Vegetables of the month

Unarguably, three of the vegetables I harvested in my small garden in April have given me immense pleasure – radish, fava beans (broad beans), and potherb mustard – and  I select them as the vegetables of the month. For March, I have selected green peas (planted green peas in autumn last year and harvested this year). The taste of the green peas was just out of this world. I planted radish and fava beans last year; so I learnt from the errors I made last year! Pot herb mustard (called “mizuna” in Japan) was a first for me this year.

Radish - just picked

Radish – just picked and ready for breakfast


Radish - ready to eat

This year I made it a point to lightly dig around the radish plants and to cover the root completely with earth so as not to expose it at any time. This helped to maintain the shape and the size of the vegetable. The entire period from the planting of seeds to the harvest was 40 days! Radish will be a permanent feature of my garden. The taste of the raw radish is “zimbly zuperb” as some of my countrymen in a certain southern state in India would say.

Next, I harvested the pot herb mustard likewise in just about a month’s time, although I did not start it with seeds. It makes a great salad together with radish and lettuce, especially with a dash of lemon and olive oil as dressing.


Pot herb mustard  

Pot herb mustard – quick harvest!

The fava beans (broad beans) are called “sora mame” (literally “sky beans) in Japan. The beans on the plant point to the sky; when they stop pointing and drop down, they are ready for harvest. After  I picked the fava beans from my planter, boiled them for about two minutes and peeled the skin, I was astonished. The ones sold in the market tend to be large, hard and you usually eat them with salt after boiling them. The ones I picked from planter were tender, soft and sweet. I wish had grown fava beans in six planters instead of two in autumn. I planted these in summer last year and had a tough time with pests that ate them up voraciously. I found planting them in autumn and harvesting them in spring is the way to go!

Fava beans


Fava bean – looking down, ready for harvest?


The flowers just about to bloom or already blooming this month are:

Reeves Spiraea

The resplendent Reeves Spiraea (Japanese name Kodemari)


Gymnaster savatieri

The Gymnaster savatieri (Japanese name Miyako wasure) in a verdant background



Elegant and erect clover



The bright and colorful Abutilon



Cluster of white flowers – Lantana


Have a great day!

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18 Responses to “Vegetables of the month”

  1. April 25, 2009 at 1:49 am

    Abutilon flowers are looking down, drooping….. whereas other flowers are looking up, facing the sky…. wonder why.. Beautiful Blog… cheers! ~ bangchik

    • April 25, 2009 at 3:29 am

      Yes, the wonderful thing about this particular plant is that flowers bloom practically throughout the year except when it is very cold. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. April 25, 2009 at 2:17 am

    WOW! Those Radishes are huge and pretty! I don’t grow them, but your post makes me think I should. I’ve seen a lot about fava beans on gardening sites from the UK, but since they aren’t popular in the US I was at a loss for how to prepare them, very helpful information. How cold are the winters in your area. I’m wondering if i could plant cool season crops in the autumn. It gets 20F or -6C in the winter. Do you think that’s too cold?

  3. April 25, 2009 at 3:21 am

    Great radishes! mine are never half as big. Thank you for sharing your blog with me. I have added to you to my list of blogs from around the world on the Seven Oaks list of friends far & near. Good luck with your garden!

    • April 25, 2009 at 5:10 am

      Thanks so much for adding my blog to your list of blogs, Jeanne. And thanks also for stopping by. Happy gardening! I look forward to reading your posts too.

  4. April 25, 2009 at 3:34 am

    Hi Lzyjo, yes, they grow quickly from seed to harvest, are easy to grow, and make wonderful salad! After harvesting all of them, I’m going to grow some more in whatever little space I have. Regarding fava beans, I’m in hardiness zone 9 so it is much warmer than your -6C. It goes to 0C just about two days in winter. I suggest that you plant fava beans in planters and move them indoors when it gets too cold, or grow them from April and harvest them around August, in which case you need to grow them under a tunnel to keep pests out.

  5. April 25, 2009 at 4:11 am

    Beautiful plants and photographs! Lovely sharing. Neat and elegant garden too.

  6. April 25, 2009 at 5:12 am

    Thanks, Rachel for your comments and for stopping by. I hope to read your blog henceforth too. All the best with your garden.

  7. April 27, 2009 at 4:48 am

    Amazing garden in such a small space! It gives me real inspiration since I have limited space too. How do you prepare the beds? Do you use the mix recommended by the book Square Foot gardening or your own blend? — Jackie

    • April 27, 2009 at 6:09 am

      Two weeks before planting, I dig up and loosen the earth, then mix lime to reduce the acidity (Japanese soil is generally acidic). Just before sowing seeds, I mix the soil with leaf mold, compost and add organic fertilizer. So basically I prepare my own mix. However, I have been using the same plot for about 5 years now, so I suppose the soil has gotten better and better. I’m not an expert gardener though, and mostly work by trial and error. The square-foot garden too is my own version – I preferred not to fix dividers; just drew squares on the soil and planted. I do wish that I had the space that people in other countries have 😦

  8. April 27, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    I also picked the first Radishes the other day. A summer without Radishes is no summer in Sweden =) Easy to grow yo only have to make sure they don’t get dry – that spoiles the taste. Have a nice day

  9. April 29, 2009 at 1:39 am

    Hello! I am a member of Blotanical. Hence found your blog from there.

    The radish look so beautiful. I have not seen it before. It is so wonderful to garden especially when the harvest is as good as this one. I wish I have a land to do some real gardening like you.

    Happy Gardening!

    • April 29, 2009 at 3:12 am

      Hello Stephanie, thanks for visiting my blog and commenting on it. I have very little space – remember I’m in Japan! I grow about 10 different varieties of vegetables in a 3 m x 3 m square space approximately. You can also grow radishes in a large planter – it takes only about one month from the time you plant the seed to the harvest! That is why I love growing radishes. Makes up a good salad too! Do try to grow this vegetable. Cheers.

  10. April 29, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    Your radishes are so much prettier than mine were! 🙂

    I just planted some German Giants a week or so ago. I can’t wait to see how they come up!

    • April 29, 2009 at 3:49 pm

      I’m sure your cucumbers are much better than will be when they mature 🙂
      I’ll have a look at your German Giants when they are ready.
      Thanks, Kara for stopping by.

  11. 17 Vincent Peterson
    August 31, 2012 at 10:03 am

    Hello. Your garden is so inspiring! I am a newbie to your blog and am very happy I stumbled upon it. I am just curious about your curry leaf cutting and rooting. Can you please explain the full process of the rooting process for the curry leaf cutting? For example, what type of soil do you use (or is it compost)…how long do you cover the plant with a bag (if at all). Can you leave it in a container of water (I have done that previously with another plant/herb and it rooted quite well)? I have been offered some curry leaf cuttings from our Indian neighbors and my wife and I would love to grow our own curry leaf plant. My neighbors have a wonderful green thumb and an incredible garden. I will be sure to send them this link as well. =) Cheers.

    Respectfully yours, Vincent

    • October 1, 2012 at 4:36 am

      Vincent, I’m so sorry I couldn’t reply earlier. I must say that certain plants are good in their own habitat and grow well there. For instance, you just pop a curry leaf cutting in the ground in Bangalore, south India and forget all about it; in a few months you’ll have a small tree. I took a cutting to Japan and had a real trying time taking it indoors when it was cold, taking it out when it was warm and so on. Of the 10 or so cuttings only one survived in Japan, and that too died after a month or so. I used regular soil available in the nursery and covered the cuttings with a transparent plastic cover for humidity. Poured water in a dish on which I kept the planter. Yet the success rate was very low. I suggest that if you are staying in a cold climate, get a full grown curry leaf tree and move it within the house in cold weather. I was not very successful growing plants from cuttings in Japan; maybe I am not knowledgeable enough. Best of luck.

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