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Oct 12, 2013

Switching to a new Facebook page.

Dear my blogging friends,

I've crated my new Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/takaeko.vege) on my gardening activities, which is named "Small vege garden in a suburb", same with that of the current blog and Due to the opening my new page, the current blog will not be updated.
I hope many friends from the world visit my new Facebook page!

Best regards,
Takaeko

Sep 8, 2013

Bad result of test-digging a carrot

 I've realized through growing vegetables that my efforts and labors in my gardening activities don't always deserve a great harvest.

 A carrot, which I failed to grow in the past three years, seems to be still one of my most difficult vegetables for me.


 Today I pulled out one of my carrots for a test and I saw it unusual at a glance.


 Some root-knots are seen on the carrot and it shows it seems to have a root-knot disease, of which I'm afraid most. The disease makes a look and taste of the infected vegetables bad.

 I carried out some prevention measures like planting marigolds which are effective to ward off
Root-knot nematodes.
 I still have about 15 carrots in my garden but some of them could be infected with the disease. I just hope the damage would be minimized. :(

Jul 16, 2013

The special bed for carrots

 I've experienced many failures in growing carrots like poor germination and growth troubles.
What I've learned from those failures is I should create 2 things.

1 A soil bed with no pebbles and soil mass
2 An elevated soil bed for avoiding carrots from water soaking

 Now it's in the middle of a hot summer with record-high temperature but I decided to create an special soil bed spending 2 hours! The height of the pad is about 30 cm (15 inches) so it's high enough to avoid flood.

 A measure against bugs is also important to grow carrots. Young worms of a swallowtail butterfly is a big enemy for carrots so I covered the bed with a insect screen to ward off the butterfly.

 Watering is another issue for gardeners growing carrots in this season in Japan. Carrot's germination requires watering everyday to keep the bed wet. So I used rice bran as you can see it on the photos shown below. Of course, I have to water them everyday through the hot summer,,,,.








Jun 18, 2013

How really effective?

 I mentioned about the new organic methods for warding off aphids in my previous blog and it took about a month since the installation. Today I visited my garden to see how the methods were effective.

 I would like you to compare those 2 photos, the left one showing a tomato tree of other gardener, who has his garden next to mine, with no aluminium foil and silver mulching sheets and the right one my tomato tree with the organic anti-aphid methods.

 I was able to see clear difference between the trees in my garden and I hope you could see that through these photos,,,. The left tree is Tainted with more aphids while my tree have less aphid.

 I make sure that my organic anti-aphid methods are almost effective through the comparison. I'm very happy to ward off aphids but I have a new problem,,,,,,less rain in this rainy season!

Jun 14, 2013

This week's harvest

 I'm very happy to see the bumper harvest of summer vegetables but I and my wife are wondering how we can consume them? 
 Anyway, I sliced a cucumber harvested just now and enjoyed the sliced cucumbers with mayonnaise.





Jun 9, 2013

Harvesting onions and potatoes

 I mentioned about less rain this rainy season and it may affect the growth of my summer vegetables but sunny days brought me the precious opportunity for harvesting onions and potatoes. It's good to harvest them in a sunny and dry day since rain can perish harvested potatoes and onions. Today I harvested all of purple onions and potatoes.

 The onions leaves falling down to the ground show it's the time to harvest and they are not bolted. They are healthy and in a good shape with shiny purple color. I'll sliced a new purple onion to cook salad with cabbages.

 I'm not satisfied with potatoes since they were smaller than I expected. I think the planting ridge was not wider than the last season so it didn't much space for growing them.

The growth of my summer vegetables

 Now in Japan it's in the mid of "Tsuyu/梅雨", a early-summer rainy season and I and other gardeners were expecting a lot of rain but according to the latest weather report, this rainy season might bring less rain due to rain systems which are pushed down to the south away from Japan. Actually, we have seen no rainy day since the Japan meteorological agency had announced officially the start of the rainy season.

 Due to the less rain than average, I have to visit my garden everyday to water my summer vegetables before going to my office. That kind of routine sounds boring but the fruits of labor like flowers and growing fruits animate me.

 1. Eggplant

2 Cucumbers

3 Green eggplant's flower           4 Tomatoes

5 Basil

May 13, 2013

Planting summer vegetables

 I was looking forward to planting summer vegetables because I installed some organic methods to ward off aphids as I mentioned in my previous blog. And I and my kids planted the sprouts on the gardening ridges covered with silver mulching sheets.

 List of my summer vegetables:

2 eggplants
green eggplant
3 tomatoes (Momotaro)
2 cucumbers


A green eggplant, my first try.
3 tomatoes (Momotaro)
 I invented a new organic method to repel aphids! It's "a silver pole". It's very simple to make it! Just taping plastic poles with aluminium adhesive tape.
 I hope those methods will be "silver bullets" for protecting my vegetables against bugs.

Apr 29, 2013

My organic challenge vol.2

I don't want to use chemical pesticide but how can I ward off bugs organically especially aphids, which damage my vegetables every year?
I studied aphids don't like reflected sunlight so I've tried aluminum tape to repel them. I found more effective thing on the Internet than the tape, I believe. I bought a roll of silver-colored mulch sheet, which is 1 meter-wide and 100-meter-long.
The sheet is effective not only for repel bugs but for cooling down soil by reflecting sunlight. Today I covered my gardening ridges with the sheet.
I'll plant tomatoes, eggplants and cucumbers there next week. Aphids love those summer vegetables so I strongly hope the sheet will work effectively.

-- iPhone

Apr 28, 2013

My Organic Challenge

 I sometimes think how organically I can grow my vegetables when I plant new seed and sprouts.
I believe I still have many things to be organic since I sometimes use chemical things like fertilizer and pesticide. What will happen if I switch those chemical things into organic ways? I decided I install some organic methods to grow my vegetables more Organically!

1. Installing companion plants

I believe companion plant method is so familiar among many gardeners and I tried to install the method to ward off beetles, aphids and namatodes. I studied that marigolds are effective to ward off them so I and my kids bought 2 potted marigolds and planted then my gardening beds.

My daughter is choosing good ones.
My kids are planting a marigold

The companion plant method is not only for warding off bugs but for help vegetable's healthy growth. Planting sweet basil beside tomato trees is effective to make the tomatoes more delicious so I bought a pack of basil seeds and planted them at the edge of my gardening bed for tomato trees. I can enjoy the great combination for cooking Italian dishes when they will have grown!
                                            


2. Using leftover as fertilizer

My family loves miso-soup with clams and the shells were thrown away into a garbage can.
I studied the shells contain a lot calcium, which is effective to neutralize soil. I hammered them to powder after I washed them to remove salt and dried them.

Apr 8, 2013

My kids spend the last day of their spring vacation in my garden.

 I'm very happy that I and my kids could spend the last day of their spring vacation working in my garden. I'm happy not only for their help but for their positive attitude toward working in my garden.

 I did't asked them or invited them to come to my garden but they said "Take us to your garden, Dad!" when I left my house with my hoe. You can see their great jobs in my garden in the photos shown below.
Mission 1 : Weeding
Mission 2 : Cultivating soil
Mission 3 : Covering ridges with black mulch-sheets
 When I see their positive attitude, I strongly believe my education through my gardening will make for establishing their views in a good way. I always tell my kids that we live on food like meat, vegetables, fish, what we can get by growing and killing them. They seem to feel or acknowledge how important it is to know how we live and how interesting and valuable it is to take part in gardening, where they can grow their food.

Mar 28, 2013

Exploring the rain forest in Iriomote island

I had a dream for long time. It's exploring a rain forest with canoes. At last my dream came true!

My family have trip to Iriomote island, located in about 450KM southwest of Okinawa main island.
90% of the island is covered with rain forest and is famous for indigenous wild animals an plants and various kinds of activities in the forest.

We took part in a excursion tour to the Pinaisala falls with paddling in the river and trekking through the forest.

It was the first time for us to paddle canoes so we had difficulty in dealing with the canoe and strong wind. But we MANAGED to go up the river to the goal.
We found many kinds of tropical plants like Bruguiera gymnorhiza in the mangrove forest along the river.
Bruguiera gymnorhiza: Black mangrove
Bruguiera gymnorhiza: Black mangrove
Heritiera littoralis
Cyathea lepifera:Flying Spider-monkey Tree Fern
The scenery from the top of the Pinaisala falls
I
My family and the Pinaisala falls
t was still cool to swim in the basin of the falls but we had a craving for doing it and at last we dared to dive into the water and swim! Look at a middle aged man diving into the water with joy! It's me! 

diving with yelling "Yeaaaaha!!"
It's not a drowned body but he is my son relaxing himself on the water.













Feb 1, 2013

Working in a cold day

 I hate a cold weather. I'm sensitive to cold temperature so I wear wool socks when I sleep. How about outside? Do you think I wear a shaggy fur coat when I work in my garden? If you think so, the idea could be a little exaggerated. I always bring some portable body warmers in a cold day but today was much colder than I expected! Look at the ice in a bucket! It's about 1cm-thick ice! I had to bear with the severely cold temperature with only 2 body warmers.

 I wondered if my vegetables, especially my spinach, were growing well while the cold days but I felt relief when they grew well in a vinyl tunnel. The tunnel is very effective to keep the air inside warm judging from the growth of the spinach, which are as sensitive to cold temperature as me.

 While I worked in my garden suffering the cold weather, my daughter was so brisk with vim and vigor that she cultivated the gardening ridges for the next seeding.
 Today's harvest: 1 Chinese cabbage

Today's dinner: A hot pot dish with the Chinese cabbage, sliced pork and tofu boiled in miso-based soup.