I had hoped to be posting more about local culture and travel opportunities in Wakayama and Japan–we’re very safe down here!–but right now is ‘throw a seed on the ground and it’ll sprout’ season, so we’re busy prepping, planting, and harvesting all at the same time. The spinach is ready to eat as baby leaves, and that means more planting in the spaces left by harvesting. The radishes came in quickly, and we have to keep eating or serving them before they get bitter! The daikon is a real mixed bag, but some are sprouting quickly and the ones that didn’t come in I’ll replant soon for a rolling harvest.
The potatoes are also a mixed bag, but as you can see in the picture, the row that we planted under a dry grass mulch is coming in very nicely, while the row that was under a plastic mulch pretty much sucks. I can’t make any real claim to this success as I had no idea what I was doing when I did it except a sense that you shouldn’t have to cover everything with plastic if you want it to grow, but I’m happy to find that the grass held nicely against some pretty strong winds, is keeping the weeds at bay fairly well, and allows enough air and light to pass so the sprouts find their way through at the right time. So the neighbors who thought I was crazy can go stick a piece of dry grass in their eye. At least until I make a fatal mistake with my next venture.
Our rice at day 12 (2 days ago) was at 5 cm. We checked it for water at 1 week, and after that it’s every three days–if there are no dew drops on the sprouts, or if the dirt on one side of the trays is dry, we open up the whole thing and water it. Due to differences in height many trays are growing lopsided; those trays we turn 180 degrees before watering. Our nosy neighbor who loves to give advice (I love to listen, most of the time) says, ‘I tell you guys every year to make it more level…’ and I want to say, ‘And every year we make a small mountain of rice that everyone loves to eat…’ Forgive us if we’re not perfect. We’re doing fine, thank you.
The bamboo mountain must have absorbed some radiation or something, because everything is coming in huge this year. No more monster shoots like last time, but the average size is well above normal; today we harvested about 20 kilos easily, and that was with a crowbar handle that was partially broken from overenthusiasm.
By the way, how many bamboo shoots can you find in the next picture? I see 4.