Skip to main content

A Field of Pots

Tokyo is full of gardens large and small made up of vegetables, ornamentals, tiny trees, and perennial flowers. It's been a pleasure to find each and every one, and I marvel at the creativity and ingenuity that fashions them. Next to the kiwi carport though, was a garden that was simply stunning. Eggplants, squash, and tomatoes were just a few of the crops (it's the only word that really suits the volume here) grew in tidy rows in the courtyard each one blooming and fruiting.

What's so amazing about that? Each of these plants sat in a container. Big pots neatly arranged with trellised or stabilized plants filled the cemented over space. One set (see photo above) acted as a sort of green curtain for the downstairs windows, while the trellised squash sheltered smaller seedlings. Just behind the eggplants in a back corner (again, see photo above) and covered with floating row cover were four rows of long, large pots. Without trespassing, it was impossible to see what they might contain. Another well-beloved vegetable seems a safe guess.

I wondered at the amount of effort it must have taken to haul all that dirt and keep the plants watered. Why not just take up the cement? Clearly, there's a farmer-at-heart in that house that wants at least a garden to help feed the family. But it doesn't really matter. A love affair with dirt knows no bounds, rules, and follows a logic of its own. Right on, I say!


Jared said…
That's a beautiful garden! Great to see so many edibles and such great care in organizing potted plants.
I loved it as well, Jared. Quite inspiring. I've seen potted gardens before, but never with so many large pots.

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