We started organic farming in Japan. Part-1 Soil prep – planting

One of the things we were very excited about trying once we move to Japan were

HOUSE FARMING

and the kind of lifestyle where you get to eat the veggies you grow. ideally, organic.

Before moving to Bangkok, I had lived most of my life in the developed area of the world, where, the safety of the food was a given. I had never taken the whole organic food thing too seriously. Food poisoning was something that happens only when you rot your food by yourself, and accidentally eat it. NOT something caused by someone else, who you pay to get food from.

But living in Bangkok changed all that reality and my laid-back attitude about food.

What I didn’t know was that Fresh and safely grown(&handled) vegetables are SCARSE and EXPENSIVE.

You never know what you’re putting in your mouth, where it’s been, whether the last person who touched it has washed his/her hands, or if somebody sneezed on it, or dropped it and put it back(it happens) or, did the restaurant care enough to buy veggies from a quality hygienic farm? this lettuce looks like something I saw on the shelf in MACRO..(a cheap wholesale grocery outlet) and the freak-out goes on.

I mean, the standard of hygienic conduct can vary between countries.

Living in Thailand proved to me that I happen to have a very low immunity to bacteria. Not that I only ate the street food or anything. I mostly cooked my food and ate at the expats’ go-to restaurants because of my newly sensitive stomach. But even that, I got food poisoning quite frequently. like, more than 10 times a year. (and before Thailand, I only had 1 major one in Taiwan, and that was it. )

This led me to start appreciating the “safe” food a lot. and nothing can be more safe than the food you grow in front of you.

Sorry for the long intro. but that’s how we started digging the idea of the whole organic farming thing.

Back in thailand, we lived in a condo and the only “farm” we had was these avocado trees in the balcony.

We did not have any tillers. So we used this ancient looking farming equipment from my grandfather.

Under the soil there were some super thick roots spread around the whole area, resembling the monster from the Stranger Things season 2 (the spider looking one).

This process really made me think of buying one of those electric tillers. it cost over 100K yen so it’s a bitch much for a hobby that we are just trying for the first time. – –

But all rational reasons not to buy them aside, it’s a wonderful invention. The digging was not fun.

After much digging and pulling out the weeds and tilling the soil, my hand was ruined.

These vegetables will literally grow on my blood, sweat and tears. 😛

Once the soil got soft and weed-free, we spread lime.(The white powder)

 The purpose of this is to increase the pH level of the acidic soil.

I never knew the vegetable likes alkalic soil.

Japan’s soil is acidic due to its acidic rain from the broken ozone layers.

But since seeing the weeds growing strongly in these abandoned acidic mess,

vegetables are high-maintenance ones for sure.

We waited one day to mix the powder into the soil.

Lime takes 1 week to settle into the soil.

(There is a thing to test the pH level of the soil. But we skipped it this time due to us being lazy. But we might do it next time if we fail this time.)

Then we have to mix in the fertilizer.

We need to do this process separately from the lime because of some chemical reaction they might cause when they are done together, which is bad for the quality of the soil.

**However there are some types of lime which can be put at the same time as the fertilizer. such as the magnesium lime we used for the second block of farm we prepared days after (pictured below)

We used 2 types of fertilizer. The one for the multi-purpose, and cow poop.  and also some random one I found in my familys’ garage.

We waited another week for the fertilizer to settle.

Meanwhile the transplants kept growing madly.

Some even had flowers.

But we waited patiently.

Almost 3 weeks after purchasing the transplants, we planted them.

Transplants : 1 of each

  • Small pumpkin
  • Regular pumpkin
  • Golden egg squash
  • Round de Nice Zucchini
  • Green peas
  • Eggplant
  • Cucumber
  • Bitter gourd
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Regular Tomatoes
  • Bell pepper
  • 2 kinds of peppers
  • Celery
  • Asparagus
  • 2 kinds of watermelon

Seeds

  • Coriander
  • Daikon leaves
  • Spinach
  • Cosmos flower

This is the overview of our little farm

We planted the watermelon in the soil fertilized with the cow poop, since we heard watermelon is the most difficult one and that cow poop is super good.

This block also has veggies that grow without the plastic cover such as celery, asparagus and the weeds to grow on the soil.

All the others are planted under the black plastic cover to keep the soil temperature, retain water and preventing weeds.

Lastly we put a pole next to each plants and fixed the plant with a string in order to protect its body from strong winds.

We will keep posting the updates of our first farming experience in Japan.

Until soon & stay tuned 🙂

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