Apr 29, 2012

The Onion Festival

 Hurrah for a bumper harvest of my onions! 

 Today I held "the Onion Festival", where my family harvested 70 onions of 150, which had been planted in last November. The 70 onions are rareripe or early maturing variety so they've grown well in only 5 months. 
 Harvesting those onions is so tough that I had to ask my family for their help. They were so kind and cooperative and especially my daughter got excited in harvesting them. I know the reason why she enjoyed harvesting onions. She loves onion rings!

 I always feel fulfilled when harvested vegetables are aligned on soil.
 After harvesting the onions, we cut out the onions' leaves. 
 We have to bind them in order to hang them up on a wall of my house and dry them.

Other 70 purple onions are still growing in my garden and will be harvested in a few weeks. That means we'll have the 2nd onion festival in the near future!

Apr 24, 2012

Pulling out potatoes' buds.

 Nipping out extra buds of potatoes is well-known technique in Japan. Too many buds or sprouts might suck up nutrition which should be distributed to potatoes and then we might end up with only smaller potatoes. Today I pulled out some of my potatoes' buds. The yellow-circled bud was smaller than others and it was the one to be nipped out.

 You can see 2 bigger buds are left in the photo shown below.

Nipped-out buds.

 I remember I was surprised with the fact that none of my blogging friends in overseas didn't know the technique when I introduced the technique last year on my blog.

--from iPad

Apr 21, 2012

Today's harvest

 I found some onions' leaves fell down to the ground, which shows it was the time to harvest them. I knew we had no stocks of onions in our fridge so I phoned to my wife and then she rushed to my garden and pulled them out!

My wife harvesting onions.

Today's harvest

 The onion's leaves were left on the soil where potatoes are planted. They serve as fertilizer after they are fermented.

--from iPad

Thinning out carrot sprouts.

I'm very happy to find many carrot sprouts have grown today since the carrot germination rate is generally lower than other vegetables and I actually failed to grow carrots last year. But I had to do a challenging chore to me, thinning them out.

According to some gardening books, choosing which sprouts we thin out or leave is difficult because middle-size carrots should not be thinned out but biggest and smallest ones have to be thrown out. The biggest sprouts likely have sprit roots in the future and the smallest one might imply their poor growth.

Today 30 sprouts were thinned out.

--from iPad

Soil improvement for summer vegetables

Soil improvement before planting next vegetables is one of the most important jobs for me. Today I bought some packs of fermented cow manure and lime powder for mixing them into the soil of a planting space, where next summer vegetables will be planted. In addition to those packs, I brought a pack of my homemade compost. All of those stuffs can work in the soil with producing nutritious after mixing them with soil, which is the hardest chore for me.

This is our homemade compost. My wife throws everyday leftover, perishable garbages like chopped vegetables into a vinyl bag where they can be fermented. It looks ugly but very nutritious to my vegetables.

When I use the compost, I always mix it with water to make it smooth. The original compost is too sticky for me to spread it onto the whole planting space.

After I added the cow manure, lime powder and compost solution, i had to do the most painstaking job, cultivating the soil to mix all of them. I have to cultivate soil deeply and thoroughly in order to distribute lime powder, manure and compost evenly among the soil.

Eventually, I cultivated the space, about 32 square feet, for 30 minutes! I totally got tired! But the hard work will lead me to bumper harvest of tomatoes, cucumbers and eggplants in this summer, I believe.

Today's mixture ratio for 32 sqf:

1 lime powder/300GR
2 fermented cow manure/1.5L
3 homemade compost/500Gr

--from iPad

Apr 19, 2012

Harvesting young onions for a test.

 Today I found some onions' bulbs are mature and I decided to harvest 4 onions for a test although they are still young. They will be well-mature in a few weeks and it's the time to harvest them when their leaves will have fallen down to the ground. But I know young onions are also delicious! I have a craving for tasting them!

 My recipe of young onions is very simple. Cutting them into a half and strips, running them under water, and tossing them into ball with other vegetables with say-sauce base dressing.
 The young onion salad is so refreshing and tasty that I recommend you serve it for a breakfast.

There are still other 120 onions in my garden to be harvested in a few weeks! I'll have to ask my family for helping me harvesting all of them. I know it is a tough job.

Apr 12, 2012

Harvesting and cooking spinach, pak-chois and a cabbage

 It's a fine day with a clear sky and warm temperature in Osaka. How would I spend today doing nothing outside! Yes, I should go out, do gardening chores, seeding and harvesting in my garden and I did them today.

 As you can see the photos, my pak-chois and spinach have grown bigger enough to be harvested thanks to recent warm weather and proper amount of rain shower. But other keys to the successful growth are sowing less seeds in more spacious gardening ridge and proper thinning-out. I would like to refer to my old post about the keys.

 I found many holes on my pak-chois! It's so shocking since I set up insect screens over the gardening ridge for my spinach and pak-chois!

 Judging from the shape of the damage on the leaves, I believed that some kinds of bugs had fed the leaves.

 After about 30min investigation, I found some slugs inside my pak-choi. My insect screen seems to be useless to protect my vegetables against bugs which can crawl through tiny space between the screen and soil.

 Fortunately, my spinach is intact and healthy with no holes by bugs although they've grown in the same gardening ridge with the bug-tainted pak-chois. Slugs might prefer pak-chois to spinach?

My spinach
 My cabbages are smaller than I expected but totally healthy with a good-shape heart. I wondered if I should glow them for another week but the outer leave have become hard, which shows it's the time to harvest so I decided to harvest them today.   

My cabbage

 Today's harvest:

1. 30 spinach
2. 25 pak-chois
3. 1 cabbage

Today's harvest

 I believe all vegetable gardeners, including me, feel it happy to cook their harvest just after we've harvest them and to eat them. My wife cooked stir-fried pak-choi with scrambled egg and grilled sausages. It's a simple recipe but the simpleness can make the best use of the pak-choi's flavor.

--from iPad

Apr 8, 2012

Walking along a local river bank viewing cherry blossoms

If you ask Japanese what the most popular flower in Japan is, most of them would answer it's a cherry blossom, I believe. I'm also one of "the Sakura (cherry blossom) funs and today I walked with my family on the local river banks near my house, where hundreds of cherry blossom trees are planted along the river and they are now in full bloom.

--from iPad

Apr 7, 2012

Can't you make any comment?

Some blogging friends have a problem in leaving comments on my blog and the cause is still unknown. They reported me that they cannot leave any comment on my blog for a recent few weeks.
Now I'm seeking a solution through the Blogger's FAQ and other source. And I changed the comment editor which was embedded with my blog into the new one. According to some bloggers, the problem might happen when you use some particular browser like IE so I would like you to use Google Chrome, Safari for leaving comments on my blog.
I know there are many accesses from you to my blog and I don't think I'm ignored. I hope you can enjoy my blog.

My carrots have germinated!

 I'm so excited with the germination of my carrots, which was seeded 3 weeks ago!

 The definition of the photo is so low that I don't know you can recognize the sprouts so I drew yellow circles around them for better recognition.

 The germination rate of carrot, about 60%, is lower than that of any other vegetables. Crashed straws, which are shown in the photo, serve as a blanket which can keep soil warm and moist, which are keys to carrot's germination.

--from iPad

Seeking flowers in my garden

 Many people in Japan are enjoying viewing cherry-blossom in April but other beautiful flowers can be seen in my garden.

Flowers of brassica

Flowers of

Flowers of wild chrysanthemums, dandelion
and brassica in water, collected by my daughter.

 No matter how beautiful and attractive those flowers are, we never forget harvesting our vegetables. My spinach shown below are much bigger than last ones since I seeded them with keeping 10cm space between each other and thinned them out properly, I believe.

Today's harvest: spinach and a spring cabbage

--from iPad

Apr 4, 2012

Spring has come after a storm.

 We in Japan call a spring storm "春一番/ Haru-Ichiban", which shows spring is brought to Japan by a seasonal storm generated by warm sea water in the Eastern China sea. But the storm of yesterday was so strong that many people were injured and serious damages to all traffic schedules have been reported. One of those damages I could see today in our gardening plots are here. Other gardener's insect screens were blown by strong wind.

 Fortunately, no damage was found in my plot and what I and my daughter found there is my potato's germination! I've been waiting for their germination for 2 months after planting them! The colder temperature could delay their growth, I believe.
 After I found their germination, my gardening ridges for the potatoes should be expanded for securing more space for the growing potatoes. I bought some packs of gardening soil and added to the ridges.
Before adding soil.
 The storm has brought not only damage to us but spring with warm temperature and vegetables know it. They are growing faster as the temperature is getting warm.

 My daughter is also waiting for a warm spring and she gets so enthusiastic for going to my garden  and watching the growth of vegetables in a warm day. She is also excited with the potato's germination.