Saturday, May 22, 2010


Since I got a very late start on the field and the garden is already established I decided to go with mostly corn this season. Missed my chance at potatoes, but will be planting fall spuds - 秋じゃが, aki-jaga. So far there're 200 seeds in, hope to do a succession planting totalling 600. I'll be happy to harvest half of that. That's only 6 or so packs of seeds. The number of beds has been cut from previous years, and also used black plastic mulch to suppress weeds. Also the space between beds has been widened to at least a tiller width, so now when the weeds get bad I can run the tiller easily between the beds. The problem with this method however is that the beds need to be raised by hand to make the row between beds wide enough to get the tiller in. When using the plow on the tiller the row between beds is narrower than the tiller itself. When the weeds take over the row they are nearly impossible to stop without using a different, smaller tiller(which I don't want to buy) , or the gas powered trimmer. This risks damaging the plants. Hopefully this will work out and I'll be able to use the same raised beds and mulch for a few years . All in all it's only a few hours hard labor to raise the beds though. Successful very small scale cover cropping with clover, ie: duck feed. I've had no luck doing this large scale in the field so far, but am learning. The lettuce/clover bed just keeps on producing, but then again it was a very cool spring. I keep cutting it back and it just keeps on growing. The clover is amazing I can fill a bucket full by cutting with scissors and in a few days it is full again. The ducks are now laying 2 eggs per day! I proudly told my wife to stop buying eggs. The other day a friend gave us an old breadmaker, I gave them some eggs and promised a bottle of dandelion wine when it's ready. Today I said stop buying bread! Ham is going to be a real problem though.

200mm of rain in the creek behind the house

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

meet the neighbors

コゲラ (ko-gera) Japanese Pygmy woodpecker

キセキレイ (ki-sekirei) Grey Wagtail

シジュカラ (shiju-kara) Great Tit

The girls discovered a new swimming hole just downstream from the house. It's only waist-deep to me but if I dam off the end with stones it'll fill up nicely. Not to worry, one good storm and the dam'll be washed away.

My first try at broccoli was delicious and trouble-free due to the cool weather I suspect.

Alas, aspargus season has just ended, but we got about 20 monsters like the spears below and double that of smaller ones. They were tender down to the bottom. Rarely did we have them cooked, right out of the garden raw was best.

The ducks are all enclosed with fencing and seperated. The hens have been laying an egg every other day. Usually they lay in the early AM in the nesting boxes, but occaisionally they are found outstide the coop.

I've found that covering the area around the coop with weeds,clover and vetch cut from the neighbors field acts like a free range for them. Insects live in the weeds and the ducks hunt and poke around while nibbling the clove and vetch. I'll change the weeds every week or so (no shortage of weeds around here). The ducks are also free ranging the side yard when we are home and can keep an eye out. Next year I hope to fence the side yard from the woods. But even that is no guarantee of safety.

Also, looks like I'll be getting a chance to use the field again. My neighbor surprised me with an offer to use it in exchange for cutting the weeds. I had not planned on this at all, but can't really say no. Now it is all soggy from the overflow coming from the irrigation ditch supplying water to the lower paddies. It needs a good 5 days of sun to dry out and then he can run the tractor over it once or twice, then I can take over with my rototiller. Maybe too late for potatoes, damn. But the warm weather staples should be ok.