Ten years of Potager Y @ Japan

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We acquired this piece of land in 2007…
It was wild… and I was equipped with just simple garden tools…
Took me months, but I managed to manually clear up the land and carved up the lots…
(See here and here for an account and some pictures of the early days of Potager Y…)
Now, ten years into playing with the earthworms, I finally muster enough ‘courage’ to put up a (hand-written) sign board for the garden…

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Grew four broccoli plants last autumn…
All four performed very well…
Next season, definitely going to grow them again…

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The Japanese folks call this vegetable ‘Naba-na’…
My translation: ‘Vegetable flower’…
This veggie is a new experiment for the potager…
The part that is eaten is the flower bud section…
We pick and pick, and the plants produce and produce…
Lovely veggie… shall be growing them next season too…

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My ‘sweeto-haato’ first bought this pumpkin from the local farmer’s market years ago…
I liked the taste of it, and kept the seeds…
Am not so sure of the name, but we call them ‘peanut kabocha’ (‘kabocha’ = pumpkin)…
The beauty of this pumpkin is in its ease to grow…
The popular type of pumpkin in Japan is the ‘Ebisu’ pumpkin…
But I find their young leaves are prone to attacks by those little-little yellow bugs…
Not so the peanut kabocha, whose leaves have more spiky hairs (to ward off those bugs?)…
This season, we managed to harvest about 15 of these lovely pumpkins…

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Peeled and boiled the peanuts harvested from the potager…
Home-grown peanuts are really something to relish over…

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This is called the ‘Dai-dai’ orange in Japanese parlance…
Its forte is its acidity, rather thick skin, and firm flesh…
Which makes is a fine candidate for making marmalade…
This plant is for my sweeto-haato…
She is quite fond of making those lovely marmalade with this orange…

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And finally, a picture of our white ume flowers…
We over-trimmed the plant last autumn, so there will not be too many plums for us to enjoy…

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2016 season had been good…

The year 2016 had been a good year for Potager Y…
First and foremost, the wild boars did not get to do much damage to the plots and plants…
And, many plants and vegetables grew and produced very well…

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The produce that gave me the most happiness was the navel orange…
This year was just crazy…
There were soooo many fruits dangling from the tree…

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In my previous post, I blogged about the split oranges…
At the final count, the number of split navel oranges went over 100…
Still, we could harvest over 50 of them…
Each of these fruits weighed about 300 to 400 grams…
There was no way we could consume all of them…
Decided to give to our neighbors and work-mates…

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The sweet basil grew fabulously throughout the summer, right up to early winter…
We enjoyed their fresh leaves every morning with our pizza toast…

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The peanuts also did very well…
The raccoons did not come for them this year… nice!
I have harvested them some time ago, and drying them in the shade…

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For many seasons, I had been struggling with how to grow the bell peppers…
Think I finally got the hang of it…
This year, I had only one plant, and it is still giving us loads of fruits…

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This autumn, decided to ‘clean’ up the potager…
Collected some bamboo from the nearby forest to make the boundaries for the plots…
Had been using recycled wood for the boundaries but they rotted fast…
Hope the bamboo can last at least three or four seasons…
They look neat and pretty, don’t you think?

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The chayote is the other produce that gave me lots of pleasure…
Tried growing this climber for the first time this year…
And woah… the fruits keep coming and coming…
They are pretty big, and each weigh about 400 to 500 grams…
They taste somewhat like cucumber… crunchy and delicious…
Like the oranges, I had to give away so many to our neighbors and my work colleagues…
And almost all of them were very pleased because this vegetable is not commonly sold in the stores…

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Late summer, early autumn harvests

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Part of my day job requires me to make quite a bit of overseas travel, some of which can be rather long…
Upon returning from one of those trips, I found the chestnuts had dropped onto the ground…
Many of them had rotted, or were eaten by bugs…
Collected some that looked ok, at least, visually…
But it was not to be… my sweeto-haato cut them open, and found out that each and every one of them turned out to be bad inside… sad…

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I did not get to harvest sweet potatoes for the last two seasons of 2014 and 2015…
As above, I had to go for business trips overseas, and each time for the past two years, the wild boars came and ransacked the sweet potatoes…
This year, I was determined to block their advance…
Thank god, we got to harvest the sweet potatoes this time…

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Garlic is a regular item at our potager…
Luckily, the wild animals have no interest in them…

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We got to enjoy bitter gourd throughout the summer, and well into early autumn as well…
I cannot imagine our summers without this vegetable…

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Now, this is another sad story… the navel oranges…
Was really happy to see so many fruits in early summer…
But as the fruits matured, they split, from the navel…
Apparently, the reason is that, the fruits cannot cope well with changes in the water content in the ground, especially if the changes are too much or too rapid…
I collected over 100 split navel oranges, and had to throw them away…
There are perhaps about 20 or so fruits left, and I hope we can get to taste them soon…

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Unripe strawberries = chutney

Due to the nature of my job, I sometimes have to go for business trips abroad…
Which means, my garden will be left somewhat unattended…

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Had been struggling for the past few seasons with how to ‘properly’ grow strawberries…
Think I finally got the hang of it…
Come summer 2016, fruits were aplenty…
But just then, that two-week long business trip came in the way…

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So what to do?
It would be a shame to have the fruits ripening only to be eaten by sow-bugs…
Decided to play around, processing the unripe fruits…

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And into the Dutch oven the fruits went in…
Dressed up with some experimental spices, and oh, what a beauty it turned out to be…

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Had them stored in glass jars, and into the refrigerator they went…
My ‘sweeto-haato’ and I took our sweet time to slowly relish the final product…

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Carrots, loads of it… and Chayote germinating…

Whoopeee… hope every one is enjoying the early spring winds and feeling excited about the upcoming growing season (for those living in the northern hemisphere, that is)…

A lot of things had been happening in my life… some happy and pleasant, some rather heart-breaking…

But life goes on… and yes, had disappeared literally from the blogging world, but still, am happy to know that the blog does get visitors once in a while…

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Anyway, the potager is fine and producing, as ever…
Had a bountiful harvest of carrots…
Sooo much of them… think I must have done something right? 🙂

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I am of the opinion that carrots rank among the most tasty of all home-grown vegetables…
Of course, all home-grown vegetables are lovely to eat, but carrots… hmmm, they are in a class of their own…

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And potatoes… hmmm, another perennial member of the potager…
My ‘sweeto-haato’  uses them in curries, salads, Japanese ‘oden’, and sometimes, just plain pan-fried in light olive oil…
Anyhow, they taste superb…

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And yes, this year as well, the radish did extremely well…
There were just too much for us to catch up (eating)…
As in last year, had them dried up to preserve for future cooking…

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Am really excited with the prospect of growing this ‘chayote’…
I first got to know about this vegetable in Chiang Mai where the locals use the tender shoots as stir-fries…
I was really tempted  to smuggle one or two back to Japan…
But luckily, we have them in Japan too, and I just had to grab these two as soon as I saw them…

According to Wikipedia, they belong to the cucumber family and is native to ‘Meso-america’…
It is a climber, and apparently, all parts of the plant can be eaten… the leaves, the flowers, the fruit, the seed, and even the tuber…
I would like to use the tender shoots as the Thais do…

And isn’t it amazing that the roots and the shoot just sprout out from the fruit?
I can’t wait for the temperatures to rise…

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