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Vegetable Gardening in Japan


Hiroyuki
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Update Aug. 10

Only one photo here, as usual.

gallery_16375_5_33550.jpg

Young stalks and leaves of tsuru murasaki. We pick them off almost every evening, but we can see others popping up like these the next morning. Really unbelievable!

More photos in my SFG blog, as usual. :biggrin:

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Update Aug. 10

Only one photo here, as usual.

gallery_16375_5_33550.jpg

Young stalks and leaves of tsuru murasaki.  We pick them off almost every evening, but we can see others popping up like these the next morning.  Really unbelievable!

I posted about this vegetable in the Chinese forum. We were given a big bag of this veg. and I had never seen it before. The Chinese call it "pig skin vegetable", or saan choi/malabar spinch. They looked SO good, but we were disappointed.

gallery_13838_3332_5432.jpg

We didn't care for the slimy texture and the pronounced earthy flavour, but the young shoots and leaves in your earlier post look much more appetizing.

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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I posted about this vegetable in the Chinese forum. We were given a big bag of this veg. and I had never seen it before. The Chinese call it "pig skin vegetable", or saan choi/malabar spinch. They looked SO good, but we were disappointed.

gallery_13838_3332_5432.jpg

We didn't care for the slimy texture and the pronounced earthy flavour, but the young shoots and leaves in your earlier post look much more appetizing.

Thanks, Dejah. Your comments coincide with those of the lady who gave us the seeds. She said she didn't like store-bought ones because they were bitter. Young shoots are really tasty. We can't get enough of them! They are slimy, but we like the slime! :biggrin::biggrin: We also like molokeyhia because it's slimy too. :wink:

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  • 3 weeks later...

Summer will soon be over, and I feel so sad about it.

This summer, we have had incredible amounts of tsuru murasaki and cherry tomatoes almost every day and also about this amount of mulukhiya every two or three days.

gallery_16375_5_3820.jpg

Closeup of cherry tomatoes, some of which were split because of the heavy rainfall the day before yesterday :sad:

gallery_16375_5_132000.jpg

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I'm interested in growing 蓼 【たで】tade does anyone have any information on this herb? The only form I have seen it in is 蓼酢 【たでず】tadezu which is a vinegar sauce flavored with tade that is used as a dipping sauce for grilled ayu. Here is Gernot Katzer's spice page for water pepper. I really like the flavor and would like to grow some in my window box but I'm not sure where to get a plant. I asked a few shops in the gardening district but they did'nt seem to have the seeds or a catalogue they could order them from.

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I'm interested in growing 蓼 【たで】tade does anyone have any information on this herb? The only form I have seen it in is 蓼酢 【たでず】tadezu which is a vinegar sauce flavored with tade that is used as a dipping sauce for grilled ayu. Here is Gernot Katzer's spice page for water pepper. I really like the flavor and would like to grow some in my window box but I'm not sure where to get a plant. I asked a few shops in the gardening district but they did'nt seem to have the seeds or a catalogue they could order them from.

Why don't you go to a river, swamp, and so on to find it? Any suggestions, Helen?

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Water pepper or Polygonum hydropiper is actually "yanagi-tade" in Japanese (there are an awful lot of plants called something-tade in Japanese). You may also find it as Persicaria hydropiper.

Beni-tade (red) and Ao-tade (green) are both forms of this plant (yanagi-tade).

Sapporo Nouen sells seeds for sprouting, including beni-tade. Sorry, I don't know anything about the company.

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Okra, harvested from my SFG boxes and planter box:

gallery_16375_5_64722.jpg

The lower four of them (smaller ones) were the ones that my daughter picked off voluntarily without me asking. I had planned to pick them off when they got bigger. I just had to say, "THANK YOU!!".

I usually boil them for a few minutes, finely cut and mix them with natto.

Worm-eaten komatsuna leaves:

gallery_16375_5_27754.jpg

My son doesn't care because he says "I made them!" He wanted to rinse them, and I let him do it. My daughter joined. I let them cut and put them in boiling water. Today's miso soup. :biggrin:

That's how shokuiku (food education) is practiced in my house.

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That komatsuna looks healthy and tasty! It's a vegetable that took me a lot of getting used to, but now I like it better than spinach.

I'm going to plant a few things on our verandah, where a yuugao has been growing (or trying to) all summer. First up will be komatsuna for use as seedlings (tsumami-na) and maybe carrots.

Later on, I'll plant peas (endou-mame, the type with vines and red/pink flowers) for spring use.

Things to plant roughly in October (depending on where you live.)

For late fall/early winter use: cabbage, carrot, turnips, negi, best time of year for spinach, also cold-tolerant greens such as komatsuna. Also komatsuna relatives (other types of mustard greens) such as mizuna, autumn poem. Even some types of lettuce are still OK to sow, and rocket does well in autumn.

Getting late but still OK? Daikon, chinese cabbage.

For spring use: strawberries, broad beans (sora-mame), peas. Onions (tamanegi). Also asparagus!

P.S. That Sapporo Nouen place I mentioned upthread carries quite a few western seeds, such as parsnip (very early spring planting). Takes a bit of finding, because it's listed under gobou...

P.P.S. Thompson Morgan in the UK will post seeds to Japan if you want to order things like beetroot :smile: for spring sowing.

Edited by helenjp (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...
Things to plant roughly in October (depending on where you live.)

For late fall/early winter use: cabbage, carrot, turnips, negi, best time of year for spinach, also cold-tolerant greens such as komatsuna. Also komatsuna relatives (other types of mustard greens) such as mizuna, autumn poem. Even some types of lettuce are still OK to sow, and rocket does well in autumn.

Thanks for the reminder, Helen.

We planted cabbage and broccoli seeds on August 1, but no lettuce seeds then because I thought it would be too early to do so. We finally planted them last week.

***

We did it!! Look at the maitake! Grown from logs (buried in soil) not from sawdust beds!

gallery_16375_5_117915.jpg

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Gosh, I had no idea that maitake logs were buried. I have never seen a photo of them growing - thank you!

By the way, has your mint flowered yet? :smile: I ...uh..."picked" a stem of something that looked a lot like Japanese hakka growing in a corner of the horticulture department, that just happened to have roots on it...it's flowering just like hakka, with little bobbles in between each leaf node, not in one big terminal spike. It's very strong in flavor - not so pleasant as ordinary mint, because it has such a high menthol content, it's just like biting a mothball. Certainly freshens the mouth!

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Gosh, I had no idea that maitake logs were buried. I have never seen a photo of them growing - thank you!

By the way, has your mint flowered yet? :smile: I ...uh..."picked" a stem of something that looked a lot like Japanese hakka growing in a corner of the horticulture department, that just happened to have roots on it...it's flowering just like hakka, with little bobbles in between each leaf node, not in one big terminal spike. It's very strong in flavor - not so pleasant as ordinary mint, because it has such a high menthol content, it's just like biting a mothball. Certainly freshens the mouth!

I was going to post about that!! WILL IT EVER FLOWER?? :angry::angry:

I've waited and waited, but now it has wilted!!

gallery_16375_5_135142.jpg

gallery_16375_5_16796.jpg

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Gosh, I had no idea that maitake logs were buried. I have never seen a photo of them growing - thank you!

I didn't, either.

Here are the manufacuturer's instrustions on how to grow maitake in Japanese.

http://www.rakuten.co.jp/drmori1/562055/487030/#539909

(Scroll up to view the instructions.)

Bury the logs completely, with soil 3-5 cm deep above their top.

And, here are their instructions on how to grow hiratake (oyster mushroom) in Japanese:

http://www.rakuten.co.jp/drmori1/562055/487031/#540974

(Again, scroll up.)

Don't bury the logs completely, but expose the top by 3-5 cm in height from the soil.

I don't know why.

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SFG update Sep. 22

SFG box 1: Cherry tomato, 4 squares; melokhia, 1; komatsuna, 1; lettuce, 3. Komatsuna and lettuce not visible yet.

gallery_16375_5_35574.jpg

SFG boxes 3, 4: Strawberry, 15 squares; cabbage 2; komatsuna 1.

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SFG box 2: Melokhia 1 square; komatsuna, 2; cherry tomato, 2; carrot, 1 (old), 3 (new). The planter box on the left contains broccoli.

gallery_16375_5_42025.jpg

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Eek - is that mint rust on your mint? If it is, I'm afraid you might have to destroy the plants. (I see insect damage too, and maybe the yellow spots are from the insects - if it is rust, you will see reddish or brown spots and marks on the back of the leaves eventually).

I think the soil in your planter is probably too light and too dry for the mint - it needs more organic material and more clay (akadama). It probably wants a nice soggy place near your garden tap, not too sunny. It might be best to throw it out and get a new piece of mint next year.

Meanwhile, my ?hakka? is doing well, but my green mint, yet again, has probably died - something ate it all, and I don't see any new buds!

I'm about to pull out some yuugao growing in a planter on our balcony, and plant some beans or peas for spring, along with some green vegetable. Photos later...

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Eek - is that mint rust on your mint? If it is, I'm afraid you might have to destroy the plants. (I see insect damage too, and maybe the yellow spots are from the insects - if it is rust, you will see reddish or brown spots and marks on the back of the leaves eventually).

I think the soil in your planter is probably too light and too dry for the mint - it needs more organic material and more clay (akadama). It probably wants a nice soggy place near your garden tap, not too sunny. It might be best to throw it out and get a new piece of  mint next year.

Meanwhile, my ?hakka? is doing well, but my green mint, yet again, has probably died - something ate it all, and I don't see any new buds!

I'm about to pull out some yuugao growing in a planter on our balcony, and plant some beans or peas for spring, along with some green vegetable. Photos later...

I'm not sure what 'mint rust' is, but I think I better follow your suggestions.

I'll ask some local people where I can find wild, real hakka. The problem is where I can find such people...

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Rice harvesting continues this week here in my rice-producing district in Niigata, but the rice plants in buckets that my son is growing are little late due to some difficulties that we have experienced (simply put, due to our lack of experience). Last night, my son asked me to put up a net to keep off birds. I thought about this and decided to use the gold-and-silver tape that I had bought previously to protect watermelons from birds instead of a net because I didn't want to spend money on a net.

Here is the result:

gallery_16375_5_56991.jpg

It's tough being the father of a boy who wants to do everything by himself (with a little help from his father).

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Helen, I did it. I found it! This is where I picked some mint plants. I thought that all of them were destroyed for construction.

gallery_16375_5_13443.jpg

But today, I found one plant flowering!

gallery_16375_5_63411.jpg

Could you identify this plant? The leaves have a distinctive, strong menthol smell.

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I think it's peppermint (m. piperita), but not hakka.

My guess :biggrin: is based on

- what look to be terminal flower spikes, but rounded rather than pointed.

- quite sharply pointed leaves, but not particularly narrow leaves.

- smooth rather than fuzzy leaves and stems

- red stems and leaf stalks!

M. piperita is descended from m. aquatica, and that's where it gets its sharp smell (rather than the warmer, sweeter smell of spearmint etc).

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Yes, do! Peppermint does grow wild in Japan (probably garden escapes), and of course in Japanese both peppermint and hakka are called "hakka", which doesn't help.

I have many plants in my garden which I have picked from the side of the road, only to see the original plants destroyed by new carparks, buildings or roads. I don't pick from people's gardens :shock: , but I've seen so many beautiful plants disappear that I am not embarrassed to pick from roadside plants any more.

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  • 3 weeks later...

That was a great harvest! Last time I grew them in our shady garden, we got lots of leaves, and only finger-thick satsuma-imo! :biggrin:

P.S. Did you know that you can make wreaths out of the vines? Make 2-3 loops of thicker vine, then twist thinner vines round and round, and leave them to dry - later on, you can add autumn, winter, or Christmas decorations.

Edited by helenjp (log)
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P.S. Did you know that you can make wreaths out of the vines? Make 2-3 loops of thicker vine, then twist thinner vines round and round, and leave them to dry - later on, you can add autumn, winter, or Christmas decorations.

No, I didn't. Thanks for the information! I'll ask my children if they want to make them.

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