Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Potato harvest

Got the last of them out of field #1 today. Just over 30 kgs. Bringing the total so far to about 50 kgs. The earworms on the corn turned out to be threadworms and are doing a number on half of a row, totally stinks. I picked them off and squeezed the ears to kill the ones inside. Just hope they don't get to the other rows. Very disheartening. Was talking to the owner of the next field over, he gave me some much needed pointers on soil amendment. We both agree that this farming stuff is one tough business. I give the local guys tons of credit, I don't see how they make a living at it.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Around our village

Rasberries are in season and the kids found a "gold mine"

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Lazy weeding

Luke and I at the jizousan down the road

an un-covercropped bed of corn simply "ramped up" to supress weeds

un-cover cropped bed of cukes ramped up

a bed of tomatoes cover cropped with rye (rye star). The rye is simply pushed aside and soil is ramped up around the plant

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

New potatoes

Well it doesn't get any more exciting than this folks! The first batch of real potatoes. Maybe they're a little early, but some of the plants were beginning to wilt. Got about 18kgs. from about 35 plants. Still have 45 plants in field #1. Then there's field #2, which won't be ready for another month or so, that's if they survive the rainy season.

wilting plants

college fund

And now the bad news: looks like corn earworm on the now chest high corn
had to pick them off the flowers by hand, the fruit is sprouting silk and looking good though

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sailing at Mizushima, Fukui prefecture

Ours and two other families went to an Aquamuse sailing get together at Mizushima in Fukui. My first time to attend such an event. Other than some embarrassment at the poor knot tying on my rig, as well as having the rudder completely backwards, all was well. The people were great and really helped me with my rigging. Some of the best sailing of my life. Wind was strong and steady, unlike that on the lake. Can't wait to go again in September. In the meantime will prepare fot the Biwako crossing!

Link to some cool videos of the day

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Cultivating between beds

Finally got a chance to tidy up field #1 today after kindergarden class. Let's go from the Hokey Pokey to Musical Fields. Field #1 is 30 km. from field #2, and I've recently learned it's in a different hardiness zone as well. The other day I borrowed our freinds kei-tora and brought the kounki 耕運機, roto-tiller, rotivator, whatever it is called over there. Spent 2 hours getting the rows ship-shape. It looks good again but maybe, just maybe, this year will be different. I'll be able to till the rows once a month and it won't all revert to jungle, we'll see.
Was also able to get some new potatoes, pulled up 3 plants, got about a kilo.

new tea bushes

Notice the other, very small tea plants as well

Rika gave me a bagful of freshly picked green tea on Sunday. I asked her surprised, " Where did you get this? ". She led me across the road to 5 small bushes living amongst the sasa (bamboo grass). That's my girl! She often teaches me the names of plants,trees, and weeds in Japanese. This she learns at school and from her friends and their parents. Sadly I informed her that we can't drink the tea because the bushes are right next to the road. Pollutants from cars will accumulate in anything so near. "But, we can dig these out, plant them in the garden, and next year we can have lots of tea " I said hopefully. This should give them time to clean out.

Friday, June 5, 2009

cover crops

Did some weeding in the overgrown field #1. Here's a good example of cover cropping using clover and vetch. They are legumes that will supply nitrogen to the crop while surpressing weeds. If only all the beds looked this good. I'm learning a lot though. Next year every bed will be cover cropped.

cukes and clover

cukes and clover

corn and vetch

Ooops! peanuts and clover, both are legumes, so technically not providing nutrients to each other, but they look healthy enough!

Monday, June 1, 2009

cultivating between raised beds

Got the tiller into field #2 today to run between beds. Looking much better than field #1. Have been harvesting lettuces from my 4 lettuce bed lately. It's nice to walk to the field with a bowl and a pair of scissors to gather an instant salad. There's: rocket, sunny, arugula and one more type. A bit spicy, but very nice.