About to Burst

After weeks on end of stunning early summer days, we’ve finally started to get some rain during the last week. Japan has a rainy season, but it’s kind of hit or miss — the weather people suddenly say we’re in it, and just as suddenly declare it’s over. Neither pronouncement has been made yet, as far as I’m aware, and in rainy Kanazawa it’s kind of beside the point. But as much as I love the sunny days, there’s nothing like some steady rain to kick the garden into gear.

A lot of the plants that I planted in the spring are starting to produce, and it’s the first time I’ve experienced many of them.

Nanking cherries are a lot smaller than I anticipated. I’m not sure if this is because it’s a young plant, or if this is it. They aren’t overwhelmingly flavorful, but hey, I’ve got cherries in my garden!

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Autumn olives…in June? I did get a different variety than ‘aki gumi,’ so that could certainly have something to do with it. But both of my plants are laden with these tart berries that are fun to pick off and eat. They are probably 50% seed by volume… I’m enjoying eating them as is, but will probably experiment with making jam out of them at some point. These plants are also renowned nitrogen fixers.

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Coming soon — blueberries.

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This is the ‘3 sisters’ area of the garden — corn, beans, and pumpkin. In theory, the corn gives the beans something to climb up, the beans give nitrogen to the corn, and the pumpkins provide ground cover. The jury’s still out on how this is all working out… Keeping the pumpkins off my lawn is my primary concern.

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This is a tiny slice of forest garden theory in action — chamomile, dill, sage, and shiso all growing in close proximity, each serving several different functions…maybe. It’s all kind of willy-nilly now.

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Behold the Jerusalem artichokes…growing higher by the day. Not sure if they actually taste good, but apparently they make you fart a lot, so there’s that. Look at that clover! I’ve cut it twice now, and it’s just a great seemingly endless source of green manure. Not sure it’ll ever blossom at this rate, but maybe that’s fine.

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The main veggie patch…doing great. It’s a teeming mass of tomatoes, eggplant, corn, lettuce, broad beans, various peppers, zucchini, snap peas, radishes, carrots, herbs, chard, and cucumbers. Quite a mess but everything seems to be doing OK. Still waiting on the bulk of those veggies, but have been enjoying the broad beans, snap peas, chard and lettuce for a few weeks now.

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The pond is looking great now that it’s actually got some water in it. The wildflowers around the edge are all in bloom, and the cattails are starting to sprout some new shoots. This just might work.

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Finally, some aerial shots. Hopefully 5 years from now the trees will be much more prominent.

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The side yard, a bit shady. Need to obscure that nasty retaining wall at some point, but I’m pretty blind to it at this point.

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Things are pretty much on cruise control now, and I’m just in charge of pulling weeds. If all goes according to plan, at some point down the line there will be far fewer weeds, but we aren’t nearly there yet. I love this time of year though, when our daily meals consist more and more of things that have grown in our garden. Time to go!