Violas and chopsticks

A pair of chopsticks is my indispensable gardening tool. I am never without it when I step into my little garden.


Please pull me up – I’d like to be as tall as my sisters and see the view”

I can almost hear the little viola say these words to me when I approach the planter. I bring out my chopsticks and gently pull up the little viola. I can hear the little sigh of happiness from the viola.



Violas standing erect and overlooking the garden

I use chopsticks to:

Pull out weeds

Pull out unwanted weeds


Create a hole and plant a small seedling


Take away dried leaves and other unwanted object from pots


And perform a host of other jobs, such as inserting a chopstick through the hole at the bottom of a polyester pot to work loose a new plant for transplanting, remove pests such as green worms from cabbage leaves, pick up small seeds and sow them, mark lines on the soil and even use them as props for small seedlings! The disposable chopsticks are an indispensable weapon in my armory of garden tools.

I was also delighted to see my first flower of the potato plant! 



Flower of the potato plant

I planted the clover seeds in autumn last year after reading that they improve the soil on which they are grown.


Clover – an ethereal quality

They possess an ethereal quality and I love their elegance. I’m not sure how to make best of these after the flowering season is over. Do I allow them to dry out in place and bury them?



 Peach tree – is that a fruit?

The peach tree that I planted last autumn flowered and I was surprised to find a fruit too! Does such a small plant yield fruits? It is less than a meter in height from the ground.



Geraniums – white and red

In the meanwhile, the small bed that I made especially for geraniums at the corner of the house has burst out in red and white!

Y, T and T

Yesterday, today and tomorrow

I was delighted to find the first bloom of the fragrant flower with the cryptic name Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow in my planter on the balcony. The flower is now purple, but over time it is likely to turn white.




The first blueberries up for grabs! Looks like this time I’m going to have some blueberries. I planted six of these last year – three belonging to the Hi Bush variety and three to the Rabbit Eye variety.  And yes, that is the price tag. The Hi Bush is the most expensive plant in my garden.




The carrot plants seem to be doing fine – although I have no idea how to know when to harvest the carrots. This is the first time I have sowed carrots and that too from seeds purchased in India in February this year. The primrose (pink) plant next to the carrots are dwarfed by the pot marigold plants. I have decided to move the primroses to a different location.

Finally here’s the latest view of my veggie patch.


Veggie patch

Veggie patch as in the first week of May

After harvesting the komatsuna in the foreground, I have planted four Okra plants. I also planted a colorful dahlia at the corner. The empty space in the middle row will soon be occupied by a different vegetable species – this is where I harvested the small red radishes.

And to end this post, here’s the colorful Dahlia!



Happy gardening!

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31 Responses to “Violas and chopsticks”

  1. May 4, 2009 at 10:55 am

    Congratulations on your veggie garden. Everything is looking splendid. I enjoyed reading all the different ways chopsticks can be used in the garden. Good tips!

  2. May 5, 2009 at 11:46 am

    Great chopstick tips! Your garden looks great!

  3. May 5, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    The flowers are beautiful! What a great use of chop sticks! –Jackie

  4. May 6, 2009 at 3:18 am

    Hi Gururaj, I love the chopstick trick! I took the opportunity to try it out when I was repotting yesterday, it worked great to tamp down the soil. They will become part of my gardening arsenal! BTW, your garden is looking great! It’s so neat! The brassicas look fantastic!

    • May 6, 2009 at 4:09 pm

      Thanks, Lzyjo, for your kind comments. I guess you should be getting lots of disposable chopsticks with take-outs of Chinese and Japanese foods. You could even use them as props/stays for small plants.

  5. 9 greenwalks
    May 6, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    Hey, I was just using a stick for a lot of those same purposes but disposable chopsticks would work so much better, thanks for the great idea!! And then they can be tossed in the compost and be recycled eventually. Love your veggie patch, interesting use of brick pavers as pathways (?) and outlining the beds. I think my mom has that same dahlia, it always looks so cheerful!

    • May 6, 2009 at 6:00 pm

      Chopsticks should help you in handling worms! Yes, I thought of wood for walkways but then I would have to coat it with rot-proofing agents and I was averse to using chemicals. Bricks would be relatively unaffected by rain or soil. By the way, does your compost box have an opening at the bottom so that you can cycle the compost (bottom to top) occasionally?

  6. May 7, 2009 at 3:00 am

    Lovely garden. And chopsticks…I’ve used spoons, but never though of chopsticks! Amazing.

  7. May 7, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    Hi Gururaj, I have just found your blog and enjoy reading it very much. It is very rare to find a blog of gardening in Japan written in English. And yours have some very interesting content too 🙂 Thanks for sharing and I will come back to visit your blog often.

    btw, I use chopsticks when I work with my plants too. I am a Chinese you see, so it’s kinda instinctive haha 🙂 Cheers!

    • May 8, 2009 at 11:46 am

      Hi Sandy, thanks for your comments. I love your tabletop gardens and will visit your site often, so I have added your blog to my blogroll. Unlike those of us who have some outdoor space for gardening, you are constrained; which is why you have the innovative spirit! Look forward to reading your blog.

  8. May 8, 2009 at 8:08 am

    I had always thought that chopsticks made more sense for eating as they act like extended fingers – but until now, I never saw the sense of taking those fingers into the garden!

    I enjoyed the tour of your garden, and having dealt with enough rotting wood in my time I think your choice of brick walkway was sound.

    About your little peach tree: I hate to say this, but it can overstress the tree if they bear fruit too early; it kind of stunts their growth. So you should probably take off fruit until your tree is a little older. Maybe a peach tree expert would know when that time is.

    • May 8, 2009 at 11:58 am

      Thanks so much for your comments and your insight. I was wondering whether to take those fruits off when nature solved the problem for me. When I woke up the next morning to do my usual rounds of the garden, all the small fruits and flowers had fallen off! Isn’t nature wonderful? So I guess your instincts are right on spot! I look forward to reading about tulips – would especially like to have your recommendations for fragrant tulips. Have added you to my blogroll. Happy gardening!

  9. May 10, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    What beautiful gardens you have. I like all the uses for chopsticks. I looked at your toad lily pictures and they are beautiful. Mine never have even gotten close to that. I guess I’ll just enjoy yours!

  10. May 10, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    Hi Gururajr,
    Posted some px I just took of my yesterday today and tomorrow. Don’t think it would fit on a patio, but then it is quite old and I have let it get really big (it takes pruning well).

    Your chopstick tips are great. I should use them more in the garden so I will be more adept in restaurants. We have really great Asian food here in LA.

  11. May 13, 2009 at 1:22 am

    Thanks, now I know what to do with our chopsticks.

  12. May 13, 2009 at 9:30 am

    Your Dahlia is easily the most remarkable plant there – in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one quite like it. Fascinating!

  13. May 19, 2009 at 1:47 am

    I love your white violas – I have never seen that colour before. And what a great use for chopsticks! I may have to give it a try! 🙂

    • May 19, 2009 at 3:19 am

      Yes, please do. You can find all kinds of uses for it. Keeps your hands clean too! Nobody in my house throws away chopsticks. They all give chopsticks to me and I use them all over the garden. 🙂

  14. May 19, 2009 at 4:46 am

    Chopsticks! Who would have thought! I’ll think of you next time I am weeding the beds! Love your clover. Best of luck with your blueberries too. We get gallons of fruit from our bushes! They freeze really well so we can enjoy them all year long!

    • May 19, 2009 at 6:45 am

      Thanks for stopping by, beegirl! This is the first year of the blueberry plants – somehow, growth seems to have stopped. I’m wondering whether I should add some fertilizer or let nature take its own course.

  15. May 19, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    I thought we used chopsticks for everything around here. Now I am going to use them on slugs! Thank you for the great idea. When I know you a little better, I will tell you the most creative way I ever saw chopsticks used. It was in New York City.

    You might try coffee grounds on your blueberry plants. Ours seem to love them.

    Love your blog! June

    • May 19, 2009 at 1:35 pm

      OK. Eagerly anticipating your wisdom on applications of chopsticks. 🙂
      Coincidentally, I started saving coffee grounds and tea leaves since last week and your advice has come at the most opportune moment! Thanks. I’ll try it on the blueberry plants. Happy gardening!

  16. June 9, 2009 at 10:13 am

    I had to laugh when you calculated the distance the caterpillar would crawl – my husband is an engineer and it sounds exactly something he would do. 🙂 Looks great!

  17. June 11, 2009 at 6:12 am

    Wanted to let you know I just posted about how you inspired us to use chopsticks in our Maine garden. And I included another favorite chopsticks anecdote. Enjoy your blog so much!

    • June 11, 2009 at 10:16 am

      Hi June, its great to see you make good use of chopsticks. Enjoyed reading your blog too. Have added you to my blogroll. Happy gardening! Have fun with chopsticks and no slugs.

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