The first planting of the farmer's daikon needs to be thinned or "mabiki shiteimas." We planted two seeds in each hole - sort of a safe bet for germination - allowing us to later choose the strongest of the two to keep growing. (I'll be doing the same thing in Daikon Alley shortly.) The beauty of this system is that the extracted seedlings are wonderfully tasty. (I farm and garden with mostly with my stomach, of course!) At this stage, the young leaves are incredibly tender and their spicy flavor makes for a wonderful salad...or quick snack in the field between rows. Thankfully, the field is massive, so there are plenty of seedlings to go around. We all take some home, and put out a few bags at the stall each day, too. They're gone in a flash!
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