In the hoophouse, that is. I suspected two days ago that I saw little sprouts, but yesterday I spied a sweet little row of those first leaves - the cotyledon - that begin the process of photosynthesis. (Hope you don't have to squint too much to see them in the photo!) The unseasonably warm weather the past few days, I am sure, was quite helpful in getting things going. Things are meant to become a bit more wintry now, so we'll see how the remaining seeds do.
Drying pods of heirloom Hutterite Soup Beans. Since moving to Japan eight years ago, one of my greatest challenges as a farmer-gardener has been to find heirloom or open-pollinated seeds. The majority of seeds available are not GMO (genetically modified organisms) as Japan, at this point, doesn't accept this material. Most seeds, though, are nearly all F1 varieties. Heirloom and F1 Varieties In plant breeding, F1 is the name given to the first generation of a cross between two true breeding parents. For example, if I decide to cross an Amish Paste Tomato with another heirloom variety tomato such as Emmy, in hopes of getting a gold paste tomato, the resulting generation of fruit is F1. In order to get that tomato of my culinary dreams, I'll need to choose members of that first generation that are headed in a direction I like - early ripening, medium-sized fruit, good taste - and save their seeds. I'll plant them and repeat the process again and again over time unti