Spring was in the air this balmy March 6th Sunday as I set out for my 10,000 steps walk (actually did over 11,000).
Within a minute of leaving our condo's front door I knew that spring must really be just around the corner (I had just gone around the corner) when I spotted this fellow, shovel in hand, tilling the soil for his summer garden.
Those little stakes mark out one of the 126 mini-garden plots in this field that are available for rent by residents of our ward. A quick online check showed me that there are actually 1,564 of these little plots available around the ward for a small rental fee of 3,000 yen. I know that some people manage to rent a couple of them and one restaurant in our neighborhood (Happy Go Lucky - Mexican Restaurant) uses the vegetables they grow for some of their fresh, tasty dishes during the summer & autumn months.
Would you like to try your hand at "gentleman farming"? Click here if you want to see a list of all such spots available in Tokyo. You'll have to be able to read Japanese (or use Google Translate) to find out about the procedure for applying. Or, you can call your local ward office and ask.
Many people enjoy growing their own vegetables and getting a bit of dirt under their fingernails on the weekends. Some even have all tools to avoid the dirty fingernails; like this little tractor I spotted in another field a few blocks further on. This was a bigger field so the tractor may be used by just one farmer in this field or it may be for community use - no signs spotted for information.
Some even go to great lengths to have fresh veggies and maybe a few flowers year round as evidenced by this roof top greenhouse I saw.
Others may have a few pots on their veranda. That's what I did last summer with my tomato garden. Okay, my tomato plant. But the two tomatoes I got from it were good!
Of course, vegetables are not the only use for a nice garden and this condo building courtyard I spotted decided to make good use of their common courtyard by planting flowers, trees, and even a nice stone lantern.
So, there you go! Farming in Tokyo. Break out that hoe. Dust off that shovel. Head to the plant store and stock up on a few seedlings and next thing you know your family will be dining on home grown corn and maybe even organic goodies!