Saturday, October 2, 2010

Sorghum Does Double Duty















Every year the farmers plant sorghum around their eggplants. It's always tricky in the spring to not tromp the new seedlings emerging in a tidy line. Like the eggplants themselves, the sorghum steadily grows in the rich soil of their fields. As it gets taller it thickens into a lush fence standing finally at about eight or nine feet in height.

The sorghum serves a dual purpose. It provides a wind barrier for the eggplants inside the ring of tall grass. High winds - not at all unusual here in Tokyo - can break branches and desicate the plants as well as cause leaves to rub on the fruit leaving a blemish that makes it unattractive to the average shopper. The sorghum plants also act as a trap crop. A pesky little bug that adores eggplant almost as much as the Japanese themselves happens to like sorghum more. A quick examination of the grassy leaves can reveal a tiny population happily snacking away and ignoring the plants inside the barrier. Now, if I could only convince the farmers to harvest the grain...

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ah..."natsukashii" - thank you for sharing your many adventures. Whenever I wonder what things are like in Japan, it's great to peek at your blog and see what you all are up to and how your crops are doing.

Joan Lambert Bailey said...

Glad you're enjoying it! And thanks for leaving a note. It's also nice to know there are folks reading out there. :)