At the moment, hydrangea (Ajisai) bloom absolutely everywhere in splendid color - blue, white, pale purple, deep pink, nearly red, lavender, white, and all shades in between - and I now find them irresistable. Tucked in corners, peering over walls, lining garden paths, or leaning out from roadside beds the blooms just don't stop. Their blooming also marks the beginning of rainy season, making them a literal bright spot during a wet and humid moment in time.
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