Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Garden Report - May 2005-

Talking of my balcony garden…

Dill sprouts?

These look like dill sprouts resulted from my second attempt this spring. It took more than 3 weeks for them to sprout. So unusual!

Well, it’s been very disappointing this year, to be honest. Last year I didn’t plan well ahead of time, so I ended up sowing some seeds quite late. When it got very hot in July, most of my herbs were still young and weak, and they died one after another because of the heat and disease. I didn’t want to repeat the same thing again, so I seeded herbs in late March this year, which I thought to be the perfect timing.

What went wrong? Well, we did have a strange weather this spring… we had a cold snap in March, then it got unusually hot in April for about a week… But I don’t think that should be the reason why all the herbs I seeded this year–-- parsley, sage, dill and basil --- didn’t sprout at all. Especially, the basil seeds were usually like fail-safe…there was no year that they didn’t sprout, as far as I remember.


Look at the lemongrass… I bought the young plant in late March and planted it here. It’s just turning brown now instead of growing.
Right next to it, where covered by a piece of newspaper, I sowed parsley seeds again today. This is my 3rd attempt this year! Sigh.

Now on a brighter side:

Blueberry "sunshine blue"

Good thing is that my blueberry is doing fine, except that right now it’s growing more leaves rather than blooming. This blueberry plant is a strange one actually. When I bought it last November, it went into almost full bloom right away. Someone told me that those flowers just die in winter and would not bear fruit, so I took them off to give the plant a rest during winter.

I guess my biggest mistake was that I still kept taking off flower buds in late February and early March because I thought it was still a bit too early for the normal blooming time for blueberries. But maybe for this particular kind, sunshine blue, it WAS the normal blooming time. I expected my blueberry to be in full bloom in April, but it didn't happen and instead, my pretty sunshine blue started growing more leaves and forgot about flowers. Ahhhh… !
I guess I can’t expect many berries this summer…

Dog Rose

This is definitely doing good. This plant was just like this in early spring. Now see how much it has grown.

Apple mint and spearmint...can't tell which is which.

They’re always fine, no matter what.

My crazy attempt of growing rhubarb in this warm part of Japan is still going on. I don’t expect my little rhubarb to grow much bigger than this in this planter, though… I might bring this planter to my parents house again sometime soon and ask them to plant this rhubarb somewhere in a shade in my dad’s orchard.

Well, things don’t look too exciting right now, but we’ll see…


Anonymous said...

We wish that we have green fingers like you, so that we can have more fresh organic greens.Alas the two of us even hate to mow the lawn haha. 

Posted by Phan

Anonymous said...

Hey.. Obachan,
I'm gonna ask my FIL for some tips for you .. ok.. :) 

Posted by MrsT

Anonymous said...

Hey Obachan! Wish I were as ambitious as you... I just planted some shiso sprouts and have all my fingers (and toes)! crossed. I'm not very good with plants, but I love shiso, it's expensive and not always easy to find in London so a Japanese friend gave me some seeds. Any tips? Domo! 

Posted by Vivilicious

Anonymous said...

Mint you can leave in the ground all year round , they come back every spring.. even in our crazy cold winters.. we went away for 5 weeks one summer and came back to find 3 ft hedges all round my yard , we had to hire soemone to hack the roots and everything as the roots go very deep and invade everything. Do not mix your mint. spearmint has long leaves and apple has round leaves but if you plant them too close they eventually get crossed.
As for dill they come back every year too if we leave the plant with seed for the winter.
Lemon grass, try to grow them with some protection..I put them between my dill ( over 3 ft tall ) and rhubarb They need sun but he wind sometimes gets a bit cold here.
Have you tried growing lemon balm???  

Posted by keona

Anonymous said...

would it be easier to just buy some herb plants that have already been started? I know it is like cheating, but, it is a big help to have the plants already started....We get blueberries a bit later in the summer in New England. I'll keep my fingers crossed.....

Posted by carlyn

Anonymous said...

>Phan --- I don’t really have green fingers but it’s just fun to watch plants grow. I don’t know if I’d love mowing the lawn, though.

> MrsT --- Thank you.

> Vivilicious --- Oh I’m the worst person to ask that question to. I can only tell you what NOT to do. This  is what you should never ever do. I guess you have a better luck with shiso over there than I… here it gets too hot and humid in early summer and balcony is the worst place to grow anything then with direct sunlight and heat from the building, outside part of the air conditioner, etc…

> keona --- Thanks so much for the tip! Mints are really amazing, aren’t they? I guess my mints already got crossed. : ( I don’t know what to do with my lemon grass at the moment…I’m not even sure if it’s alive or not… I haven’t tried growing lemon balm, but I heard it’s really easy to grow. Maybe I should give it a try.

> carlyn --- Yes, it’s definitely easier that way, but around here I can find real popular herb plants only. I’ve never seen any dill or sage plants here… and it’s a lot cheaper to start from seeds. But if it fails again, I might give up growing the herbs I want and instead, just buy whatever young plants that are available and grow them.  

Posted by obachan