We were perhaps a little bit late in getting our gardening on this year (2nd of May), but it seems like we didn’t do too bad for our first attempt.
Japan is a country where space is at a premium, at least in the cities. So in the tight streets in the suburbs you’ll see potted plants and flowers everywhere they can fit. Some even use their car space as a makeshift vegetable patch.
We’re lucky enough to have a small space near our entrance that is unused and free of bushes and trees. So we decided this would be our little backyard garden.
After a quick trip to the local Kohnan (home centre) we had the car loaded with pots, soil, rocks for bedding, weed killer, flower seeds, and of course our tomato plants and herbs.
We cleared the patch of weeds as best as we could, and rounded up as many lose rocks as we could find. Trying to make something that looked somewhat pleasant to the eyes. Then we got to the planting.
We bought Basil, Italian Parsley, Dill, Spring Onion and Red and Yellow Tomatoes. Three of each herb, and one Tomato plant of each kind. After having transferred the plants to their respective planters we added fertiliser and watered them. So then it was just a matter of being patient and wait for something to grow.
We also cleared out a part of our entrance next to our parking space, but figured we didn’t want to plant any veggies or herbs so close to the road. So we opted for Sunflowers and a variety of other flowers too.
It didn’t take long for things to happen. Two weeks after planting the Sunflower seeds they were already sprouting.
A week later we were already seeing our tomato plants blooming and making fruit. It was really fun to see how quickly our plants were developing.
We did later encounter a few problems…
The first were with our tomato plants. The stem of the plant was all of a sudden covered in little white bumps. We researched and it turns out that they are the early stages of roots forming. These root bumps can develop for a number of reasons, but the main culprit for our plants were most likely over watering.
Japan is very humid in summer, and there is a rainy season that lasts from early July to mid July. But since it’s also hot, and we could see the plants looking really exhausted and droopy from the heat. So we always gave them plenty of water… Quite possibly too much.
The other issue we faced were that teeny tiny insects were seemingly laying eggs on our herbs. In particular on our Dill and Parsley. We still have not figured out what kind or how to really prevent it other that using a home made solution in a spray bottle to try and kill them off. The mixture we used eludes me at the time of writing this, but I know it at least contained vinegar.
About a month later, at the start of July, we were able to see the Sunflowers blossom fully. They had grown from a small seed to a beautiful flower standing over a metre tall.
As for the tomato plants… We did manage get a good harvest from both of them, even with the over watering. We also lost some tomatoes when the plants got knocked over by a storm.
We learnt a lot from our first real attempt at growing tomatoes and herbs in our little garden. And we are already looking forward to next year. Spring time will be a lot of fun… we will double our production!!