Thursday, October 14, 2021

Cutting grass

Waited out the summer heat, as well as some time after getting my Corona vaccines, so I could do some labor. Headed for the forest, and it was again overgrown with weeds

I seriously have to think up a way to stop the weeds

After an hour of cutting, it looked better, again.
At least you can spot the saplings and so on

One of the mikan saplings (Setoka) had died, but at least the rest seemed more or less alive. 
I suppose some bug ate its leaves

Also, some of the berries I put between the mikans are dead. Actually I killed 2 of them myself by accidentally cutting them along with the weeds earlier in spring.
So as of now, the status is like this, with the dead ones crossed over:
Seaberries are very fragile. One of them just kind of disappeared.

I guess I will plant new ones after winter.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Spot the mikan

Summer... hot as hell. Every single day. Of course, except the days when it just pours down worse than a shower. So, I didn't get out and go to the forest plot at all for 2 months. As it happened, I also had pretty severe post-concussion syndrome from the time the bamboo fell and hit me on the head. It comes back from occasionally and renders me totally unable to function. Reminder of how being stupid for one split second can ruin your whole life. This wave I believe was triggered by stress. Now I am sloooowly recovering again. 

Anyway, during those 2 months, the weeds had their chance, and they took it. For now let's not even think where they originated, despite me having removed all their roots and what not with my bare hands. Japanese Forest Magic I suppose. So this morning when it was cloudy and not raining for the first time in couple of months, I took a trip down to see what it looks like. This is what hit me.

Instant jungle

It is quite obvious what difference a couple times of cutting weeds can make, as is apparent from the picture taken from inside Mr. O's plot, looking at mine.
Why! Won't! You! DIE!

The weeds have just poured in from all over. Go back and compare with the picture of 2 months ago from the same spot. The tatami path, most of the north wall, the mikans etc are all covered with wild crap. Below is a picture taken just from the middle of the tatami path.
Where is the mikan?

If you look real hard you might be able to distinguish the mikan sapling on the left side. But no worries, the mikan on the right is also there. Here, I take a closer pic.

Of course I couldn't just leave the struggling mikan like this. So I cleared out a little bit around each of them. My arms are all itchy afterwards cause I was in T-shirt and didn't have gloves. Some of the saplings were really hidden under the vegetation and I had to spend minutes just looking for them although I knew the spot where they are planted. Hopefully they will manage somehow until a couple months later when it will be cool enough for me to go there with my weed cutter and get serious.
Breath little buddy

So I end this post with a couple more pictures of the other saplings that I freed from beneath the heaps of weed.
There there... grow a little stronger will ya
Double shot looking toward west

Lucky for me there was just one nettle

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Row 3 Tatami 5

Only 1 week left of June, and by month`s end I need to have finished 6 tatami lengths of the 3rd row to be on track with my original schedule.

Some progress.. better than no progress at least

I did cut the grass in the rows. And finished the 5th tatami (it is the only clean looking one in the picture), and prepared the ground for the 6th tatami too. My progress will be slower from now, because except for the heat and the wasps and all that, I am starting to run into the hill I made when I dug around with the backhoe last year. In the picture you can see the cross section of the hill, which is right in the middle of the 3rd row. It continues almost all the way to the end. That all has to be de-weeded by hand, flattened, the extra soil moved further south and it takes quite some time. In the end, all that extra soil is supposed to even itself out when I reach the 5th or so row.  

Falling behind a bit

I was well ahead of schedule with the 3rd row in May, but then came June and with it, the real hot hot weather. Every year I completely forget the intensity of Japanese summer. After moving about only a couple shovels of soil I am out of breath and sweating like a fountain.

Even if I try to avoid the sun by getting there real early or late, I bump into the local wildlife who have had the same idea and get active when it is cooler. Except the occasional boar and non-leashed dog, the worst things are the giant hornets that have picked a nearby spot (not sure where exactly but it is in the woods to the north) to nest, and without fail, every time I go there, there is at least one huge hornet flying around real nearby looking for something. Other than that, there are also countless long legged hornets which are supposed to be pretty nasty if they decide they don`t like you. Last year I accidentally disturbed one of them when cutting some weed, and it chased me away from the plot all the way to the main road.

So I started wearing this big net-hat as protection, but with that and my surgical mask I almost suffocate if I try to do any digging.

So my progress has seriously slowed down. Anyway, here is a shot of what the plot looks like in June.

They sure love to grow...

The ground cover of my first two rows keep coming back and are almost taller than the saplings again, so it is time to give them a trim. Also, the clover-only groundcover of my 3rd row has somehow become hidden by normal grass that has gotten super active probably because I mixed some fertilizer with the top soil when spreading clover seeds. You can see the square with real thick and tall grass, next to the square with only short clover. I think there is only a month difference between them. I hope the grass goes dormant so it doesn`t keep happening again.

For now, I will try to rescue the first square`s clovers by cutting the grass and exposing them to the sun. Let`s see if it works.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Row 3 tatami 4

It has been raining almost constantly for over a week now so there hasn't been much digging and progress on the row-making front. But I am still ahead of schedule, as it is still May and I finished the forth tatami mat.

also the first 2 mat lengths of clover have germinated

A couple days ago when I was digging away while listening to music, for an instant I happened to straighten up and stretch and look around, and saw a young boar who just had entered Mr.K's land. The boar seemed equally surprised to see me, and not sure what to do, so I moved very very slowly to the side and looking for a high place to run to in case it got aggressive. Alas, I didn't find any suitable place as I have chopped down all trees nearby. Lucky for me it was not in the mood and just ran along and hid in the woods. But for a moment there my heart was racing like crazy. After that I don't listen to music while digging... and keep an ear open for any wild animals that may come near.

The mikan saplings are doing so so, I go over them a couple times a week and remove any spider webs or flowers or bugs that may be munching on the leafs. I have spotted 2-3 tiny white flies which I killed. And 2 of the saplings had mealybugs that I got rid of, one of them had borrowed quite deep into the main branch of the sapling. I hope it recovers. I will order some neem oil to spray the saplings, since I saw it really helped with the trees at home.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Oh hi garden

Just touching upon what is going on in the garden... some of the veggies from last year still remain in the beds. Found this weird looking carrot the other day... (It's not its color that is weird. It's a yellow carrot so that is the normal color.)

Knot a carrot

After years of waiting, the yuzu tree finally decided to grace us with its first flowers. 2 whole flowers, one of which blew away after just a couple of days. So I hurried up and took a pic of the remaining one. Maybe next year we would even get some fruit.

Soo many leaves, just 1 flower.

The plum tree has been living dangerously with its pocket disease. I sprayed neem oil on it 2 winters ago, but didn't see any improvement. So last winter I sprayed it again, promising myself to cut the tree down if it keeps up with its disease. This spring I saw a couple of plum pocket fruits that I picked and tossed away. But after that, it seems like it is getting better. Just look at all these healthy fruits. For comparison, last year it only yielded 2-3 fruits in total, and maybe a couple hundred sick pockety ones.

Mmm.. hurry up and ripen

Another branch

I have been pruning and trying to train the mulberry tree to be less bushy and more like a tree. This year it is exploding with berries.
I will make lotsa jam

What else... the kiwi that has been through so much is showing vigor now and is climbing all over the place. No flowers yet though.
The fig tree is in the middle, with kiwi clinging to it

The two cherry trees are also growing nicely so far.
Blueberries on the left

So are the walnut trees. They are now 2-3 meters tall, and I have pruned them into a kind of shape that I think might be a typical tree... The one on the right was V-shaped and neither of the trunks were straight, so I tied the both trunks together into a straight one. Hopefully they will grow together or something... just an experiment. I will remove the rope later on.
Walnut. I think these will need the most waiting

Yepp, I think veggies are not my strongest point, what with all the weed and bugs and stuff killing them. Fruits in the garden it is. Plus a couple of beds to play around with veggies from time to time.
The dying mikan which I put into net is coming back to life now without bugs munching on it. New leaves and everything.
Intensive care pays off

Row 3 Tatami 3

The gasoline grass cutter seems to be broken, so I bought a battery driven one. It is very quite and lighter too. A full charge was enough to almost cut all the grass in the two rows.

First cut

This week I cut down some of the bamboo shoots on the north, until I was interrupted by a giant hornet, so I legged it down to my plot where I couldn`t see the hornet anymore. Every time I am in the plot doing anything, I spend a few minutes checking the saplings and removing any spider webs from their leaf etc. This time I saw a new resident in one of the berry saplings...

Energy frog recharging his solar batteries

Anyway... this week I also finished the 3rd tatami, so I am a little bit ahead of schedule.

Maybe I can spend a little time on my garden too now