Slow Life Japan blog is up and running again after a two year absence. A new manager, David, started in January and the project has some momentum again. This post is to update you on the major progress since mid January 2019.

With the assistance of our volunteers from all over the world, we have built a grapevine pergola and planted ten vines, which are now starting to grow nicely. We have finished building the polytunnel and got the cover on. At the moment we have some tomatoes, melon, cucumber and aubergines growing. The blueberries are doing well after a little pruning and we should get a good crop this year. We also have some false strawberries growing wild around, not as tasty as strawberries but you can’t complain about free food. A couple of weeks ago we dug up the bamboo roots that were growing wild and ate them which were quite delicious with a floral taste. It’s a popular thing to do this time of year in Japan when they are popping up everywhere. The top field is being prepared to plant an Australian and Mexican garden around June time. Lot’s of tree cutting work going on there to clear the area. We may use some of the tree roots as features in the garden. We are making raised beds from bamboo in the vegetable garden and are about halfway at the moment. We go into the nearby forest and cut down the bamboo and carry it back, which is good fun for the volunteers. We did have potatoes growing in the veg garden but as the existing fence is old and weak the wild boar breached the defences and helped themselves but we did manage to save a few kilo for ourselves though. So now a new fence is needed. The veg garden is not too productive this year as most of our effort is on the construction side. We do have some lettuce, sweetcorn, asparagus, spinach and beans growing at the moment. Our two tea fields are doing okay after some TLC, not as well as they should be though, but hopefully they can do well in the future. Some of the orange trees in the tea field field did not make it, we lost about a quarter of them. We recently setup a water system for the veg garden and polytunnel which collects the rain water from the roof of the house. We collected half a ton of water in two days which is pretty good. Its also linked to the house water in case there is not enough rain. We are preparing the wooden house for airbnb by fixing the balcony and getting the property registered, so that should be up and running soon in case you want to come and stay without working. At the moment unwanted plants are growing so fast in this climate and it’s a big job keeping everything at bay. Lot’s of strimming and weeding. It’s starting to get quite hot here now so being so close to the beach is nice as we can cool off in the sea. It’s also handy to be able to get a load of free seaweed which contains many nutrients for the garden.

Fruit Field

Group Photo 5

Group Photo 6

We have started to work with Phil from Momenta Kids and every couple of weeks we have a group of around 20-30 Japanese kids visit for the day to learn English in a fun outdoor activity based environment. The volunteers get involved too. So far we have done two of the events and there will be more in the future. The kids really enjoy it.

In the next few weeks we will be continuing to build the raised beds, build a new fence for the veg garden, plant the Australian and Mexican garden, get the wooden house ready for airbnb, wood cutting and generally keeping the place weeded, cleared and tidy. 

All for now, i'll post again when there are some major updates.

Slow Life blog from the Lake District

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Yewbarrow House Gardens

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