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helenjp

Growing Japanese food plants & herbs

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Just seen the first of your two posts, Helenjp - thank you, I had not come across this book at all.

I guess you and other readers kown of the soil and health library:

http://www.soilandhealth.org/index.html (select agriculture)

- some out of print books here.

I will do some reading and of course the best answer is to go to Japan and talk to the farmers !

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Has anyone ever made shiso juice from red shiso? I purchased a bottled shiso juice when I was there and liked it very much.

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(I've always thought you are a man!)

Perhaps in my next life. :smile: BTW, thanks for the link. I will give it a try perhaps this summer.

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Since this thread's been quiet for a while I thought I'd try and stimulate some more input.

1. Shungiku has successfully sprouted outdoors here in the UK after just 8 days - I sowed on March 20th. Likewise Mizuna. Both firsts for me. Red Shiso was sown outdoors a few days ago but no sign of life yet. Waiting for Daikon, Gobo and Nira to show....

2. Help! Does anyone know how I might get Udo, Fuki, Naga-imo and Yama-Imo root and tubercles exported from Japan? I've tried Kaneko, Takii and Tokita (= Tozer in Europe) but without any luck so far. Unlike seeds, these items require quarantine before being allowed to leave Japan.

Robin

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I'll add on about my progress too!

My Shiso was sown awhile back, it took a few weeks to germinate. I thought I would get poor germination so I sowed tons of seeds, but ended up with a pasture of shiso instead. I still have so many to transplant from the original big pot they are still all togeather in. The ones i transplanted early into large pots are now HUGE! I went to China/Japan for 3 weeks and when I came back they had grown so much! Now about a foot tall with huge beautiful leaves. :biggrin::biggrin:

Also, my yuzu seeds I planted are now about 2-3 inches tall :biggrin:

I also have an young Okinawan Plum tree (4ft tall) that I thought had died, but is now growing back tons of sprouts and leaves again :biggrin:

Big shiso plants, and the small ones in the pot to the left (partly cut off) are the same age....key = transplant early! And fertilize! Bottom pot is yuzu.

Shiso.jpg

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2. Help! Does anyone know how I might get Udo, Fuki, Naga-imo and Yama-Imo root and tubercles exported from Japan? I've tried Kaneko, Takii and Tokita (= Tozer in Europe) but without any luck so far. Unlike seeds, these items require quarantine before being allowed to leave Japan.

Robin

It might not be possible. They can be real sticklers on things like this. I used to have my dad send me seeds from the US, one time they came through fine, one time they were confiscated, and another I recieved them but every single packet had been opened.....

I am glad you guys are both having good luck growing things!

I have been thinking about getting started this week.....


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Flavour Enhanced by Fighting Disease?

Do you folks re-call recent articles on this subject? I'm sure it's not a new theory. Today I had the proof - a crop of Mizuna grown under fleece has near-perfect appearance but poor flavour (very mild). The same seeds planted in the open were attacked severely by flea beetle and are full of holes, but have nevertheless grown well. Crucially, the flavour is absolutely outstanding.

I would be very interested to hear comments on this.

Robin.

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Plant stress is apparently a hot topic at the moment, though I'm not really sure why.

There are some curious things that happen in the world of plants...I noticed that some herbs I was too lazy to transplant and which were *seriously* stressed developed much hotter and more bitter flavors than their more pampered siblings - not all components of the flavor were equally intensified (or maybe they were, and I just couldn't tell).

:wacko:

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Absolutely......stress contributes to flavour.(in most vegetables)....they need dirt,wind,have to fight for water sometimes, and look for nutrients.....it all slows them down and seems to give them time to develop a deeper flavour. (with exceptions like radish and lettuce)....just think of hydroponics....lots of water and nutrients...look perfect...but.....taste flat most of the time.

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Thanks Helen, Dave. Glad to know I wasn't imagining it.

Also, that ties in: kabu harvested from under fleece tasted excellent, although I have no un-fleeced crop to compare it with. Daikon in the open was harvested & tasted excellent, although a few hole-borers were present; I have a crop under fleece due to be harvested in a few weeks & will try and detect differences (if any).

Has any scientific work been done to establish exactly what the plant is doing and what substances are being produced?

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Time for a garden update....

My Camellia sinesis are getting bigger and fast! :biggrin:

The tallest one (furthest to the left) is just over 12-inches tall, the slightly shorter one (right) is 9-inches tall.

Also some seeds i picked up from various Camellia plants in Japan are growing too! (small one in the front with slightly different shape and more shiny leaves)

Camellia.jpg

I have soybeans now! I planted 3 batches at delayed time intervals so i could have an incremental crop... the oldest ones are now over 2-feet tall and have some developing soybeans! :biggrin:

Soybeans.jpg

I have Kabocha growing now too! This crazy vine is growing all over the back yard and since they started growing, the adjacent Shiso havent grown much.... :hmmm:

The largest Kabocha is now almost 5-inches in diameter

Kabocha1.jpg

The second largest is about 3.5-inches diameter :biggrin:

Kabocha2.jpg

The third largest is about 1-inch in diameter.

Kabocha3.jpg

There are also several ones smaller than this last one.

Finally, my Yuzu seedlings are growing well too. The tallest on has reached almost 12-inches in height.

YuzuTree.jpg

My question about the Yuzu tree....this is just grown from seeds. (I also have Key Lime and Kaffir Lime seedlings about the height of the shorter Yuzu seedlings). Since these are grown from seed and are not grafted to a root stock, will they not grow as tall? Will they be weaker? Will they not be able to produce as much fruit? Should I give them more special care to ensure a long life and good fruit production from them (pruning frequently, etc..)??? Any advice?

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Those plants are looking pretty good! I hope the food will be wonderful.

How long did it take for the soybeans and kabocha to get to that point? I've thought of growing some and would like to once I have the chance. Especially kabocha. That sounds so good!

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How long did it take for the soybeans and kabocha to get to that point? I've thought of growing some and would like to once I have the chance. Especially kabocha. That sounds so good!

The soybean package says it takes about 100 days to get mature soybeans. As for the kabocha, Im not sure how old the plant is, MIL thinks its less then a month old.

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Helen, on Jan. 23 you mentioned growing burdock in plastic bags. Do you have any information on this method?

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I haven't done it myself, but my students tell me that they have grown burdock in plastic bags, or more conveniently, plastic garbage bins. They said they used ordinary soil, but I imagine they put some fairly free-draining stuff down the bottom, especially as the burdock would take a while to extend its root right down to the bottom part of the container. If you pick a short-growing cultivar, it will be easier to grow, and will mature faster too.

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I haven't done it myself, but my students tell me that they have grown burdock in plastic bags, or more conveniently, plastic garbage bins. They said they used ordinary soil, but I imagine they put some fairly free-draining stuff down the bottom, especially as the burdock would take a while to extend its root right down to the bottom part of the container. If you pick a short-growing cultivar, it will be easier to grow, and will mature faster too.

That sounds easy enough. The only seeds I have found available to me are Takinogawa and Watanabe. Since the Watanabe is supposed to be shorter, I may give it a try. My soil has a layer of hardpan about 2 feet down and I'm not about to try to dig through it but it seems that the bag method would work.

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Garden Update!!!

My first set of Soybeans have matured!! :biggrin::biggrin:

GardenEdamamae.jpg

On the down-side, those 3 kabochas I mentioned earlier.... The plant caught some bad powdery mildew and kind of died out.... I picked these anyways, but I dont know yet if they were mature enough yet.... Ill let them sit around for awhile before I cut them up.

GardenKabocha.jpg

I have no idea why one seems to be an albino :blink:

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Garden Update!!!

My first set of Soybeans have matured!! :biggrin:  :biggrin:

GardenEdamamae.jpg

On the down-side, those 3 kabochas I mentioned earlier.... The plant caught some bad powdery mildew and kind of died out.... I picked these anyways, but I dont know yet if they were mature enough yet.... Ill let them sit around for awhile before I cut them up.

GardenKabocha.jpg

I have no idea why one seems to be an albino :blink:

Oooh!!!! I'm impressed!!! I've temporarily given up on my lanai gardening... I've been too busy working to spend the time to garden, and I swear my husband must be giving the plants the evil eye (whenever he's around them, they wither and die)!

Last year I grew a nice crop of regular and Thai basil, rosemary, thyme, nasturtiums, and some mâche lettuce (well, enough for one salad). Now, everything has died out but the rosemary and a chunk of ginger I planted but have yet to harvest. The shiso I tried last year never germinated...

I'm hoping *some day* to have some fine shiso plants, a small Kaffir lime, and more basil. You started your Kaffir lime from seeds? Where did you get them?


SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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congratulations!

those edamame look especially gorgeous :biggrin:


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I'm hoping *some day* to have some fine shiso plants, a small Kaffir lime, and more basil. You started your Kaffir lime from seeds? Where did you get them?

I got all my citrus seeds (yuzu, kaffir lime, key lime) from the same place:

http://www.tradewindsfruit.com/order.htm

I had a really high germination rate...maybe it was even 100%? So far one Kaffir lime has died and one looks sickly, though the other ones look fine. The only thing about growing citrus from seed is, I dunno if they will be able to get very big or how healthy they will be later on, since most citrus grown commercially are grafted to a much stronger root stock.

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I got all my citrus seeds (yuzu, kaffir lime, key lime) from the same place:

http://www.tradewindsfruit.com/order.htm

I had a really high germination rate...maybe it was even 100%?  So far one Kaffir lime has died and one looks sickly, though the other ones look fine.  The only thing about growing citrus from seed is, I dunno if they will be able to get very big or how healthy they will be later on, since most citrus grown commercially are grafted to a much stronger root stock.

Bookmarked! I thought we're not allowed to mail seeds from the mainland to Hawaii... or does that just apply to individuals (not commerical nurseries)?


SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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I got all my citrus seeds (yuzu, kaffir lime, key lime) from the same place:

http://www.tradewindsfruit.com/order.htm

I had a really high germination rate...maybe it was even 100%?  So far one Kaffir lime has died and one looks sickly, though the other ones look fine.  The only thing about growing citrus from seed is, I dunno if they will be able to get very big or how healthy they will be later on, since most citrus grown commercially are grafted to a much stronger root stock.

Bookmarked! I thought we're not allowed to mail seeds from the mainland to Hawaii... or does that just apply to individuals (not commerical nurseries)?

I dont know why we wouldnt be able to mail seeds? Seeds are much less likely to be containing rotten things like coqui frogs, bugs, lizards, etc. Probably you cant mail any live plants to Hawaii unless you are a nursery.

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Well, I think I might be in the same house all year this year, so I can actually have a garden. I'd love to grow some Japanese vegetables and herbs, because they're expensive to buy in quantity (and I'd like to make pickles out of a lot of them) and because it would be satisfying.

My yard is quite small and the neighbors use part of it for their garden bed, so I'd likely have to grow things in containers. I have a balcony that's probably at least 80% shade and probably a little piece of sunny backyard - I'll have to observe the sun patterns next time I'm home all day.

I was thinking of buying the tsukemono pickling garden from Kitazawa Seed, as well as some red and green shiso. The vegetables included are pickling melon?, takana mustard, oblong eggplant, cucumber, daikon, turnip, and cabbage.

I haven't done any gardening in a long, long time and fear I might be totally inept. I hope to enlist my father's assistance - he's got quite a green thumb, and recently lost his job of 30+ years, so I hope it will give him something else to think about.

I plan to grow the shiso in containers in as sunny a spot as I can find. Perhaps if I use "window boxes" hanging from the edge of the roofed balcony, they will get enough sun? I think everything will have to go in containers, though. I've never had good luck growing tomatoes in containers, so hopefully these veggies will fare better.


Jennie

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Shiso will be happy in the sunshine, but make sure the soil is not so light that it dries out instantly...in my experience, shiso that suffers drought-stress seems to be much more susceptible to bugs!

I've had great success with eggplant in containers - being smaller than western varieties, it matures before diseases and bugs get a hold, very rewarding!

The takana and daikon I would be inclined to leave till a fall sowing, as they will be just dying to flower and set seed if you sow them in spring...but if you sow the takana fairly early, you could probably get a crop before summer.

Check GardenWeb (Asian vegetables) too, for more specific advice for gardening in your particular area.

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