Archive for June, 2008


June 21 update

Today it rained throughout. But before it did, I got hold of my first green peppers from my veggie patch and fried them in butter together with some mushrooms (called “shitake” here in Japan) after sprinkling some sea salt and fresh ground pepper. The green peppers were unbelievably delicious! Take a look at the photo below.

Green pepper (Edit

The cucumber plants have grown rapidly – fresh green leaves and climbing straight and tall on the nets. I’m sure to enjoy cucumber this season! Here’s today’s photo of the cucumber plants.

3 cucumber plants growing fast!

I received a single zucchini plant from a friend and planted it too for the first time. I found large yellow flowers coming up quite quickly and dropping off quite quickly too and no sign of any zucchini. I wonder whether a single plant will ever yield zucchinis! I need to read up. Here is a snap of the same.


Finally, I couldn’t resist these pretty flowers in full bloom in my garden. Here they are!

And until the next post – have a great weekend!




Mid-June update on vegetable patch

I am pleased to report excellent growth of the tomato plants. On the other hand, the Okura plants (second row from the front) are a bit of a worry; they have not been growing as well as I expected. I possibly need to change the organic fertilizer.

Here is a photo showing the overall view of the main veggie patch. Compare with the photo in the previous post. The plants growing adjacent to the wall have shown generally satisfactory growth. Today, I removed weeds and added organic fertilizer to all the plants. This will likely spur the growth. Also removed the new side-growth of branches in tomato plants so that growth is directed vertically.

Main patch - June 16

I laid newspapers all around to prevent growth of weeds adjacent to the stone fencing. Also made holes in a plastic sheet and laid it from the top of the two strawberry plants so that the fruits don’t touch the soil. The experimental strawberry plants are a success – I hope to grow rows of them next year and plant them earlier — some time in February rather than in April.

The green peppers (shishito) have already started appearing. Within a week I hope to harvest the first of the green peppers. I have found that they taste great when you fry them lightly in butter, together with salt and pepper. Here is the first green pepper of the season.

Green pepper - shishito June 16

The horse beans have also started appearing after initially being taken over by insects. The bean points skyward and hence it is named “soramame” in Japanese (sora meaning sky, mame meaning bean). I intend to plant this earlier and use the organic pest killer at when the plants are small. Since this was the first time I planted horse beans, a very good learning experience for me.

Horse bean - soramame - June 16

I’m very pleased with the growth of the tomato plants (mini-tomato). They have shot up straight and tall within a fortnight and the first tomatoes are already visible. I hope to have a good harvest this year. Since the branches should get entangled with the netting, the tomato plants do not need additional stake supports. Here is a photo of the tomato plants.

Mini-tomato June 16

The eggplants by the side of the wall are doing well too. I need to find a way to keep of small black insects that make small holes in the leaves. I did spray an organic fluid, but it did not prove to be very effective.

Eggplant - June 16

Generally, pleased with the progress of the patch, though disappointed with the growth of the Okura. More next week.

Happy gardening and have a great day!


All plants in place for the summer!

I have finally planted all the veggies I wanted to in my garden patch. Here’s a photo showing all the plants in place in my small patch.

Veggie patch with all plants in place

The first row has nearest to the viewer has two strawberry plants (on the left hand side) that I planted for the first time to see how they would shape up. Although planted quite late (in April), they are now bearing fruit. The plant on the extreme left has several fruits in a bunch (about 5 to 6) that should ripen in about 10 days. The next three on the right hand side in the same row are eggplants.



The second row above the row just described contains four Okura plants. This time I used the slender variety called the Okinawa variety of Okura. Last year I did not have much success with the thicker variety. Let’s see how these turn out.

Okura - second row

The third row contains 4 green pepper plants (called shishito in Japanese). I have always had success with these; the only exception was last year when some of them turned out to be extremely hot – they were green chillies rather than sweet green pepper!

Green peper - shishito

I planted horse beans (called sora mame in Japanese) about a month ago. At first they were taken over by small green insects that did not allow the flowers to grow. After using an organic pest repellant, I finally got rid of the insects and the plants have started growing afresh! The first horse beans are already on the stems pointing toward the sky (sora – sky; mame – beans). You can see the horse beans just beyond the green pepper in the photo above.

Also planted plants that will yield large tomatoes in my second patch along the wall. Here is a photo showing the same.

Large tomato plants

More on the progress of these veggies in the next post!

Have a great day!


New plants in the Veggie Patch

Today, the sun shone brightly after two days of rain. The ground was soft and was easy to dig and prepare the soil. Here’s a photo of the site dug to a depth of about 0.6 m after de-weeding and removing stones. This site is right under the window. I prepared to accept plants that would grow creep upward on nets.

I have already strung the nets above the window (see other photos) so that they drop down in front of the plants at a slant angle. I added organic fertilizer (two varieties) and neem, mixed them with the soil and filled up the hole.

Patch along wallThe neem is supposed to keep away pests; it is a natural substance and does no harm to the plants. Neem is also an important component of the modern-day toothpaste, I believe. It keeps teeth healthy.

To get rid of weeds growing around the plants, I decided to lay newspapers lengthwise along the dugout. The idea is that weeds under the newspapers are likely to die because of lack of sunlight. Let me see how this works.

Soil prepared and ready for receiving plants

Next, here is a photo showing the dug-out part filled up after mixing soil, fertiilizers and neem. I laid newspapers all all along to prevent weeds from growing.

The next photo shows cucumber, mini-tomato, bitter gourd and zucchini planted in the prepared soil, and the nets in place.

Plants laid in the soil and nets in placeThere’s still place for a few more tomato plants at the end of the row. Photos in the next post.

Have a great day!


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June 2008