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Vegetable Gardening in Japan


Hiroyuki
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I'm not sure if these questions of mine are worth a new thread, so I'm tacking them on here. There are several new things I'd particularly like to grow in my (small) garden over the next year, if I can find a source for them.

From seed:

chillies

fennel

From plants/seedlings

Bay leaves

tarragon

Additionally, I'd like to find a seed and plant seller that it is able to provide a good variety of things like tomato, chilli and aubergine seeds, as I'm interested in trying different types (for example, jabanero and jalapeno and other types of chilli). My local shops are very, shall we say, traditional, in what they stock. A lot of herbs are hard to find at all. So it looks as if online is the way to go. Any pointers to good suppliers would be very helpful, just a link to a Japanese website is all I'm after. Thanks to anyone who can help out on this.

And I think this has come up many times before, but is ordering seeds from suppliers abroad officially not permitted?

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  • 4 weeks later...

One of the vegetables that my son succeeded in growing this year: Bocchan kabocha (坊ちゃんかぼちゃ).

gallery_16375_4595_18443.jpg

(Photo taken on July 28)

We really liked this particular variety of kabocha because it's small, much smaller (about 500 g, a little over one pound) than other varieties and contains three to four times as much beta-carotene as others.

You can view some photos of bocchan kabocha here and here, with some explanations IN JAPANASE.

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  • 3 months later...

I would like to grow some heirloom tomatoes on my roof this year in containers. I am starting from seeds. Any tips from veteran gardeners? This is my first time to grow tomatoes. Are there any other vegetables that would be good in containers in Japan's climate?

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I would like to grow some heirloom tomatoes on my roof this year in containers. I am starting from seeds. Any tips from veteran gardeners? This is my first time to grow tomatoes. Are there any other vegetables that would be good in containers in Japan's climate?

I PM'd Helenjp this very same question this week, and she suggested we revive this topic. It's the season to think about gardening, I guess. Currently I'm trying to root a stem of cilantro in my windowsill, that's as far as I've gotten. I managed to pick up some soil and containers on the cheap in the Daiso Yokohama, but I have no idea where to find seeds. Anyone?

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Can't help much with tomatoes, sorry - since I have either morning OR afternoon sunlight, I decided to go with one or two grafted mini-tomatoes - smaller fruit ripen faster with less sunlight, grafted vine makes vigorous growth despite a small "footprint". This year I'm thinking of getting a "midi" variety.

Tomatoes would need to be sown after double-flowering cherry blossoms flower if you wanted to sow seed outdoors. But if you want to sow them with a plastic "hat" on a warm balcony, once the regular cherry blossoms come out, you could try. If you can sow them indoors and then pot them up ready to plant outside once the temps are in the mid-20s, I'd go ahead (she says irresponsibly!).

As a rule of thumb, watching local flowers is a useful guide to temperatures in your own locality:

*Really tropical plants may need temperatures around 30 degrees C to germinate.

*Tender summer vegetables and subtropicals should be sown in May, once the double cherry blossoms are over (over 20 degC), or started earlier indoors or with heat/protection.

*Most vegetables and herbs can be sown when the double cherry blossoms flower.

* Some slightly hardier ones can be sown once the regular single cherry blossoms are scattering (15-20deg.C.) - or you can start sowing now, despite lower germination rates, to get a succession.

* If you see bees on plum blossom, the temperature is probably over 12 deg.C, and although there is a risk of sudden cold snaps, you can try some of the hardier vegetables such as komatsuna, especially if you provide a hot-cap (plastic bag, upturned cutoff plastic bottle etc). Biggest danger this early in the season is dry soil and drying winds, so watch the soil moisture.

Seeds - I normally buy either at home centers or supermarkets, or sometimes flower-shops or, surprisingly, department-store hobby areas will have unusual seeds. Tokyu Hands has seeds, though I think not as many as they used to.

From the back of my gardening magazine, a list of online vendors, plus my favorite Sapporo Nouen (haven't used them though, strictly window-shopping :smile: ).

Sapporo Nouen, tomato page

British Seed, amazing array, Japan-based despite name.

Takii, major seed producer

Sakata seeds, another biggie

Fujita Seed, along with British Seed and Sapporo Nouen, a good place for the rare or exotic.

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Ohba,

Sorry for this belated response, just noticed your post of Nov.9 2007. As I cannot find a location for you, may I assume you are writing from Japan?

Question: Do countries permit seed to be imported from abroad?

Regulations vary and there are certain classes of "forbidden" seeds that vary by nation and require quarantine and/or accompanying phytosanitary certificate. However, the general rule is that small quantities of flower or vegetable seeds packed and sealed by reputable firms may be sent by mail if so declared on the accompanying invoice. In practice, this rule is observed mainly in the breach. hat is not always advisable because some diseases are extremely dangerous and can threaten entire industries: citrus canker can be seed-borne and smuggled plants of stone fruit have carried plum pox/Sharka virus into the USA.

While many viral diseases can be seed borne, in practical terms, tomato and pepper seed mailed for strictly amateur gardening purposes are relatively innocuous, although not necessarily a safe practice. The same seeds purchased from a reputed seed firm in the US [e.g. Tomato Growers Supply] and who then legally mail your order to Japan would be in keeping with international codes of conduct even if not necessarily much safer from a biological perspective.

Such a company would have all the different types of peppers, eggplants and tomatoes you are looking for and are known to be reliable providers of true-to-type material.

Question: Starting fennel and chillies from seed.

Fennel seed now available to you will germinate with varying degrees of success, depending on its source. Other types of fennel may be had from Moroccan and Indian shops [spice markets]. These too will germinate and give you a fennel harvest. Note that each plant can grow very large. Are we talking about the fennel that produces seed or the type that produces the thickened stem? If the latter, then you will need to find a seed seller who offers seed of this type. A great many US and Italian seed houses stock this. Franchi Sementi is a very fine Italian seed source, and they would have distributors in Japan.

Chillies from these same places will provide seeds that will also germinate, as will packets of Thai chillies purchased in Asian groceries. So will seeds from Mexican chiles. You will get at least a few plants, if you sow a fair number of seeds. With Japan's long growing season and latitude, maturity and flowering will not be a problem. Dry habaneros will give you habanero plants, but not chipotles, that are smoke & heat dried.

Question: bay and tarragon plants.

Bay leaf can be purchased as small cuttings from specialized herb nurseries in Japan. These same places probably will offer French tarragon plants, which will live for many/some years if kept in a dry, free-draining mix: plenty of coarse perlite in proportion to composted conifer bark, peat moss and coarse horticultural vermiculite. No soil, just some leaf compost, if possible, in the container, and away from heavy rain.

If you cannot find live plants, which would be very strange given Japan's advanced horticulture and love of French/Italian food, then there are specialized seed houses elsewhere that sell seeds of these two species. It is claimed that tarragon from seed is different from the "true" French variety in flavor, but you must be the judge of that.

But first, please do make a search for the plants. Please call your agricultural university or agricultural extension department or its Japanese equivalent for advice about how to locate these specialized herb nurseries.

P.S. If you are in the US and looking for Japanese & Korean seeds, then your choices are quite large.

Edited by v. gautam (log)
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Thanks to V. Gautam for that extremely helpful answer! Exactly what I needed. Yes, I'm in Japan, and in light of your comments, I'll try to get seeds locally as far as possible.

To the person asking about cilantro, seeds are very easy to find - they seem to be available almost anywhere that sells vegetable or herb seeds. They will be under the name "coriander" (in katakana). Once the full heat of summer arrives, you may find it doesn't grow well (i.e. dies), but worth trying anyway.

Growing tomatoes on rooftop: I'm no expert with tomatoes, but find them relatively easy to grow from seed, and have been able to get very flavourful tomatoes even when the plant looks like hell as a result of my careful blend of neglect and abuse. Three things you'll need to watch out for - if the roof surface is concrete or tile and in full sun, it will radiate a huge amount of heat into the container, so it may be better to ensure that air circulates beneath the pot rather than placing it directly onto concrete. Terracotta/clay pots look better than plastic but will dry out much faster. And too much rain will kill your plants - if the leaves stay wet for too long, they'll rot - so they'll need some protection.

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Herbs - now until Golden Week is the time to buy seedlings - after that they are extremely hard to find. Same is true for seeds, though not quite so extreme. I've only once seen tarragon plants for sale.

Bay plants however seem to be fairly easy to find.

Verandahs/rooftop and heat/direct sun: Ohba is so right! I think that's why those unsightly white polystyrene boxes you often see outside people's shops actually work pretty well. I put wooden "tiles" (of the sort that people sell for "flooring" their balconies) under pots, and either double-pot or put something along the edge of the balcony to keep direct sun off the actual pot or planter.

Ag./hort universities don't seem to have a service for the public as with North American universites, though if you ring one up, you may get a friendly crazy professor who likes to keep in touch with the public. JA (Noukyou) may be a better bet.

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Nakji

Re: cilantro, this is one species that would not produce roots by cuttings either in a jar of water or in a pot. It is an annual, and as Ohba mentions, not happy with heat.

You can sow any cilantro "seed": those that are packed to be sold as herbs, as well as those purchased whole from spice markets like Indian or Asian groceries.

Some points to remember:

Seeds purchased from spice markets come from various parts of the world, like Morocco or India. These types of coriander/cilantro have different responses to daylength, i.e. flower according to different schedules, depending on the latitude in which they evolved to their current form.

In Japan, this may not be a big issue until one starts moving into the 38-40N+ zones. Anyway, all that will happen is that you will find your seedlings quickly changing leaf form into finely dissected leaves and beginning to flower when they are very small, if you were using seed from your Asian grocery. So you just use these small plants, and plant more in succession. The Asian grocery is hugely less expensive than the seed vendors, who can be truly extortionate, feeding off public ignorance or couldn't-be-bothered attitudes. A tiny packet of 1-5 grams may cost $1.29-1.49 in the US as a seed packet in the Herb rack while that will buy you 0.5 lb of seed/whole coriander in the Indian grocery!! Each coriander "seed" is actually 2 seeds, so 2 potential plants per seed!

Coriander is sensitive not just to daylength [photoperiodism] but also to temperature [thermoperiodism]. Consequently, to supply certain markets, varieties have been bred in the US that are somewhat less affected by heat e.g. cultivars Santo and Caribe, sold by Stokes Seeds, Canada/USA and FEDCO/Maine , USA, among others [including suppliers from Japan, now you know the cv. names to ask for]. Note, however, that there are no perfect solutions, and flavor between ecotypes, and cultivars can vary.

How much cilantro you use is another issue: you may decide to set up 3-4 pots and sow staggered crops, 2-3 weeks apart, depending on your use rates. At home, you can nip with scissors the older leaves, leaving the younger ones to continue growing for a little while longer. If you are going to use roots for gaeng pastes, then you will need older plants with thick but not overmature roots.

Edited by v. gautam (log)
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I visited my parents, who live in Chiba, on March 28 through 30. My father likes to grow all kinds of vegetables and fruits. Let me show you just some of them.

Small vinyard in front of the house:

gallery_16375_5796_124561.jpg

He also has a bigger vinyard on a rented farm nearby.

He grows Kyoho (called the king of grapes in Japan), Stuben, Delaware, and "King Dela (short for Delaware?)".

Nabana (not sure of the English name)

gallery_16375_5796_44502.jpg

The leaves are slightly bitter, but are good as ohitashi (boiled).

Cherry tree:

gallery_16375_5796_115197.jpg

The great thing about this tree is that it bears fruit (around the end of May, if I remember correctly)!

My father also has an apricot tree, a peach tree, a shidare zakura (a type of cherry) tree, some ume trees, and some kaki (both ama (sweet) gaki and shibu (astringent) gaki) trees around the house.

Logs for growing shiitake mushrooms:

gallery_16375_5796_12969.jpg

He bought them from a neighbor, who owns land in the mountains.

On a rented farm, he harvests spinach:

gallery_16375_5796_103144.jpg

Wheat seedlings

gallery_16375_5796_12645.jpg

He currently grows negi, cabbage, strawberries (which he says he failed to grow properly this season), and many others. (I simply can't remember them all.)

Yuzu tree:

gallery_16375_5796_68225.jpg

On this rented farm, he also has some amanatsu (a type of citrus) trees, some other citrus trees (I forgot what they are), some chestnut trees, and other types of tree. Very impressive!

Because my father failed to grow his strawberries properly this season, he took us to a nearby strawberry farm

gallery_16375_5796_29448.jpg

where we had as many strawberries as we could for 1,300 yen per person within 30 minutes. The strawberries looked good, but actually, they were tasteless. We tried some strawberries, which weren't many, in my father's greenhouse later, and found them very fragrant and delicious.

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Re: cilantro, this is one species that would not produce roots by cuttings either in a jar of water or in a pot. It is an annual, and as Ohba mentions, not happy with heat.

Thank you for your detailed reply! I did, in fact, find that my cilantro did not root, despite pleasant surroundings and frequent water changes. When it wilted, I threw it in the bin. One of my coworker, however, is a keen gardener, and brought me in some plants split from her garden. I now have sturdy pots of lemongrass, dill, thyme, and oregano, and I would welcome any thoughts on keeping these plants happy. (I live in the greater Tokyo area) I'm still without cilantro, but my coworker assured me I'd be able to find seeds in major shops - if I could only find time to go shopping. I'll keep looking, and probably end up sowing some seeds if I'm lucky enough to find them. I can eat a lot of cilantro - I put it into some dishes I learned to make in Viet Nam, and into homemade salsas, but my favourite way to eat it is loosely chopped in an omelette with tomato and red onion. I don't usually make curry pastes from scratch, so I don't have a strong need for the roots. As I understand it, cilantro is not a popular herb in Japan, so it's hard to find a regular supply of it at the supermarket, and I haven't seen seedlings at all.

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Hi Nakji-san [ anyone going to Japan begins an apotheosis, hence the honorific, maybe -sama soon!],

I would hazard, unless you have a very sunny balcony [8 hours+] and even then, to consider an indoor growing situation. In the US, an ordinary shoplight with 2 ordinary fluorescent bulbs is quite sufficient. On sale, that should cost one about $(8+6). I don't know about electricity costs, but consumption is not too high, nor is heat output too large in a cold climate like the Northern Tier of the States. It is about a meter long, so space might be an issue in Japanese households. Other, smaller light fixtures could be employed. Please try to use them in conjunction with a south, east or west window, in that order, to supplement natural light as far as possible.

Since photosynthetic light effectiveness decreases as the square of the distance away from the artificial source, and because all the aromatics like rosemary and oregano will give of their best when grown on the dry side and stressed by both drought and light, you will need to think through how many pots you are going to end up with, their sizes, and how they will fit under that lighted space.

The middle will be the brightest, the ends a bit weaker. So your mediterraneans will go in the middle, your cilantros and mitsuba at the ends. If you are harvesting your meds often, they will need that light and any sun they get to replace the leaves. Light + water = food; water & air are nutrients too! So, the polluted air on balconies in certain parts of Tokyo will indeed have a deleterious effect on growth; therefore, indoor plantings will do much better.

[in Nature, the high light intensities, including UV initiate some damage and evoke a segment of the biochemical pathway responsible for all those wonderful aromatics: we hear the praises of Dalmatian sage and the thyme blossom honey from the slopes of Mt. Hymettus in Greece, but not from Devonshire!]

The plant tops will be but 2 or 3 inches away from the bulbs. Different species like oregano and rosemary may seem to occupy different heights, one a low scrambler, the other much taller. however, by training the rosemary and pruning, you can flatten out its shape, if that is not too much trouble. In any case, when it is young, it is still too small to worry about these problems, but you may like to think ahead. Or buy 2 or 3 rosemary plants, if you use a lot: I mean 4 inch pot sizes. You decide, I am not trying to micromanage your little herb patch from here!!

But do plan for your projected vision when thinking about a table or some support underneath them. Garbage bags or plastic sheeting to prevent water damage to other bits of furniture. Potting mix needs to be light: a proprietary mix, lightened perhaps by a bit more composted conifer bark, or a bit more perlite. You are going to be feeding them a starvation diet: compost tea, e.g. sterilized bagged manure, a few spoons placed in their containers and water applied. More fertilizers means lush growth and dilute tasting herbs.

Please do NOT let me scare you away by making this venture & shopping list seem impossible and difficult. It is NOT. Just break it up into small chunks and accomplish one thematic part at a time: electrical matters one weekend, soil matters another, pots & plants the third and so on. However, please do not get waylaid by any gadgetry that promises marvellous results for an extortionate price: aeroponics and the like. This sort of stuff is bad enough in the US, and with the Japanese fondness for high tech, I can imagine how much worse it might be there.

Please trust me here. This is my profession, I have been at this since 1984, and have been present at the birth of aeroponics and very advanced hydroponic systems. Don't waste your money when $10-15 will work splendidly and the expensive systems probably will not!

P.S. for Hiroyuki-san: re: strawberries in your own squares: if you do not have some Tochiotome, then, please consider getting a few plants this spring. The reason for the tasteless strawberries lies in the clean culture: hydroponics!! versus your honored father's carefully nurtured soil !

P.P.S. If beseeched most humbly, any chance of that plant-mad gentleman adopting me? Shall bring many, many grape, pear, apple and other varieties!!

Edited by v. gautam (log)
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P.S. for Hiroyuki-san: re: strawberries in your own squares: if you do not have some Tochiotome, then, please consider getting a few plants this spring. The reason for the tasteless strawberries lies in the clean culture: hydroponics!! versus your honored father's carefully nurtured soil !

P.P.S. If beseeched most humbly, any chance of that plant-mad gentleman adopting me? Shall bring many, many grape, pear, apple and other varieties!!

We bought several Ak-ihime plants three years ago. I wonder if Tochiotome, developed in Tochigi prefecture, is suited to the climate here. If I had to buy some this year, I would buy Echigo-hime. Here is some info on this variety:

Echigo-hime strawberries are known for their fresh fragrance and sweetness. The term Echigo-hime means "beautiful princess of Niigata." These purely local strawberries were created over a six-year period at the prefecture's horticultural research center. These strawberries have a long growing period through the winter season, when temperatures are low and the daylight is brief. In these harsh conditions, the strawberries ripen fully and develop their wonderful sweetness.

My father is interested in hydroponics. There is a large-scale hydroponics farm not far from his house, which looks much like a high-tech plant. It's his age (80 this year) that holds him back. He says that if he were ten years younger, he would definitely try hydroponics.

As for your adoption :biggrin: , let me say that neither my brother nor I have no intention to follow in his footsteps, and he still places hopes on my son, who is a mushroom maniac.

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I now have sturdy pots of lemongrass, dill, thyme, and oregano, and I would welcome any thoughts on keeping these plants happy. (I live in the greater Tokyo area) I'm still without cilantro, but my coworker assured me I'd be able to find seeds in major shops - if I could only find time to go shopping.

Lemongrass: to get enough to use effectively, I think you'd need quite a bit of space. I'm not sure if a pot would yield much. When I grew it in Hong Kong (in the ground) it got large very quickly. The good thing is, it's low maintenance. I had less success with it in Japan, probably because of the lower temperatures, but it did grow reasonably well in summer. If you need more plants, if you can get hold of lemongrass fresh from a Thai shop, you can get it to root in about two days just by standing it in a glass of water, and it's very easy to plant on from there (obviously not in midwinter though).

I think if you look in Tokyu Hands, you'll should be able to find coriander seeds. They sell quite a few herbs there, both the seedlings and the seeds. Shibuya is probably the better branch to try. If you plan on using cilantro a lot in cooking, you're going to need more than one packet, because you'll have to sow quite regularly.

Thyme is easy to keep happy, another low maintenance plant. It will die back in winter (it may look as if it's actually dead), but will return in spring - mine's just made a very welcome reappearance this week. Dill is easy to grow, but requires a little more care than thyme. You'll have to make sure it gets enough water and not too much direct sunlight. Don't worry about it unduly, you'll soon see if dill isn't happy.

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Dear Hiroyuki,

Re: strawberries, below is the contact for the most active strawberry breeding program in Japan that I know of. Perhaps you will find the best information, even some sample plants, from Dr. Igarashi.

One thing you need to clarify in your expectations, is that most strawberries presently sold in Japanese stores are 1) forcing varieties 2) day neutrals 3) subjected to artificial chilling to produce early crops 4) more or less bred for the greenhouse in mind 5) bred for the Japanese consumer's presumed preference for very high sugar:14%, and a certain soft texture. This level predisposes the fruit, when grown outside to extremely high disease incidence. Consider that the next highest sugar level, created by the Dutch consciously to enter the Japanese market is only about 8%!

Akihime is certainly well-known for both its high Brix and softness! It is not necessarily a good outdoor subject, nor is Nyoho! The same might be said of another famous and exceptionally important European hothouse strawberrry of the past decades and century, Jucunda.

Tochiotome does slightly better in this regard. The naming of the strawberry has little to do with its hardiness or suitability for field cultivation under Tochigi conditions. However, you are correct to be cautious in thinking about cold-hardiness and general garden worthiness in Shiozawa. In general, these day neutrals, unless they have a particular tender bloodline, might be expected to survive your Shiozawa winters that do not fall much below -20 C, but your caution is not unfounded. Still, it is a great cultivar in the Japanese style of the supermarket berry.

Getting away from that style, you may want to see what Japan used to grow before greenhouses were affordable for everyone: these are the field cultivars, excellent, because one has the Alpine blood and may be quite aromatic when well grown. Not all that sweet, though, which will come as a shock to moderns!

Finally, some choice and very hardy cultivars, especially the US and sweden. As an experiment, I put the supposedly Mara de Bois in a 5 gallon plastic pot outdoors and it has survived -11F and total freezing just fine as I look out and have been checking for the past several days. Pots are much worse than the Mother Earth; there is no reverse flow of heat from her breast up into the atmosphere, an important component for survival. So, the reputedly tender M de B has done just fine in an icebox. Whether it is budhardy, is another matter, which we shall see.

Strawberry Breeder & Expert

Isamu Igarashi

Morioka Branch of National Research

Inst of Veg, Ornam, Tea

92 Nabeyashiki Simokuriyagawa

Morioka, Iwate

Japan

Phone: 0196-41-2031

Fax: 81-196416315

Forcing or Greenhouse cultivars

Tochiotome:

Vigorous and produces runners well. The leaves are large and dark green. The degree of dormancy is similar to 'Nyoho', the most popular cultivar for forcing culture. The number of lfowers per inflorescence is 15 on the average. The yield is higher than 'Nyoho'. Fruits are as large as 15 grams, conical, and have very shining scarlet color, so they look very good. They have firm peel and flesh so the keeping quality is high. They are very sweet , weakly acid, and very juicy, so the taste is excellent. The resistance to anthracnose and powdery mildew is similar to 'Nyoho'.

Pedigree: Kurume 49 (Toyonoka x Nyoho) x Tochinomine (Kei 511(Florida 69-266 x Reiko) x Nyoho)

Hokowase:

Fruits are small, soft, sweet, non- acid. The degree of dormancy is deeper than 'Nyoho'. The most popular cultivar for forcing culture. The number of flowers per inflorescence is 15 on the average. The yield is higher than 'Nyoho'. Fruits are large as 15 grams, conical, and have very shining scarlet color, so they look very good. They have firm peel and flesh so the keeping quality is high. They very sweet, weakly acidity, and very juicy, so the taste is excellent. Their resistance to anthracnose and powdery mildew is similar to 'Nyoho'.

Pedigree: Kogyoku(Fairfax self seedling) x Tahoe

Hyogo Experiment Station

Kobe, Hyogo

Japan

Nagoya-oomi.

Cultivar name: Tonami-zairai-shikinari.

FIELD CULTIVARS

Kagayaki.: brilliant appearance, old cultivar for field culture

Fujisaki 068 . Comment: Hanaoka Tamotsu cultivar release introduced in 1950 (

processing variety for northern cooler Japan; but Alpine type, aromatic? - George M. Darrow. 1966. The Strawberry. p. 305.

Some Non-Japanese cultivars worth inquiring about:

1. Mara de Bois [CIREF, France]; also, Cijosee, Cirafine.

2. Earliglow [uSA, June-bearing]

3. Fort Laramie & Ogallala [uSA, day neutral]

4. Snowvit [sweden]

Edited by v. gautam (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...

In Philly, probably not; will root kill during winter. But try and see, experimentation is science! Even elsewhere, the flowering stem will set seed and die down. Very weak tiny, straggly offshoots may persist at the crown [junction between root and stem] in very mild winter areas. Don't know if these are worth anything or will actually survive. It is grown as an annual in the Himalayas, Korea, Japan , in locations having climates with relatively mild winters compared to the northern tier of the USA, zones 6 or lower.

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  • 3 months later...
I visited my parents, who live in Chiba, on March 28 through 30.  My father likes to grow all kinds of vegetables and fruits.  Let me show you just some of them.

Small vinyard in front of the house:

gallery_16375_5796_124561.jpg

He also has a bigger vinyard on a rented farm nearby.

He grows Kyoho (called the king of grapes in Japan), Stuben, Delaware, and "King Dela (short for Delaware?)".

This is what this vinyard looked like on August 14, when my children and I visited my parents in Chiba:

gallery_16375_5796_22935.jpg

Kyoho.

Here are photos of the other vinyard:

gallery_16375_5796_92165.jpg

King delaware.

gallery_16375_5796_95365.jpg

Kyoho.

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Perilla is an annual, and don't those grapes look good!

I'm wondering if the rather wet summer plus sudden burst of heat is going to give us a good grape season this year...was your father pleased with his Kyoho, Hiroyuki?

Yes, he is pleased, but I remember he talked about dry weather. He said they hadn't had rain for weeks.

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  • 4 weeks later...

A miracle has happened! A lady said I could use this farmland of hers free of charge. After weeks of pondering, I accepted her offer.

gallery_16375_5796_55432.jpg

The farmland is in the middle of the photo, and measures approximately 4 x 5.5 m, or 22 m^2.

Today, I went to a home improvement center to buy some of the items I needed.

One of the items was these six bags of bark compost.

gallery_16375_5796_103748.jpg

More info to come as it becomes available!

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This is going to be sooooooo cool!  I can't believe you had to ponder for weeks about it!

Are you going to give your son his own little corner to grow whatever he wants, or will the two of you tend to everything together?

Any particular plans for what to grow, yet?

I still have a lot of work to do around the house, and I know I can't expect any assistance in vegetable gardening from my wife in the near future.

When I first told my son about that offer, he wasn't very much interested. He said that the small space around the house was enough for him. When I finally decided to accept that offer and started working on the farmland, he said he was willing to help.

My son and I talked about what to grow, and decided on daikon, carrot, broccoli, spinatch, and komatsuna (a type of green).

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