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This journal is written by Kuma (Felis catus) and Kuma's owner Y (homo sapiens). We have moved from Japan to Australia in 2011.

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2017-07-26 04:52   What animals eat daikon leaves?

Y (Kuma's owner)

I grow vegetables in the backyard. I used to grow broad beans but I didn't sow them this year to avoid replant failure. I sowed snow peas, onions and daikons. I found a small space to grow snow peas where I haven't grown broad beans before, so I don't have to worry about replant failure.

Usually, I can expect lots of peas this season but this year is different. Some animals sneak into the backyard veggie patch and eat peas and daikons. I have no idea what kind of animals eat my veggies. It's about once in every three days, I find my veggies are eaten, especially daikons.

Daikon

Daikon is a very popular vegetable in Japan and I love it. It's a kind of root vegetable, like carrots. You can buy daikon in big cities like the Gold Coast or the area where many Asians live but not in my town. So, the only way to get daikon is to grow them myself. Luckily, one of the famous hardware shops in Australia, Bunnings, sells daikon seeds.

One morning, I saw three kangaroos hopping in the backyard and I found some daikon leaves were eaten. There were two footprints of kangaroos left in the veggie patch. I was wondering if kangaroos had eaten my daikons? There are other animals that eat vegetables around here. Possums love to eat fruit and vegetables as well. I know they live here.

The daikon leaf has tiny prickles. I think snow peas are more delicious than daikon leaves but something seems to love daikons more than snow peas. The Daikon is not a native plant of Australia. I don't know what animals eat daikon as at least I guess that this was the first time to encounter daikon for them. For me it's unlucky, for them it's lucky to know the taste of daikon leaf. Daikon leaf contains plenty of Vitamin C. Maybe it's good for them.

My biggest concern is what are they? This area is a habitat of bandicoots, echidnas, kangaroos, possums and some mice. I think bandicoots eat mostly insects and I don't think they eat daikon. If I could I would like to take a picture of them. Currently, all I can do is put baskets on each daikon seedling.

| | Category Gardening

2017-06-11 23:26   Winter vegetable garden

Y (Kuma's owner)

I grow vegetables in the backyard and the veggie patch is covered by a net. My vegetable gardens had been giving me lots of fresh and organic vegetables, and had been worked well until before this winter came.

Recently, the temperature suddenly went down and I think wild animals are having a hard time finding food. Then, they found my vegetable gardens.

I have planted snow peas, kidney beans, lettuce, daikon and spinach and all of them have been bitten by something. I guess it must be possums.

Daikon

The reason that I thought that possums ate my vegetables is the spinach has been eaten. Usually, insects hesitate to eat the spinach because it contains oxalic acid. Another reason that I am suspicious of possums is my vegetables were always eaten at night. The possum is nocturnal.

Spinach

I searched on the internet to find the solution of protecting my vegetables and found out that it doesn't seem easy. The possum can climb trees and fences and they are clever with their hands. I found a spray for avoiding birds and animals but I don't want to use chemicals and hesitate to use it. Therefore, the only solution to protect my vegetables is grow them in the veggie patch that is covered by a net.

I like possums. They are charming.
I keenly realise that it's not easy to coexist with nature.

Veggie patch

| | Category Gardening

2017-03-13 02:42   The season that the refrigerator is full

Y (Kuma's owner)

It's March. People say that it's officially autumn. I cannot agree with "It's autumn" because it's still hot. Yesterday's maximum temperature was 32 degrees Celsius (89.6 degrees Fahrenheit), to me this temperature is enough to call it summer.

However, I can feel the temperature is going down little by little. The view around here, people still wear short sleeved clothes and short pants, it doesn't look like autumn at all but I know it's coming.

Looking at the garden I thought it's time to buy flower seeds for my winter garden. Winter around here is not cold and I have to choose the flower that can be grown in a warm winter. I like Pansies and Violas, they are colourful and bloom in winter. Almost every year, I grow Pansies and Violas, so I wanted to grow different flowers but couldn't find suitable flowers.

Viola seeds

For growing Pansy and Viola here, I use the refrigerator. Putting the seeds in deceives them that it's winter now. I leave the seeds for about one month and take them out in late summer or autumn and sow them. The seeds think that it's spring and start germination. It really works well.

I have some Hyacinth bulbs. I have to keep them in the refrigerator for a while too, otherwise they won't bloom here.

So, it's the season that the refrigerator will be full of bulbs and seeds. I hope autumn is coming soon.

| | Category Gardening

2017-03-02 21:28   What are you, little one?

Y (Kuma's owner)

I have sown some Acacia seeds, commonly known as Golden Wattle. There are many kinds of Wattles in Australia. The Acacia is a bird attracting plant, and the birds called honeyeaters love it.

I checked the tray where I sowed the seeds everyday, and five days after I sowed them, I found a tiny sprout, just one. I gazed at it with expectation thinking that it must be a Golden Wattle!

However, I didn't have any proof that was a Golden Wattle. It could be a weed. To begin with, I didn't know what a Golden Wattle sprout looked like. I searched the Internet for pictures of it but I couldn't find any. The sprout on the tray looked just like an ordinary sprout; it has tiny round leaves, that's all. Then, I thought if the other seeds germinate, I would be able to compare them with the first sprout. If the sprouts have the same appearance, they must be the same plant, the Golden Wattle.

Days have passed, and I'm still waiting for them to come out. I sowed the seeds about two weeks ago and still nothing has happened. The first sprout has not grown yet; it's just there, and nothing has changed.

Are the seeds going to germinate soon or not? I thought that if the sprout is a kind of weed, I can pull it out, but if it was a Golden Wattle, I will regret it.

What are you, little one?

| | Category Gardening

2016-11-03 03:36   Blue and Purple Flowers

Y (Kuma's owner)

October is over. I can't believe that the year 2016 has already passed for 10 months.

Evolvulus

I have taken several pictures of the flowers that were blooming in my yard in October. Coincidentally, there were lots of purple and blue flowers blooming. I love blue flowers. This is my favorite flower, Evolvulus. I love this blue very much. This flower can be grown from cutting stems.

The following picture is Lobelia. Lobelia blooms purple blue tiny flowers. In the peak season, stems cannot be seen by covering flowers. The seed of Lobelia is very small like powder and difficult to sow but once it's established they grow easily.

Lobelia

The next flower is Lavender. They have a beautiful fragrance and bees love them. I heard this type of Lavender is difficult to grow in the area I live but it seems all right.

Lavender

The next picture is Plectranthus ornatus. I didn't know the name of this flower until today. I think they are kind of succulents. They are very strong in heat and a nice ground cover plant.

Plectranthus ornatus

The last picture is the most common purple flower in Australia, Jacaranda. This tree is not an Australian native but commonly seen everywhere. After they drop petals onto the ground, it looks like a purple carpet appears and it's really beautiful.

Jacaranda tree

| | Category Gardening

2016-10-11 23:53   Japanese Ginger, Myoga

Y (Kuma's owner)

Have you ever heard of Japanese Ginger, Myoga?

I love Myoga very much. I didn't expect that I could get Myoga in Australia, but I can! I looked for some online shops of nurseries and I found it. It was a website of a membership nursery and it said that Myoga is only available to its members. I checked the membership fee and decided to join.

Yes, that's right. I became a member just to get Myoga. I really wanted the seedlings so there was no choice. I paid the one-year membership fee and became a member. So finally I've got the right to buy Myoga.

Japanese Ginger, Myoga

I bought three Myoga seedlings and they arrived yesterday. Myoga has peculiar fragrance that I love. However, it depends on the person. Some people love it but others don't. I think small children usually don't like Myoga.

Myoga can be used in Japanese food and in salads. I like salads with thinly sliced Myoga on the top. I keep thinking of lots of recipes despite only having small seedlings. I know it will take a long time to harvest them. I hope I can harvest some Myoga next year.

| | Category Gardening

2016-08-29 04:26   Growing Plants

Y (Kuma's owner)

I love growing plants. I always buy seeds from internet shops. There are lots of varieties of flowers and vegetables, especially the vegetables that I would like to buy are Japanese vegetables, and there are more varieties on the internet than in the local shops.

I think most Japanese like to eat leafy vegetables and so do I. My favorite leafy vegetable is Tokyo Bekana. I love their light green colour. The colour is similar to Australian Yellow Leaf Lettuce.

Japanese Leafy Vegetable Tokyo Bekana

Winter is almost over here and it's time to sow seeds. Most Japanese leafy vegetables are kind of Brassicas and lettuce is from the family of Compositae. Inconveniently, insects love Brassicas rather than Compositae.

The season in which insects become active is coming. Somebody said that planting Brassicas and Compositae alternatively is effective. I think it's worth a try.

It's warm and fine weather today. All right, let's sow tomatoes!

| | Category Gardening

2016-06-12 05:42   Queensland weather

Y (Kuma's owner)

I live in Queensland, Australia. My Aussie friends say winter is a beautiful season in Queensland. It's winter now. Yes, as they said it's beautiful. I love Queensland's winter too!

In summer, it's very hot, but I think Queensland's summer is more comfortable than Japan's, especially Tokyo's summer. The point is humidity. If the temperature is the same, high humidity makes you feel more hot.

blue sky

My local people believe that Queensland is humid. To me, it's not so bad. Maybe Queensland is more humid than other states in Australia, but it's not like Tokyo.

I can see the differences of humidity between Brisbane and Tokyo by watching insects. Some locals believe that there are many insects in Brisbane. Well, I don't think so, because I haven't seen many insects here. If they come to Tokyo and see insects, they would be surprised.

Most insects prefer to live in an area with high humidity and warm or hot weather. My impression of insects are weak for a dry environment. I thought of the reason why they prefer humidity. Their body is very small and it's easy to loose water in their body. I thought that is the reason. Please do not believe what I wrote, if you want to know the real reason, please ask an entomologist.

I love gardening and Queensland is a good place to grow plants because there aren't many pests compared with Tokyo. Well, it's nice weather today too. I 'm going to take care of the veggie patch.

| | Category Gardening

2016-06-02 12:06   Everybody loves peas

Y (Kuma's owner)

Things haven't gone as I planned, especially nature-related things.

I sowed peas last month and most of them were eaten by mice, but it was not only the mice, the Crested Pigeon also ate the peas in the backyard. I can imagine how peas look delicious to their eyes. The peas' soft and thick leaves look really yummy, and they are good as pigeon's salad.

Crested pigeon

Mice are more troublesome. Wherever I plant peas, they would come at night. I found a cylinder shape of holes in the box where I sowed peas. The diameter of the holes was really small. It looked like a hole that was made by a pencil stuck into the soil. They are very clever with their hands. The holes directly reached the peas as if mice knew where the peas were. How did they know where the peas were? They are provokingly clever.

It is quite difficult to grow peas. In the daytime, pigeons aim at peas and at night, mice come out. What should I do?

So, I thought it through and decided to grow peas in a veggie patch which is covered by a net. No mice have appeared inside of the veggie patch, so it seems like that is the best place to grow peas. This is the third time I'm sowing peas. I hope the mice don't notice my secret place.

| | Category Gardening

2016-05-17 01:05   I finally sowed peas

Y (Kuma's owner)

Summer is finally gone, hence it's autumn now.

However, mother nature is not so simple, she changes her mind on a whim. I've been here in Australia for about five years but still can't predict the weather.

Additionally, I'm in the Southern Hemisphere. The seasons are opposite of those in the Northern Hemisphere. That makes me more confused.

I had been waiting for autumn because I wanted to sow peas. (I wrote about this story on previous journal.) Peas won't germinate in hot temperature. One day, the temperature went down suddenly, and I finally sowed peas. Yay!

Contrary to expectations, things didn't go smoothly. If I compare sowing peas to a story, it was still chapter one! There were some characters in this story that I didn't expect; mice, possums and pigeons. They all love peas like I do.

a wire basket with net

So, I bought some wire baskets to protect small pea seedlings from pigeons. They worked well, pigeons were walking around the baskets but they couldn't eat peas.

It's more difficult to protect peas at night. It's a time of mice and possums. Both of them have a keen sense of smell.

I was really amazed that mice took peas with pinpoint accuracy. They didn't make a mess, they dug a cylindrical hole direct to a pea. They have deft fingers!

Anyway, mice ate the peas and I have to sow peas again. I think I'm around chapter three now. To make this story have a happy ending, I will keep eye on my peas.

Snow Pea

| | Category Gardening

2016-05-02 06:01   I want to sow peas!

Y (Kuma's owner)

I heard that autumn is the season to sow peas.

All right, let's grow them!

I went to Bunnings, the local hardware shop and bought a package of Snow Peas and Snap Peas in April. I had a veggie patch with wire mesh behind. Everything was ready.

However, the temperature didn't fall as I expected. I have been trying to sow peas once or twice but abandoned because of temperature.

One day I was about to sow peas but the temperature suddenly went up and I couldn't do it. The last day of April, just before the three-day weekend started, I checked the weather forecast and noticed that next Monday will be over 30 degrees Celsius. So, I postponed sowing again. I felt like I was dancing a step forward and a step backward.

And today is the day that was forecasted that the temperature will go up to 30 degrees Celsius. It seems the weather man was right. It's getting hotter now.

I wonder when I will be able to sow peas.

I feel that I could understand how farmers make lots of efforts to grow vegetables.

| | Category Gardening

2016-04-26 04:52   Lettuce, lettuce everyday

Y (Kuma's owner)

Cultivating vegetables was one of my dreams. This dream came true a year ago. My husband made two big veggie patches for me. One is a Decagon-shaped veggie patch and another one is a long rectangular veggie patch. I was excited to grow vegetables and flowers because when we were in Japan, there was not enough room to plant them.

I was a beginner of growing vegetables and wondered what vegetables are easy to grow. I searched for information on the internet, and asked my neighbor who is good at growing vegetables. I also bought some gardening magazines.

First, I bought some seedlings of lettuce. I followed my neighbor, Rebecca's recommendation. Before I had started growing vegetables, I didn't know that growing lettuce was convenient. I used to buy lettuce or a pack of salad leaves at a supermarket. These leaves had to be kept in the refrigerator. So, my refrigerator was almost full. After I started growing lettuce, I could get leaves at the veggie patch as I wanted.

Being pleased with my lettuce, I started growing other vegetables. There are various kind of vegetable seedlings and seeds at Bunnings (One of the hardware shops in Australia). I have liked seeds since I was small. I think of seeds like a time capsule. It has been waiting for the day of opening. Every time I see a germination, I'm happy.

Lettuce

I have started sowing Capsicums, Tomatoes, Zucchinis, Brussel Sprouts and Japanese vegetables. I knew buying seedlings was easier and quicker than sowing seeds, but you know, I love seeds.

I thought I could manage it well, but gardening was not as easy as I thought. Usually, seeds don't germinate 100%. It depends on temperature, pests or how old seeds are. That was why I sowed seeds generously at once, this was my mistake.

Not every time, but most of the time, seeds germinated well. I didn't expect it. According to the specialist of cultivation, I should have sorted out the seedlings. The weak seedlings had to be pull out and throw them away, but I couldn't do it. I felt sorry for them. This was my second mistake.

Lettuce

Then, what happened after few months was lots of lettuce. Lettuce, lettuce everyday. This was the first wave. Second was tomatoes, and capsicums followed. If I were in Japan now and read this journal, I'm sure I would have said "I wish I had that problem." Please imagine eating lettuce everyday. Even if I changed dressings I couldn't stop from getting tired of it. I gave some to my neighbor, but there was still some. I didn't want to throw food away, so I ate them all.

Since I have learnt from my mistakes, I haven't sowed so many seeds at once. However, there are still seedling that I showed lots before I noticed the mistakes, and I'm paying the price of my failures now.

Okra, okra, okra...

| | Category Gardening

2016-04-22 21:26   Bitter Melons (Goya)

Y (Kuma's owner)

As autumn approaches, some of the summer vegetables in my backyard are getting smaller. The zucchinis are still growing, the tomatoes are not too bad, but the Japanese bitter melons (Goya) seem to be almost out of season. They are still in good condition but the fruits are getting smaller.

The bitter melon is my favorite vegetable. They are cultivated in Okinawa Prefecture a lot. Okinawa is an island located in the southern part of Japan. The climate of Okinawa is subtropical, the same as where I live, that's why I can grow them well.

Japanese Bitter Melon

The first time I saw a bitter melon, I didn't have a good impression because the surface of bitter melon is uneven and I associated with a sea slug. The taste is, of course bitter. It depends, some people don't like it but I like it very much.

I didn't expect that I could buy bitter melon seeds in Australia, but I found them on the Internet last year. I bought them and started to grow them. Their germination rate was high so they were easy to grow.

A seedling of Japanese Bitter Melon

One day, I was looking at a seedling of the bitter melon and noticed the difference between bitter melons and most other plants. Most plants have cotyledons, as do bitter melons. But bitter melons have a second layer of cotyledons. There must be a terminology that I don't know. After the germination, the first layer of cotyledons come up and then another layer of cotyledons come up, and finally the true leaves come up. How unique!

The season of bitter melon has almost ended. I'll keep some seeds for the next season.

| | Category Gardening

2016-04-18 10:00   Waiting for autumn

Y (Kuma's owner)

Finally, autumn has arrived and is just around the corner. Yes, I mean it has not arrived here yet. Today is a bit hot. I am still wearing short sleeve T-shirts and short pants, and writing this journal using an electric fan. See, it's not autumn.

I've been waiting for autumn because I bought vegetable seeds that can be sown in autumn. I've got broad beans, snow peas and snap peas. I have some Japanese vegetable seeds as well that I have bought from an online store. How convenient online shopping is!

Peas

Australia is a land that has peculiar vegetation and it is very strict to inspection of live plants and animals. So, I'm happy that some gardening nurseries sell Japanese vegetable seeds. If they don't sell Japanese vegetable seeds, I don't think I would have grown them because it takes lots of time and trouble for applying seeds for quarantine.

Daikon

Since I started my kitchen garden, my refrigerator has not been jammed, because I can pick vegetables when I need them. I don't have to keep them in the refrigerator which is good.

People who love growing vegetables used to say that they can eat safe food. That's right, but more than that, gardening is good for my health. I believe gardening is a kind of sports. Digging holes, carrying heavy soil and heavy sprinkling make it a sporty hobby.

Autumn is coming soon. The busy gardening season will begin.

Komatsuna

| | Category Gardening

2016-03-08 02:14   The long garden bed project 2

Kuma

My human J has been working very hard on the long garden bed project. If you have read my previous writing on 23rd January, I think you already knew. My humans decided to make a long garden bed (veggie patch) in their backyard. The timber of this garden bed is spotted gum, it is a kind of hardwood. That makes J more hard to work with.

In the beginning, I thought the project was too hard to complete but J made big progress. He spent almost every Saturday and Sunday on the project. He is now going to set up a water system inside the garden bed frame. Once it was set up, it would be easy to water the plants.

Please take a look at the following photo. This is long, isn't it?

garden bed

Human Y, who loves gardening, has started to plant some vegetables and flowers. There are tomatoes, zucchinis, capsicums, okra and parsley. She is happy with the garden bed but it is not only her, wild birds are also happy. For example, King Parrots love to eat green tomatoes. Human Y seems to be disappointed a little but she says it is OK. She thinks she is paying tax for nature.

We live in a subtropical area. It is still hot in March. Y wants to grow sweet peas but it is too hot for them. We are looking forward to autumn coming.

garden bed

| | Category Gardening

2016-01-23 11:04   The long garden bed project

Kuma

garden bed

One of my family members J likes woodworking. And Y likes gardening. They discussed and decided on a new project. Well, I think you already got one. It's a garden bed project. They have already built a garden bed and a veggie patch before, but this time they are going to build a long garden bed. Maybe I can also call it a long veggie patch because they are going to grow vegetables there.

garden bed

The shape of the garden bed is uneven, and it looks like gear teeth. It is divided into lower frames and higher frames. The reason they designed this shape it is easy to reach the rear side of the garden bed from where there are no lower frames.

garden bed

Moreover, they can take care of plants while standing. It is tiring to crouch down. And there's one more reason. This reason is special to Australia, kangaroos don't enter the garden bed if they make it higher. If kangaroos really wanted to jump on the garden bed, I think they could do it easily, but I don't think they would.

While they are making it, their imagination has spread bigger and bigger, and they have decided to make additional things. One of the ideas is making a bird's place, putting a water bowl on the garden bed and arranging branches around the bowl. Another idea is making a possum box. The imagination is infinite, the budgets are limited. That is the problem.

The long garden bed project is on.

garden bed

| | Category Gardening

2016-01-10 09:50   Decagon-shaped veggie patch

Kuma

Hi, I am Kuma, and I am a cat.

Well, this is my second writing. I am going to write about the veggie patch in our front yard this time.

One of my human family Y loves gardening. When she visited the neighbor's backyard, she saw a veggie patch that was covered by net. It was a really good one.

Since then she couldn't get it out of her head. She had kept saying that if she could have a veggie patch, we could eat fresh and organic vegetables. Though it was true, yet it was not all the reasons. I knew she just wanted it, that's all. Human beings have a big brain, and they can make up lots of reasons as they like.

Anyway, her dream came true. Another family member human J built a veggie patch for her last year. It wasn't an ordinary one, it was a decagon-shaped veggie patch. Isn't it interesting?

Decagon-shaped veggie patch

This veggie patch looks like a planetarium or a big bird cage. I suppose even Big Bird on the TV program "Sesame Street" can be kept there. The 5 pipes cross at the top of the roof, then a star mark appeared unexpectedly. J said jokingly "If a UFO came, what should we do?"

A Star at the Decagon-shaped veggie patch

Y is very happy with the veggie patch. She grows lots of vegetables there now. She grows lettuce, carrots and some Japanese vegetables. As humans expected, vegetables grow well but a UFO has not come yet.

veggie patch

| | Category Gardening

The end of the entry