the last day of 2011. It's a good day to reflect what happened in this year and to plan what I should do in coming next year, 2012.

The big earthquakes, disaster caused by nuclear power plants, my father's death,,,,,well, many sad things happened this year but gardening can heal and reanimate my spirit and seeing growth of vegetables give me a hope for next year. Today I harvested three daikon radishes and two cabbages with hoping for having a happy new year.

--from iPad

Dec 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I wish all of my blogging friends a merry Christmas from Japan!!

--from iPad

Dec 23, 2011

Germination in a cold day

 As the X'mas is coming, the temperature is getting colder and colder down to about 5 degrees C (40 degrees F) in Osaka. I seeded pak-choys and spinach 2 weeks ago covering them with vinyl tunnels to keep the air inside warmer. Today I thinned out pak-choys sprouts and found the spinach germinated.

 Choosing sprouts to be thinned out is still a little bit heart-breaking to me because I always wish all of sprouts to be grown and harvested. But I have to do it for pursuing bigger vegetables in a limited space.

 The growth of spinach is usually slower than pak-choi and other leaf vegetables and I'm very happy to find some spinach has germinated. It has been very cold in my town and I wondered when they could germinate.

Dec 11, 2011

The trip to Kuroshima island, Okinawa

 I'm a dyed in a wool freak on tripping to tropical islands like Hawaii, Maldives, and Okinawa. The luminescent green and blue ocean with white sand and various colorful flowers can relax and energize me. And local foods and cultural events and festivals are also attractive. I trip once a year to those islands using accumulated mileage points for free air tickets and at this time I went to Kuroshima island and Taketomi island, which are located in the southeast of the Okinawa main island. I would like to share some interesting videos of local festivals and foods on this blog.

 I'll show you videos of a local festival in Taketomi island, which has a long history dedicated to the God of a local Shinto shrine. You can see many dancers dressed up as samurai warriors and ancient farmers. Most of old festivals in Japan are held to pray for bumper harvest including the festival in Taketomi island.

The 1st dance by samurai warriors

The dance by female dancers dressed up as ancient farmer.

The dance by female oracles.

Nov 27, 2011

Onion Project

 An onion is not only one of our favorite vegetables but one of most versatile vegetables for many dishes in many ways, I believe. Actually, My family consume more onions than any other vegetables through a year.

 My wife requested more onions than previous season so I bought 150 onion sprouts at a local sprout and seed shop.

 Planting the 150 onion sprouts was so tough that I had to ask my wife, my daughter and even her friend to help me! They were so cooperative and especially my daughter's friend planted sprouts for the first time so she seemed to be interested in working in my garden with my daughter's guidance.

 In 1 hour and a half, we finished planting all sprouts. The breed of my onion is an early onion so we can expect harvesting them in the mid or late of May in 2012. My daughter's friend said she will take a part in harvesting them next spring. I believe her efforts and cooperation deserve it.

Nov 23, 2011

A day in a rural area

 Today my family visited my wife's aunt, who is my gardening teacher and an owner of a large-scale vegetable farm, to get rice husk.

 Inside a large green house which is designed for farmers, not for vegetables, her aunt and some of her friends were busy in packing their products, Komatunas. I wish I could have helped them but packaging vegetables neatly was more difficult than and I think so I should leave it to "veteran farmers" who acquired techniques because I know that beautiful appearance of their products determines sales amount in stores.

 When I see vegetables produced by my teacher, I always envy her. Because All of her vegetables look perfect! Her komatunas also had bigger trunks, leaves and the color were darker green than mine.

 Other vegetables and fruits in her farm were also beautiful! I'll introduce some of them which I was impressed with,,,,.

A shiny red chili, which looks like the picture of "Mark's Veg Plot Chilli Award"?

Giant leeks

A tunip

Daikon radishes are so think, long and fleshy.

Kiwi fruits beside her green house have grown and ripen well.

A plastic box is full of hundreds of persimmon fruits!

Nov 19, 2011

Cabbage Festival

 Today I and my daughter harvested all of my ripen cabbages and Chinese cabbages.
My cabbages are so healthy that no holes by bugs have been found on their leaves while my Chinese cabbages were affected by young worms and aphids, but edible.

My cabbage with big heart.

My purple cabbage, smaller than green one.

 My daughter were curious about how to use a sickle so it was a good opportunity for her to learn it. She tried to cut a trunk of a cabbage but it was too thick and hard for her to cut it out.

 After about 5-minute struggle, she eventually cut out the heart of the cabbage.
Today's harvets
2 cabbages / 2 Chinese cabbages
1 purple cabbage

 What is the inside of a purple cabbage like? To see it, I cut it into a half after I went back with today's harvests. It was very beautiful! The combination of purple leaves and white flesh was so impressive to me!

 I made " a green and purple salad ". I wish I had red tomatoes which would had made it more colorful.

Nov 15, 2011

Hot fruits and sweet fruits

 What can make such big difference between sweet fruits and hot fruits on the Earth? Some fruits are so sweet that many adults and kids get attracted while others are so hot and spicy that many chefs love to add them to make their dishes much tastier.

 In a corner of the precinct where my gardening plot is located, there is a tree of persimmon and many persimmon fruits have ripened.

 Some gardeners including me recognized that the fruits are grown but we didn't know they were sweet or not since it's difficult to see at a glance if they are sweet persimmon or sour persimmon.
But according to the landowner of our garden, the tree is a sweet one and the fruits are also very sweet! The landowner was so kind and generous that he approved us to harvest them!

I and my gardening friends shared about 20 persimmon fruits and I got 9 of them. My family love persimmon fruits so I'll cut them and serve for a dessert after dinner.

 My HOT fruits were also grown and ripen on my red-chili tree! I harvested about 20 red chili fruits. As temperature down, we are going to have craving for a Nabe-dish (hot-pot dish) and spicy red chili is gonna take an important role in making Nabe tastier.

Nov 4, 2011

Harvesting with my kids

 I and my kids went to my garden and enjoyed working and harvesting.

 We were so excited since we knew my cabbages have grown well and it's the best time to harvest them. My kids were going to rush to the cabbages but I always tell them to do their assignments like weeding, finding bugs and watering vegetables before enjoying their most exciting time.

 In Osaka, warm days have continued even in the beginning of November, when temperature usually starts going down. So weeds also have grown as well as my vegetables. I told my son how to use a sickle. My daughter doesn't love to do chores but love to harvest vegetables and fruits and she tried to avoid her assignments spending a while watching fruits in other gardener's plots.

 As you see the photos shown below, my cabbages are almost intact with much less damage by bugs and have beautifully round-shaped hearts. A gardening friends who has his garden beside mine envied me when he saw my cabbages.

My well-grown cabbages have so thick and hard trunks that my son had trouble in cutting one of them but eventually he managed to cut it out.

 "What is today's dinner, dad?" Well, I'll show you it later in my blog.

Oct 23, 2011

Growth of my vegetables: Daikon radishes,Black chilis

-- from iPod touch


 It's my most unpleasant moment when I've found bug's feces in my vegetables.

 One of my cabbages had a beautiful and intact heart inside till last Friday when I had saw no bugs there. But today many poos of young worms of a moss were found on the heart and inside of the cabbage with big holes on its leaves. Those many poos and big holes show big grown bugs might live inside the cabbage or in the soil around it.

I believed and decided to seek and hunt the bugs, searching for them turning over its leaves one by one. And at last, I found it! A middle-sized young worm was found between the heart and a leaf!

Eventually, 3 more bugs were hunted today.

After I "said good-bye" to the poor worm, I rinsed the poos off the cabbage not only because I want to keep my vegetables clean but because I can see other bugs might live if new poos are found.

-- from iPod touch

Oct 16, 2011

Bugs thriving in my Chinese cabbages.

Today I found many bags like young worms and herds of aphids in mu Chinese cabbages.
I have dealt with attacks by young worms and caterpillars and today ten young worms were picked up and removed out of the cabbages.

I'm astonished with the fact that many aphids live inside my Chinese cabbages! The proliferation of aphids have never been found in my garden.
I wonder how and when they came to my cabbages from where. Anyway, they have to be removed immediately for healthy growth of my cabbages.

I want to avoid using chemical pesticides as possible as I can. So I tried a new way introduced in a blog by a gardener in Japan. It's a mixture of water, salad oil and kitchen detergent. The gardener said spraying the solution on aphids is so effective since the emulsified oil can wrap around an aphid and choke them off to death. Mixing rate is water/500ml, salad oil/5ml and a few drops of detergent.

I wondered what would happen to the aphids after spraying but I could see the good result. After spraying on them, they stopped moving! They seemed to be suffocated.
I will check the effectiveness tomorrow and see if the aphids are truly killed.

-- iPad

Growth of my cabbages,hakusai cabbages and peas

-- iPad

Oct 9, 2011

Harvesting "Chisha"/ leaf lettuces.

-- from iPod touch

Today I harvested "Chisha lettuces" or leaf lettuces which were planted 2 month ago. That kind of lettuce doesn't form a head. I found their leaves are about 30cm/11inch so I believe it's the time to harvest them.

 When I harvest them, I have to be careful because the leaves don't roll inside like cabbages or usual lettuces and they are so fragile that they break and snap easily.

 I and my wife prepared the lettuces with removing dirt, soil, bugs and their roots and,,,,

 Today's dinner was BBQ on a electric heating plate! You can see the lettuces and other vegetables, which were grown in my garden,  beside the plate.

 We rolled a grilled beef and gochujang (Korean red chili paste) with a leaf of the lettuce.
You can eat more vegetables with grilled beefs and expect well-balanced nutrition in that way.