Skip to main content

My Very Own Tambo


Tokyo Green Space did a post not so long ago about finding a rice-growing kit at Donki, a totally weird and wild discount store chain. Inspired and intrigued, I started looking about for one of my own. I found another kit at Ito Yokado, a fancy-ish department store, plus a variety of others for growing everything from lemon grass to tomatoes to strawberries. Since I can't read Japanese, I imagined it would be too big or too difficult to grow on my own. I did, however, mention it to the farmers. Shee-chan wanted a rice field (tambo in Japanese) of her own ever since I told her of our adventure planting a field with One Life Japan last spring. Takashi-san had only smiled at the thought, so she was out of luck. The kit seemed like a perfect solution.

Well, on a recent trip to Donki I wandered upstairs to help a friend looking for a humidifier. There, at the end of an aisle clustered with a bunch of other kits for edamame (in a beer mug, no less!), parsley, and other vegetables was the original rice kit. My tambo, it seems, had found me.

So, today with the farmers translating, we planted the tambo. (See photo at left.) The seeds must soak half in and half out of water in a sunny location. The water needs to be changed once a day until the seeds sprout in three to seven days. (The cup, by the way, is about the size of the kind that comes with a bottle of cough medicine.) Once the sprouts arrive, the seeds are planted in soil that comes as part of the kit. Then we wait again until the shoots emerge. Eventually, the rice seedlings will make it to a larger pot where they will spend their days until it's time to harvest the grain. The kit gives directions for harvesting and polishing the rice, too. I'll keep you posted on it's progress.

Comments

bastish said…
I hope you didn't pay too much. We always have tons of left-over rice shoots. I think they will survive a one or two day shipment. I can even send you some dirt and a box shaped like a tambo!
Anjuli said…
Oh how fascinating!! I will definitely check back to see the progress. I would enjoy learning how to plant the lemon grass- as I use it in so much of my cooking.
It was just under a 1,000 yen, Kevin, so not too bad. We're hoping to venture back up to help you plant again this year if you need it. The farmers want to come, too, if you've got space.

What do you use lemon grass for, Anjuli? It always sounds delicious, but I don't know what to do with it. I could send you a kit!
Anjuli said…
Joan-I use the lemon grass often to put into curry, stew, soups and often even in certain Asian cold drinks- it adds a nice flavor.

Popular posts from this blog

Finding Heirloom Seeds in Japan

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

Kamakura Farmers Market: Giant Buddhas and Good Vegetables

Kamakura Farmers Market entrance A little more than an hour train ride south of Tokyo sits Kamakura. Like Kyoto and Nara, Kamakura is a former capital full to the brim with temples, shrines, and a bounty of historical sites lining its winding streets. Nestled in a cozy bay with beaches and a giant Buddha tucked amongst the rest, it's a city that invites multiple visits if not at least one. And those seeking a farmers market well-stocked with traditional vegetables, skilled growers ready to share recipes and chat about their wares, along with some nifty prepared foods to rejuvenate themselves after so many temples surely won't be disappointed, either. Kamakura Farmers Market - right side full of signs Started nearly twenty years ago, the Kamakura Farmers Market or Kamakurasui Nyogyou Rensokubaijo, runs seven days a week nearly year-round. A ten-minute walk from the station, the market is located in what at first glance looks like nothing so much as a run-down w

Satoimo: One of Japan's Favorite Slimy Things

Satoimo in all their hairy glory. This post first appeared in slightly different form on Garden to Table as part of the 2012  Blogathon . The website has since moved on to the ether, but the post is still a good one. After all, people here are still eating satoimo on a daily basis, and many others are just seeing these little potato-like objects for the first time. Enjoy! Satoimo is one of Japan's odder vegetables. Under it's rough, slightly furry skin is white flesh that is a little bit slimy even raw, and with a gentle nutty flavor.* Baked, grilled, steamed with dashi, or deep-fried satoimo stands well on its own or paired up with other vegetables and meats in a wide variety of soups and stews . (The leaves are also edible.) Satoimo stores well, and like any root crop worth the effort, stocks are just running low on this household favorite as the farmers in my area of Tokyo get ready to put a new crop in the ground in May. I cannot say I was a fan of this l