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Growing Japanese food plants & herbs


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48 minutes ago, TicTac said:

I have been searching for a while to find some to grow (Toronto, ON) - not much luck.


May have to resort to an online source....

What are you after exactly - yuzu?


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5 hours ago, TicTac said:

No, Holy Basil...Been cooking a lot of Pud Kra Prao at home and Italian basil while nice, just doesn't cut it!


Did you see this forum on Chowhound? It's a old link.



Or any other Southeast Asian food market might have it. You could even ask a Thai restaurant where they get theirs.


I agree that Italian basil doesn't cut it in Thai food. But you don't have to use holy basil. I think Thai basil, which is anise-y and purple, is just as good in stirfries.


Basil is out of season. But in the summer try contacting your local herbalists' association for a supplier. Someone may be growing it for ayurvedic reasons.



This is a long shot: I notice that Amma, or Mata Amritanandamayi, visits Toronto in the summer. She was mentioned in heidih's link. When I have visited her ashram in San Ramon, Ca, during her summer tour there, I have noticed a table of tulsi/holy basil plants for sale. I don't know if tulsi plants would also be available at her Toronto venue. What can I say? It might be a source for you. Try emailing Amma's Toronto group--maybe someone local grows the herb.





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Thanks dj - appreciate the time you took.


I contacted Richters (per Kerry's suggestion) and already heard back - they have both plants (only purple) and seeds (purple and green) available now.


I will probably pick up a pack of each seeds, curious as to whether they would grow indoors in the winter time....

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  • 3 years later...
On 1/24/2005 at 12:47 AM, helenjp said:

Mitsuba and shiso... from my students

Mitsuba is one variety of Japanese parsely, and there is only the one variety. However, from the point of view of cultivation, we can cultivate it as root Mitsuba, blue Mitsuba, and cutting Mitsuba (the most common variety).

When cultivating it at home you should raise it in light shade, because if you raise it in full sun, the leaves will grow too stiff.


It is best to manage the temperature at about twenty degrees (celsius - 68deg.F) in order to grow perilla well. If the minimum and maximum temperature vary widely, seed pods will develop and the leaves will not continue to grow. Since perilla is susceptible to wet soil, well drained soil is best. A mixture of crumbly clay loam (akadama-tsuchi) and leaf mold (fuyoudo) is good. Once the seedlings have two mature leaves, make sure they get sun and warmth. Harvest leaves from the bottom up, as new leaves will grow from the top. From the end of August or so, flowers will bloom. If you grow perilla as mentioned above, it will grow perfectly!

One thing to note is that grassy, leafy annual herbs hate to be transplanted. They will either die, or promptly set seed -- so make a seed bed right where you plan to grow them, and thin the seedlings if necessary. If you do happen to find seedlings, you should probably avoid them and buy seeds instead.


I don't know if it is the same elsewhere, but it is common to find herbs in grocery stores here for sale in little seedling pots. Our little Asian fruit and veg store just reopened after the owner was stuck in self-quarantine for 2 weeks after 2 weeks in China 😥 so I was eager to help get his cash flow going and bought a pot of red shiso. I was inspired by a friend who grows the green in Indiana USA so I reckon it could survive our weather if I can keep enough water on it. I divided it into 3 pots, before finding this thread so we shall see if it makes it.


I do miss the heyday of the Japan forum. So much great information here.

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It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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I live in the growing paradise of California . Garden centers have most of these plants in the small containers noted. In the spring particularly Japanese stores here like Nijiya have both seed packets and little guys.  http://www.nijiya.com/c Traffic sucks but availability is astounding in this metropolis.

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