Skip to main content

Potted Kale: Refugee from the Heat

This spring I grew a bundle of kale plants on our window sill and planted them in the garden. Various bits of nature (aphids, cabbage worms, and my own learning curve) conspired to bring about their early demise. These things also taught me in concert that kale might be better as a winter crop, and so I'm plotting to plant some with the mizuna, komatsuna, and other winter greens I'll put in once this heat wave breaks.

That said, a seedling or two never made it to the garden. I ran out of room there, and had two that still needed a home. Essentially nonexistent here except for the ornamental variety, I couldn't bear the thought of throwing these precious seedlings away. So, I potted them up. One went in with my morning glory vines, and the other got a pot of its own.

The seedling at the base of the morning glory vines did alright until the heat started in earnest. Not even regular watering paired with the smattering of shade provided by the vines could keep it going. However, the seedling planted in a pot of its own found a better fate. Knowing it would despise the intense heat characteristic of our western facing balcony in the afternoon, I put the pot in a slightly shady corner.

Tucked behind a larger container holding bergamont, parsley, and tsuru murasaki it spent a fairly peaceful summer. An aphid attack early on robbed it of almost all the leaves, but as the heat and sunshine increased the aphids decreased and finally disappeared. While it hasn't grown exponentially, it has grown well and I'm pleased as punch to see it with me still.


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

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

Goma Ai Shingiku - Sesame and Chrysanthemum Greens

Last week I had the pleasure of helping some friends work in their parents garden not too far away. Tucked behind the house, the garden sits on a former house lot. When it came up for sale about five years ago, my friend's father jumped at the chance. Open land in Tokyo can be hard to find and expensive, but for a retired professional looking for a little spot to till in the city it was an opportunity to good to pass up. Now, it is a garden to envy. As we came through the gate rose, lily, and peony blooms greeted us with great shouts of color while rows of vegetables stood tidily at attention on the sunny center stage. Small fruit trees along with one of the biggest sansho trees I've seen yet stood quietly here and there. Near waist-high sweet corn, bushy young potato plants, cherry tomatoes, eggplants, and beans were preparing their summer fruits, while a handful of still quite luscious looking winter vegetables like komatsuna, mizuna, and kabu held one last ro