Sunday, April 09, 2006

First attempt at Japanese agriculture

Although I played around in the rice fields last year, this was my first real attempt at agriculture here in Japan. I teamed up with my father and mother-in-law to grow "rape buds" to sell to the local agricultural union. It was a bit of an adventure into the unknown as I had never even seen a rape bud let alone grown one. I had no idea what I was letting myself in for!

It all began in September last year when my father-in-law planted not just one, but two rice fields with rape plants while I was away in New Zealand on holiday....

From November to March I spent most days harvesting the buds in the morning and then packaging them all afternoon, evening and well into the next day. Rainy days became a dream come true as you can't really pick them when they are wet and Fridays were always a holiday and the day most looked forward to each week. The work wasn't hard, just very time consuming.

And of course you are wondering was it worth it?? Well..... money wise it all added up to a couple of tickets home to New Zealand or a couple of doors for our new "guest house". If you looked at the daily totals it was a lot of hard work for not very much money, but in the end it did add up. It was also satisfying to count the finished products and take them off to the market, but..... it definately isn't an experience I want to repeat again next year. With two small children to look after it is just too time consuming. Maybe after they go to university I will consider planting the same volume again!

Describing what is actually done is a little difficult, so here are some photos to show you the process…

The rape fields....

Lying the buds out to wilt

Buds ready for packing

Packaging the buds

A finished bundle

The finished product


  1. wahoo Jo, good pics of rural nihon at work. Way to go. I hope you're able to keep it up. More seeds to come.

  2. Mickey12:47 PM

    Hi, Jo.

    Now I ate rape buds in pasta at lunch.
    I said to buds, "Hi. Where are you from? Possibly did you come form my friend's field?"
    Because this pasta made in Fukuoka near Nakatu city.

    See you!

  3. Thanks for commenting on my "blog" Dad and Mickey. I hope I can continue to write it and show you the new developments in my garden. I ordered my first jars today to start my jam empire......
    I hope you enjoyed your pasta Mickey - I don't want to see anything with "nabana" in it for a long time!