Archive for January 26th, 2010


Winter update and further experiments with seeds

Readers might be wondering what has happened to my veggie patch – the last few posts I have focused on hikes and seed experimentation. My small veggie patch is doing as well as it can with the limited sunlight it gets. Here’s what it looks like:


I have laid out the traditional Japanese “wara” (straw) between the onion seedlings to protect them against frost, and a tunnel over cabbages and fava beans. Because of the poor sunlight in winter, growth is rather slow. I have plans to rent additional space to grow vegetables and flowers and am likely to grow busier outdoors from spring onward.

I did consider using reflecting material to redirect sunlight on the windows of the upper storeys of my house on to the veggie patch, but in the meanwhile, I found a site about a 15-minute drive from my house that would serve both as a work place (for my translation work) and with adequate space for gardening!

I have made rough plans too, on what to plant at the new location, and this will be the topic of another post.

Last week I visited my friend’s (Utiyama-san) garden and was presented with several kinds of seeds from the plants in the garden.

Japanese Quince

Japanese Quince fruit with seeds

The first was a “Boke” (Japanese Quince) fruit that revealed gleaming black seeds. This is a flowering tree that yields a fruit (astringent, so I didn’t try to eat it). It appears that one can use the Boke plants for bonsai too, so I promptly planted four of these in my vinyl pots containing seed mix. Let’s see whether they’ll root.

Cherokee rose

Rose hip of the Rosa laevigata (Cherokee rose)

I cut open the thorny rose hip carefully and found 3 large seeds and several hairlike seeds with black dot. Are these baby seeds that will grow? I’m not sure. I retained these also and am looking for further information. If you do have photos or information on what the seeds of a Cherokee rose look like, do send them to me.



 Hawthorn – a member of the rose family

I also picked up a few berry-like seeds from a plant growing in his garden said to give cheery flowers in summer. I didn’t catch the Japanese name at first, so I took the photo with the seeds above and posted it to him for confirmation. Learnt that the name in Japanese was “sanzashi” which translates to Hawthorn. Planted all five of the hard seeds and am eagerly awaiting results.


Japanese Sarcandra (“Senryou”)

Finally, the seeds of the Japanese Sarcandra – a plant that yields red berries in winter and is typically found in many Japanese houses and gardens. This plant is supposedly difficult to grow from seeds – so I’ll be delighted to see any sign of life in the coming weeks.


Have a nice day!

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January 2010