Monday 8 November 2010

My lettuce and Komatsuna

One of the good things about having my little balcony garden in japan, is that I have been able to try growing a wide variety of plants. So many different ones that, so far, it has been a continuous exploration and learning experience. I find it very exciting to see how every new part of the garden is doing and see the way each one grows and develops.

The excitement and satisfaction one gets when a plant has sprouted, bloomed or even just got a couple new leafs is, well enough, a very good reward for anyone growing a garden. However, there is one more very nice prize for those who venture on the tricky task of growing edibles. That is, you get to eat something you are completely responsible for. The taste of a fruit, vegetable or anything that you have grown yourself would be much better if it has all your effort, patience and care as a background.


A little of my lettuce and komatsuna harvest.

Since I was a kid, back at my country, my garden has always had some edibles that my family enjoyed happily. I was always happy to pick and eat a papaya or an orange, and I always felt proud and accomplished by having them. But, even though I always had an active role on growing that garden, the main responsibility was always on my mom or my dad. Many times they had to tell me to go water the plants, or pick the lemons that the wind took down, otherwise the plants will dry or the fruit would go wasted.

I think it was not until now, when I have a garden that is only my responsibility, that I have truly understood fully the responsibility and the accomplishment of eating my own grown food. Eating my own strawberries or my own tomato has given me very nice feeling of success that I must recommend everyone to try, at least once in a lifetime.


Only half more to go, It really has been a nice harvest.

One of the experiences I have had with this is growing lettuce and komatsuna. This is the first time I have ever grown lettuce or any greens on any of my gardens, so, mostly my method was a "wing it" approach. Luckily, as always in my garden, they have been growing well, too well in fact. Right now I have two planters so full that I must, either thin out or cut out as soon as possible.

It all started because, in my eager to have a nice harvest, I put too many seeds in the first (the big)planter. They sprouted nicely, and continued growing with no problems, but soon was obvious that they were overcrowding the pot. I didn't wanted to waste any so decided to eat a little at a time to keep them at bay, however my appetite was no match for their fast growing and then the big planter really got out of control.


In here there is plenty of komatsuna and lettuce,
there is even some cilantro too

Now, even when I decided to thin them out, is too late. They grew so much that the leafs got tangled and now is very hard to take one without hurting the next one. I decided the only option is to cut them all and start again. I hope they can still catch the season and I get to reset the big planter.

Also, having learned my lesson a bit to late, I did the same on the second planter, I put too many seeds. Now it is almost at the point of no return, when I must thin out or risk another tangled mess. I will rescue this little planter before that happen.


Salad tastes better when you grow it yourself.
I grew the lettuce, the komatsuna and the basil, I hope someday I will grow the carrot and onion as well.

Still, because I don’t like to waste, I have been having a lot of salad every day. It is no problem, because I don’t get tired of it. It really makes a difference to have truly fresh vegetables. Is not only because they are my own grown, but I have to say, this greens are very good. They are really delicious, flavorful and tender, even the stem tastes great.

Like i said before, I really must recommend to anybody out there thinking about trying some gardening, to just try it, there is nothing like having your very own little garden.


  1. Hi Fer; you are obviously a quick learner. Gardening is all about making mistakes and learning from them how to do better next time. Eating your salad plants at the baby leaf stage is good -- I reckon they taste best when they are young -- but as you gain more experience I'm sure you will see the wisdom of the saying "Less is sometimes More". That salad looks absolutely delicious! Have you tried growing sprouts (like Mung Bean shoots or alfalfa or mustard)?

  2. Yeah! Homegrown anything is delicious! Way to go Fer!

  3. I have always been a bit lazy helping to water my parents garden because I want to play with friends in the park. Now I understand too the responsibilities towards what we grow:). They grow pretty quick yeah. My komatsuna has all been harvested last week the only one left is the one that I let them flower. Last week was komatsuna harvest week. This week is Red choi harvest week. Your komatsuna looks beautiful without holes on it. I wonder since you grow them in balcony, do you have any visit from caterpillars or its mother "butterfly"?

  4. That is a delicious looking salad and the best part is knowing that you grew it yourself!

  5. I look for komatsuna, and it's look like our seskoula, I have to in my garden. I love it.
    A lot of people, think that they can't grow a small garden in there balcony, but I see your and has you said they should try.
    Have a great day.

  6. I love salads too - it's great to look at a plate of food like yours and think I grew all this!

  7. Your salad looks delicious. I totally agree with you that everyone should try growing something, having no garden is no excuse anymore, it's amazing what can grow in containers. The taste of homegrown food is far superior to anything you buy in the supermarket, and you also know how and where it's been grown.

  8. Your lettuce looks so tasty! Now that it is winter here, I will miss fresh, home grown lettuce. I can eat a salad every day - yum! I tend to get carried away over planting myself.

  9. I think it is great that you can pack so many plants in a small space. It seems to be very productive! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I really like your blog and I am glad you found it.

  10. Your edibles look delicious! As my weather cools I'm looking forward to growing more of the leafy greens that I enjoy so much.

  11. That salad looks delicious. My gardens are done for the winter - back to store bought produce with no flavor.

  12. Thank you everybody!

    The taste of homegrown is really something else! I had a similar reaction when I ate my tomatoes, compared to the store they are much more tasty.

    Mark- I haven't tried any sprouts, I might next time with more space
    Malay-Kadazan girl- I hardly ever get visits from butterflies, I think my room is too high and too windy for them. I do get the occasional hoverfly tho

    Happy gardening to all!

  13. So you have also a vegetable garden... :) Cool!

  14. Great harvest and salad!
    I believe your garden is very productive considering the space on your balcony.

  15. Hi again Fer; growing "microgreens" is the ultimate small-space gardening enterprise. I use Mustard and Cress for this. I use an old margarine tub, fitted with several layers of paper kitchen towel, as my growing "bed". You just moisten the paper, sprinkle some seeds on top, and off you go.(Mustard germinates quicker than Cress, so you can stagger the sowing time if you like). Check the moisture level at least once a day and top up as necessary, and just a few days later you will have a tasty crop -- great as a sandwich topping, or sprinkled over your lettuce salad. Works with most seeds -- e.g. your beloved Komatsuna!


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