As I mentioned earlier, while I love the sweeping vistas Daisetsuzan affords it's the little things that capture my heart the most. Clustered together in a hole in a rock this moss and tiny evergreen simply made me laugh out loud with joy. Again and again I saw plants growing in what appeared to be the most barren of lunar landscapes or in the tiniest of spaces. They reminded me of the everyday gardens I see here in Tokyo: little spots of life and color where it might be least expected and where it brings the greatest pleasure.
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