Thursday 29 September 2011

A perfect container for growing strawberries in the balcony

As you know, I have lost my strawberry twice patch so far, once to some unknown disease and other time to beetles. So, to avoid having to buy everything from scratch again, I decided I must have some sort of back up strawberry patch. The only problem is that my little garden hardly can fit more plants and having duplicates for six varieties of berries takes a lot of space. Fortunately I found a perfect container to fit all of my berries in a very compact way.


A great container for growing strawberries

While I was browsing around the 100yen store (dollar store) I found this amazing planter. It is a stackable three way pot. It is great, just the perfect size and depth. I can set my strawberries the same way as in a traditional strawberry jar pot, but because this one can be taken apart it is much easier to maintain. Also, I can shuffle around the levels to assure each plant gets lots of sun when they need it.


I can stack them and keep all my strawberries in a little corner

It is always good having a back up for valuable plants and this is just the planter I needed. Some of the strawberry varieties are hard to get or a bit expensive. I will save a lot of troubles and costs in case something bad happens (it already did, but more about that later).


Now I only need to make some tags

The next step is to keep organized, I need to make some good labels and tag which strawberry is which one.

Friday 16 September 2011

Tomato harvest

This season my best crop came from the tomatoes. I had tree plants and they just kept giving more and more. I had some setbacks of course, but over all the plants performed splendidly. Last year's season I only got eight tomatoes total, but this time I already got more than that out of the big tomato on the first harvest, I was very pleased. I really never expected to have so much out of them, it was great seeing that much difference. I can't wait for next year to try again.


Big ripe tomatoes ready for eating

The first plant I set up was a big red tomato which I put on the corner to give it the best sun . It grew really fast and thick and started giving flowers right away. Then, when it got a bit heavy with fruit, it slowed down a little, but after every harvest it started growing fast again.


The mini yellow tomatoes were my best success

The second one was a very rich yellow mini tomato. It was in the middle of them all and it very soon took over the spotlight. It grew very fast and so tall, that at the end, I had to tie it to the roof of the balcony. I got around 150 tomatoes from it alone which meant it was the most productive of the three plants.


This plant gave the most delicious tomatoes of all three

The last plant was a very tasty red mini tomato. It did well to, but I had a couple troubles at the beginning because the main stalk broke. The time it got to the tomato to recover delayed its crops a little and I got a bit less from it than from the orange one. It also was the one that got the most damaged from that week of drought I talked about before. Still, I had a nice crop out of it.


Ready to be picked

Because they where doing that well I wanted to measure the production so I counted and weighted every one and did the math. Taking reference from store bought tomatoes of the same kind my total crop was worth around 6000 yen (78 dollars), a very healthy sum for tree plants in a small balcony. And the best of it was that being home grown I had them all very fresh and they tasted amazing


Tomatoes are a must have for any garden

Now their season has ended and it is time to take them out. I liked how the combination of one big and two mini tomatoes worked, I might try something similar again. However I will start checking new varieties and planning what to do next year.

Any recommendations?

Thursday 8 September 2011

New gardening books

Ever since I started to grow my little garden in Japan I have been wanting to get some gardening books from here. I always kept from buying them by making excuses like not having money or not knowing the language, but I finally let myself be and got two. I bought one about container vegetables and one about fruits.


My new gardening books

I figured I really needed to get some reference books because I was struggling a little with the vegetables seasons and dates to sow. I am used to live in a very warm weather where things grow year round, but here I have to take into account a very marked winter and the cold days. Having some reference dates from the books really makes my life much easier. I also wanted to have the books because there are many vegetables here (bekkana, komatsuna, etc.) for which the information in English is a bit hard to come by.


I must try some of these special watermelon for containers

It took me a lot of time and comparing to pick them, but I am very happy with the ones I got. They are very detailed and clear, they also have a lot of drawings explaining everything, which is crucial to me because I am still learning Japanese.

I think it is interesting to see how here in Japan they have a lot of gardening books specialized on container gardening. I guess they are many people like me, who lives in the city and doesn't have space for big gardens, just a small balcony to grow. It is also nice seeing how gardening is a very common hobby, they are many different authors and publishers, and I see new gardening books coming out every year.


Japanese strawberry types, very useful

I really like these gardening books, they have nice drawings and a different approach to what I am used, so they feel fresh and special. They also have a lot of regional tips which I can use, and some ideas I haven't seen in western books; I think I will learn a lot from them. With those new insights and the western knowledge I got I think I will be able to expand my gardening skills and grow a very successful balcony garden.


I like that they have a lot of tips on container gardening

Keep posted, I will write about the new things I learn and how they turned out.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...