Potager Y @ Japan, what’s growing in December 2020

The year 2020 marks the 13th year of my ‘Potager Y @ Japan’ gardening hobby.

Each year, I plant and harvest about 50 types of vegetables and herbs.

It has been a very educational yet fulfilling, exciting and beneficial time spent, albeit spiced with some occasional failures.

At this time of the year, where I live, temperature dips down to about 5 degrees and rises up to about 13 or 14 degrees. Pleasant… even lovely and comfortable, I would say.

In the weekends, I tend the plots where winter vegetables (carrots, greens, fava beans, radish, beets, celery, lettuce, etc.) are growing, and harvest the remaining goodies from summer crops (tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins, etc.) as they ripen.

I touch and smell the flowers (Raja Ulam, zinnia, marigold) from summer and watch the honey bees collect pollen to bring back to the bee hive placed at the edge of the Potager.

Anyway, here are some of the plants that are thriving in Potager Y at the moment.



Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

On being a ‘week-end’ farmer…

Note: Woohoo… just discovered that I had left this write-out un-posted. My records say that this is from 2013, sometime around June…  am now posting it 7 years late… 🙂 
See update at the end of this post. 

Being a ‘week-end’ farmer, Saturdays and Sundays are normally filled up with ‘work’ in the potager…

Each weekend, there is like, a thousand and two things to do and there is just so little time…

So one can imagine how ‘precious’ my weekend time is…

Just to give an idea on the thousand and two things… this past weekend, I had the following items noted in my ‘TTD’ (Things to do) list…

Fix chicken play area
Harvest potatoes
Harvest red onions
Transplant pumpkin seedlings
Transplant watermelon seedlings
Sow corn seeds
Chainsaw firewood
Chop fire wood
Transplant okra seedlings
Fertilize cucumber plants
Harvest kale
Harvest garlic
Fix pole for ‘porotan’ chestnut plant
Fix strings on pond
Clear chicken dung
Transplant passion fruit seedling
Harvest biwa fruits
Transplant myoga plant
Transplant moroheya seedlings
Transplant basil seedlings

Wooh, tiring… but definitely fun…

Still, in the midst of carrying out these ‘work’, I do take time off to photograph and smell the flowers…

Update December 5th 2020 
I am still a week-end farmer, and am still if not more busy on weekends as I have taken up more hobbies and commitments. Anyway, life is good and I am having a wonderful time! Happy gardening to all my friends!! 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Honey bees in the potager!

A bit of a flashback for this post, all the way back to the summer of 2017.
I was super lucky to be introduced to a veteran bee keeper in Kagawa.

Keeping honey bees had always been a dream for me, since my youth.
(The others being, of course, eating fresh veggies from my own garden, and picking fresh flowers off our own property to decorate the table… )

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Requested him to teach me on how to keep bees.
Soon, I found myself in one of his several bee farms…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

He said he would give me some bees to try.
Next thing, he asked his helpers to load six, yes, six bee boxes onto my truck.
Imagine, I would be more than happy to have just one bee box, but six?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Anyway, I dashed home and rushed to the potager, and immediately cleared some space for the bee boxes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Having zero experience, and little knowledge about apiary farming, naturally, I had to learn the hard way.
He gave me some pieces of equipment to start off; most intriguing for me is the ‘smoker’.
But before I realized it, ‘ouch!’, the bee stings!
Anyway, what a ‘joyful pain’ it was, as I was in high heaven…

But, came autumn 2017, ‘tragedy’ struck…
The poor honey bees were attacked and eaten by hornets (yellow jackets?).
I consulted the bee keeper master and he gave me some hornet traps.
Those traps worked, but there were just so many of the hornets.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Feeding voraciously on my bees, the population of the hornets exploded…
So much so that the hornets even had the nerve to make their home right under my nose, or rather undernearth the roof of my house.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I would say, the diameter of the nest grew up to about half a meter.
Not knowing what to do, I contacted the veteran bee keeper.
He came with a water pump, and thoroughly tore down the nest.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Unfortunately, the population of my bees continued to decline.
When winter 2017 came, the bee keeper dropped by to look.
And he said, ‘the bees were very few, let me take them with me, and I shall bring new bees for you again next season’.

Dismayed as I was with my shabby care for the bees, I looked forward to a second chance to learn about bee keeping again.

Posted in Honey bees | Tagged | 5 Comments

Roots, greens, gourds, citruses…

Hello everyone… yours truly had been doing quite well and enjoying gardening as usual… Here are a few pictures showing some of the harvests that we have had over the past months…

DSCN6436a

Carrots had done pretty well… at times, we had to ‘catch up’ with the harvests as we love eating them fresh… still, with so much, my sweeto-haato had to preserve quite a bit of them in vinegar…

PB233036a

Pumpkins almost always do well… I think this time, we harvested almost 60 of these specimens… this type is very resistant to pests, and they are so easy to grow.. plus, they taste super good…

DSCN6383a

The greens did not do as well as I had planned them to be… sometimes, you cannot just beat the insect-pests… still, we had quite a harvest, and they tasted very good too…

DSCN6398a

Radishes… hmm, not too good either… in fact, rather miserable… looking forward to next season to try again….

DSCN6403a

For the first time, our lemon tree gave us about 12 fruits this year… I think this is a practice session for the tree, and I hope it will give us more fruits next year…

DSCN6408a

‘Pomkan’, a type of Mandarin orange, gave us a bumper harvest this year… over 120 fruits… they are so succulent and fragrant…

PB213003a

Limes galore… we had soooo much that I had to share with our neighbors and my work colleagues… too much for me to count… they have a very refreshing flavor, and one of our neighbors was so delighted that he immediately rewarded us with his home-made soba noodles…

DSCN6252a

And yes, navel oranges… compared to last year’s bonanza, we had only about 80 this time… I really love the sweetness of this fruit… so juicy, so full-bodied…

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Autumn 2017 delights…

Autumn is without doubt, my favorite season of the year…
The temperature is cool, the air… dry and comfortable…
Plus, it is a wonderful time for gardening…

DSC_0140a

On top of all these, it is also the season of my favorite fruit in Japan…
The persimmons, known as ‘kaki’ in Japanese…
When we acquired this property, I foolishly chopped off a large chunk of the persimmon tree that was growing on the slopes…
Reason was, it was the ‘astringent’ type, as opposed to the ‘sweet’ type…

DSC_0152a

Since then, I had learned that there are a few ways to treat the astringent fruit, so as to sweeten them for eating…
I regretted the chopping act, and the tree punished me by making me wait for about 8 years before it decided to fruit again…
This season, we were rewarded with more than 30 fruits…
I hugged the tree and said ‘please forgive me for my sin’…

DSC_0160a

There is this thing with red, red peppers that attract me…
Somehow, I just enjoy photographing them very much…
The peppers have adapted well to our potager, and they self-seed the following season…
Which is a wonderful thing…

DSC_0126a

I am really not so sure what gourd this is…
I got the seeds from a seed company in Chiang Mai…
The name and instructions were all in Thai language…
Asked a few Thai friends, but they didn’t know either…
Anyway, the flesh tasted like winter pumpkin…

DSC_0107a

The Japanese folks call this ‘higanbana’…
In English, ‘cluster amaryllis’? Hmmm…
In any case, isn’t this flower adorable?
To me, it is one of the representative flowers of the autumn season…

DSC_0132a

A neighbor had given to me the ‘rhizome’ (?) of this plant ages ago…
It must have been about 10 years ago, I think…
Finally, the plants decided to bestow us with this lovely specimen… woohoo…

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 31 Comments