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

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Satellite update

There is this old senile fart that lives a couple hundred meters away who seems to think the forest is his backyard. Every once in a while he comes to Mr. O`s plot and digs away looking for bamboo shoots. I asked Mr. O about him and he said although he knows who it is, he hasn`t given him any permission or so. He said it was sad that some people acted like his land was their own. But he didn`t tell them anything cause he thinks it will be more bother than just to let them be. In addition I learned that specific old fart doesn`t hear well, and whenever he comes out looking for shoots he doesn`t wear his hearing aid so there is no point in trying to talk to him anyway. He just ignores whoever approaches him. Add to that me being a "scary" foreigner, and it explains why he doesn`t even answer my hellos when he crosses over my property to get between Mr. O`s and Mr. K`s plots.

Anyway I got fed up with having to think about him, and as a gesture that he is not welcome I made a small fence where he shouldn`t cross. At least that way if I see him climb into my plot I can tell him to fuck off without him pretending not to know anything. It`s actually pretty nice, so I probably will make similar fence around the whole thing.

De fence

While working on the 3rd row, I can follow the progress of the first 2 rows. I figure that if I dig during weekends, I should be able to complete the 3rd row within this year easily. The ground cover in the second row is growing nicely. Clover, grass and vetch look healthy, almost covering the lower branches of the saplings so I clear those away.

Still can see the mikan though

On the first row the ground cover is not as dense, I suppose cause I didn`t broadcast as much seeds. It is now dry season, and a couple of weeks without rain. But thanks to the ground cover my rows keep their water. Another dry week after the above picture I took the below one. The mikan are still healthy, but gradually their leaves are turning yellow and dry out and fall off. I am not sure if it is normal because of them being transplanted or if it is too little water. Last time I saw mikan do that was because of too much water. For now I just observe, and keep spiders from spinning webs around the remaining leaves. New leaves are sprouting too so I guess that is a good sign. Hopefully the locusts (yeah there are a lot of them around. Almost ate my mikan sapling in the backyard.) will munch on the grass instead of the new leaves.

Grass as tall as the mikan now

The bamboo attack of this year has subsided. I can keep them at bay by just going over the north side twice a week, and the shoots I kick over are fewer and fewer. I will start cutting the tall grass in the rows soon, but right now I think they are more beneficial if I leave them. Just have to make sure they don`t get in the way of the saplings.

Two days ago one of my chickens laid the biggest egg I have seen so far. Not even in stores when I used to buy LL size I saw this size. It must have hurt real bad when it came out. It`s easily twice the size of the rest...


Oh, and I noticed that Google Earth has finally come out with a new version of the satellite image of my plots.

Meh for the quality though


It must have early in the morning in winter cause the sun is real low and trees in south are shading almost the whole plot. I can see by the two long piles of dirt on north east that the picture is taken just when I had started to dig the path between my rows. So, pretty recent. The last image was before I bought the land so... full of bamboo basically.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Intensive care

I noticed that the mikan in my backyard has all its leaves eaten up by locusts last year... poor thing just sits there like a naked stick now.

So I made a little cage for it with netting, hoping that it keeps the hungry bugs out at least until it gets big enough to afford being chewed on.

Get well soon

Here is a picture of the mikan plot by the way. The ground cover is getting thicker now. Looks good at least for now.

If this works ok, I will just have to copy it a couple more times

Oh... and last night my black chicken died so I buried it this morning. It had been sick for 2-3 days. The other chicks noticed it was sick at the same time as I did, and they started attacking her real viciously. So I separated her from the others and kept her in a private cage with water and food in shade. I figured that even if she won't recover from illness, she doesn't have to be picked to death. She ate a little bit and tried moving around a little but those 2-3 days in her own cage she mostly sat and stared.

Rest in peace. Thanks for all the eggs. I hope you had a nice life in my garden.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

The dirty dozen

Finally the remaining mikan arrived, and with them the count of saplings in my first 2 rows is 12. Interestingly enough, only harumi mikan came with serial numbers and warning labels this time.

Does it mean I can use cuttings from the others?

I had my usual fun with the descriptions of the saplings and translator app.

Engrish harumi

Miyagawa wase

Almost identical to harumi

Right, with that out of the way, I headed to the forest to plant them. When I arrived there was an old couple (probably from nearby) with their hoe digging around in the grove north of my plot among the bamboo for shoots. I noticed they had a hard time getting into the area where I laid the chopped bamboo, so they mostly dug around the surrounding bits instead. I took a stroll in the area where they couldn't reach and kicked 6-7 shoots that I could find. I suppose the shoots are now coming out seriously for this year and I need to check and kick them on a daily basis for the coming 3 or so months.
manure, water, lupines seeds and mikan saplings ready

Harumi in
Miyagawa in
And rows 1 and 2 are finished! Yeay!

So now I can spend all my time preparing row 3 and so on. Of course, I will need to cut weeds in the first 2 rows, depending on situation, as well as fight the bamboo in the north.
Here is a final picture showing what is where...
Not bad eh?

As the goumi and seaberry get bigger I will have to prune them to keep their size at bay and let the mikans grow big. 

Friday, March 19, 2021

False start

The shipping of the 2 remaining types of mikan is a bit delayed, so I already started on the 3rd row... Of course this time I made sure to take "before" pictures properly.
Not a before picture.. just really proud of my first 2 rows

Lots of branches and crap in the way that need to be cleared out. And as a first, there is also a tree stump that I need to dig or saw out...
the tree stump is hidden here by the sun rays
One more before-picture, from the side

And while I was taking pictures I had to take this "macro" from the local wildlife.
It's a little froggie in my row 2

OK, so after a bit of digging, I had marked the end of row 3 toward Mr. O's land
It's straight and narrow.

So glad the stumps of the trees I fell before are on Mr.O's side so I don't have to dig them out. They do make nice chairs and tables when I need to rest or put my drink and stuff somewhere.
And after a bit more digging, and hauling old logs, the row has officially started. The 19 remaining tatami are under the blue sheet in the background waiting to be used.
It will probably take me the whole year...

Another first with row 3 is that I have not used backhoe to dig out bamboo roots, so the progress will be much slower.
We will be having a couple more heavy rain days, and then the mikan will arrive so I can plant them. After that, it will be digging and digging of 3rd row most of the time.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Setoka in

First mikans to arrive were the setoka. Luckily the day they arrived was a nice and sunny day, with rain being forecasted 2 days later.

They came with the usual instructions

Also these tags with serial number and warnings

I tried to take a screen shot of the instructions but was not very successful to begin with.
Herro Engrish Googre

This is the least unsuccessful one

Anyway... I took with me cow manure, pig manure and some chemical fertilizer that I mixed together into the soil where I planted the saplings, and watered a lot after I was done.
Here is the result

Same thing viewed from the other end

After a couple days, just as promised, we had a whole day of pretty heavy to normal rain. I was quite worried how the newbies would fare... so in the weekend when the weather was sunny again I went and had a look. Oh, and I also brought with me 20 more tatami mats that I managed to get from the local tatami shop for free.
With these I will make the 3rd row

Not sure if they are hurt or not, but knowing that I made their beds soft and fluffy and that the water should run through it easily without stopping, I assume they should have a chance.
The green cover in the beds is coming along nicely