庭 niwa—garden

I’ve posted a few times about our little garden, and our efforts to cultivate it and grow fruit and vegetables. We’ve had mixed success. Cucumbers have been our most successful crop, in terms of both quantity and size. Yuko has pickled some of our surplus.

On the other hand, we have had numerous setbacks. Many of our early plants died from various causes, and some of our surviving plants never bore fruit.

This courgette (zucchini) plant has grown many small fruit (strictly, ovaries), but the female flowers never open. They remain closed, so they don’t get pollinated, and the baby fruit rot from the tip. I have tried actually tearing open the sepals slightly to introduce some pollen, but it hasn’t worked.

We have had similar lack of success with our pumpkin plant. It has grown to a prodigious height, and sported dozens of spectacular flowers, all male. Until recently, there were no female flowers at all. There are a few now, but I fear it is coming to the end of its life.

Other plants have had some limited success. A mini-paprika plant has borne 1 paprika, a piman (Japanese pepper) plant also has only one fruit,

 

and likewise our aubergine (eggplant), whose single fruit looks misshapen and discoloured, but we’ll wait and see how it develops.

 

This sunflower was among the first plants we planted back in early April, and finally bloomed this week.

We’ve also harvested some beans, and some strawberries. But if we depended for food on what we have managed to grow, we would have meagre pickings indeed!

Over the last three months, I’ve continually replanted, replacing any plants that died, and reusing the space as efficiently as possible. This weekend I planted rows of broccoli and brussels sprouts for harvesting in winter.

We also have some corn plants that are looking quite promising.

Over in the park, I realised this week that what I had thought were crazily overgrown water-lilies are actually lotus plants (hasu). You can see the closed buds of the lotus flowers in the photo. The water surface is completely hidden by the wild profusion of growth.

 

In this photo you can see the characteristic round lotus seed pod. Lotus tubers (renkon) are a popular vegetable in Japan.

 

 

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