We are leaving tomorrow and I still have lots of photos in my blog file, so here they are...One of the pouring rain days we've had every day for the past few weeks, until today which was (and still is) boiling hot.
Ready to be made into casserole. One of my many sick (now dead) tomato plants. New baby Money Maker. This was the best tasting tomato, so I hope this baby plant makes it. This is a small bushy plant with little white flowers that my husband "rescued" from some mountain. It was totally attached to the ground and blocking my access to the reisentraube tomatoes. My husband finally moved it and we saw why I couldn't get the pots to budge. Serious roots! My husband replanted them along the path up to the embankment. No need to worry about landslides with those roots.The new access to my tomatoes! Harvest a few days ago. Our second mango seed. My husband clipped it before planting. Our first mango seed (planted as is) sprouted a baby mango tree! Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to take a photo. My wonderful husband filled in the moat surrounding the new pumpkin vines with cut grass from the embankment. Our only significant Howden pumpkin. Newly potted tomatoes. I am going to try to cage them. M washing carrots. Balloon flowers have loved this terrible weather.
We are leaving for the US tomorrow and so I want to have a basis of comparison for when we get back on August 18. I got about half of the spare tomatoes potted. I have lost all but three of the big tomato plants (2 Evergreens and a Cherokee Purple survive) to some sort of wilt, it might be the yasude eating the roots, but the roots look really strong. I don't know what it was. Cherry tomatoes front left, edamame in the middle, a few remaining large tomatoes and some basil and green beans back right, shiso shiso everywhere on the right. The Black Plum are the strongest survivors of my tomatoes, unfortunately they have kind of a mealy texture and are really best for cooking. The sugar lumps are going strong and I still have two Reisentraubes which are the tastiest. I lost my original Sweet Orange II and Chadwicks Cherry but second generation plants are doing well. A large shiso thicket front left, behind it are more cherry tomatoes, behind that (not visible) eggplant and peppers. Cucumbers back right, cosmos front right. Watermelon in front, okra, zucchini (2 second generation plants not visible). Two zucchinis, lots more shiso surrounding the carrot patch, and 3 surviving large tomato plants at the back
We picked our first kabocha ever! And our second kabocha ever! We must have two of everything in this household! We took a peek under the upside down cinderella pumpkin and found that ants were nesting on the bottom. Yucko! So we flipped it over, though we had to pull out some roots it had put down. And now we have two right side up cinderella pumpkins. The stems still are not woody, so I guess they are not ready to harvest yet. It is really hard to tell. Speaking of harvest... Here is this afternoon's harvest. Including our first two second generation cucumbers. The large tomatoes are evergreen, that's as red as they get.
So I'm thinking maybe we should give up on zucchini and tomatoes and grow shiitake instead. This morning I went outside to find...these huge mushrooms growing out of one of my potted plants by the driveway. Fungi everywhere! Little white ones growing out of the sand next to the path to the classroom. A close up of one of the little white ones. They also grow on the lawn. Brown ones grow on the lawn, too. And the lawn has some sort of invisible but deadly fungal infection caused by overwatering (!!) which we need to kill with some chemical, but it never stops raining long enough to apply it. Even when it isn't actually raining, the humidity is 99% so it may as well be raining. I feel like we live in a tropical rainforest. Udonkobyo (white flour disease?) is also running amok through most of the garden, especially the cukes, pumps, and zukes. I spent hours today cutting off pumpkin leaves and carting them down to the river. A cucumber leave with more advanced udonkobyo.
Most of my plants, like me, hate this endless rain and high humidity and many have died or are slowly rotting. Not the pumpkins! They love this weather! The pumpkin vines have become like steam rollers, flattening everything in their paths. This is a Howden vine ready to smash a blueberry bush on the left and mallow tree on the right. After a long hiatus, they have also finally started to produce female flowers again. We had a few (1 Howden, 2 Cinderella, and 2 kabocha) baby pumpkins that got started in May, but after there was not a blossom to be found for over a month. I go out and check bright and early every morning because we hand pollinate, but the few female buds shrivelled and died before blossoming. However...The drought is over! The floods are here and the girls are loving it. We get 3 or 4 female flowers a day (from 7 vines). We have 3 Howden vines, 2 Cindrella vines, and 2 kabocha vines. Plus a bunch of extras that got planted a few weeks ago. The day after pollination. These are our early Cinderellas. Getting bigger and bigger, but the stem isn't getting woody and they don't sound hollow, so I guess they are not ready to pick. One is right side up and the other... is upside down. I'm a little bit worried they might get stolen as they are far from common in these parts and pretty exposed on the embankment. We will have to rely on our trusty watchdog (who is the biggest coward in the world and is even afraid of our cat) to keep them on the vines until they are ready to harvest.
I know it is rainy season, but enough already. Everything is rotting. Except the weeds of course, which are thriving. And the pumpkins, but more on them in another post. M is very unhappy that we haven't been able to go to the park (i.e. the mud pit) to practice monkey bars. To me, this is the silver lining, no park! Balloon flowers, which are doing very well this year. I guess they like the rain. My husband took this photo of the lily. Not to end on a drippy note, some of the sunflowers have survived the dreaded dust bugs and are blooming (or about to bloom).
Money Maker. I only had 2 seeds, only one sprouted and the plant died. But I got one vine ripened tomato and several box ripened. This was the best tasting tomato I grew this year. An almost smoky flavor to it. I will get more of these seeds next year for sure. I am raising one baby plant from a clipping and hoping it will survive! Marmande super. It definitely won the beauty contest. A very stylish tomato. One would expect no less from the French. Nice flavor, too, but hard to tell during rainy season as they are all a bit watery. I lost both of these plants. Brandywine top and bottom. It was a little bit bland, but quite tasty. The blandness is probably because of the continuous rain. I hope it survives until we return in August. Cherokee Purple. A VERY unattractive tomato. But what it lacks in looks, it makes up for in taste. It is really yummy, great texture too. And it seems to be quite a good producer, and not to mind the terrible weather here. If you don't like the view from the top, just look at the bottom... It looks like a normal tomato from beneath! Evergreen. It is hard to tell when it is ripe, but it gets a little bit yellower, especially on the bottom. Also quite tasty and a good producer. The only type that has multiple survivors (my large tomato survival rate is at only about 30% right now).
I am originally from Hamden, CT, USA. I have lived in Gifu, Japan since 2000. We moved to this house on June 30, 2007 and started to work on the garden immediately. Our yard was a completely barren sand lot when we moved in. I am currently mostly a SAHM to our three daughters, M (6/2004), L (10/2006), and K (5/2011). I teach English to children two days a week from our detached house.