Urban Permaculture (In Japan)

logank at mail.wind.co.jp logank at mail.wind.co.jp
Mon Jan 26 03:24:49 EST 1998


This is our first post to this list, though we've been lurking for a while, so first a little background on our situation:  We are Ken and Lisa Logan, and we are expatriates living in Japan.  We've been here for a few years, and dicovered permaculture about a year ago.  As a recent post said, our chances for learning permaculture in Japan are almost nil, though I was happy to hear that Bill Mollison will be coming here soon.  I doubt we can make it to Tokyo to see him, however. :(

Nevertheless, we'd like to grow some of our own food, using and learning as many permaculture techniques as we can.  We've read several intro books, and I am devouring the Designer's Manual at the moment.  One problem I can't find many answers to in the books is that of urban situations.  I can find references to it, but not a lot of concrete informations or examples.

You see, we rent a little 'house' on a piece of land almost the exact size of the house, so we have nowhere to make a garden.  We do have a nice south-facing patio area, and were thinking of growing some plants in buckets, planters, tires, or whatever we can find.  We'll be leaving Japan in a year or two (three??), so we don't want to invest in a lot of equipment, long-term plants, etc.  We were hoping that we could tap the imagination and experience of the people on this list to help us.

Does anyone have any experience with this sort of situation?

We'd especially like to know about guilds, combinations of plants, and/or suggested plants in general for our situation. We're thinking of a bunch of herbs (herb spiral??), squash and/or melons, bell peppers, some beans, tomatoes, etc. -- we'd like to have some success at this, so the easier to grow, the better. :)

We'd really like to try some of the plants we see a lot in the permaculture books like Jerusalem Artichokes but we don't know where to get these more exotic (for Japan anyway) seeds, or even if they'll do alright here (if they aren't local varieties).  Any ideas?

The patio itself is fairly narrow but long east to west. It's a little over 1 meter wide and 4 to 5 meters long (4' x 15' or so), with a translucent white-ish corrugated plastic 'roof' over it.  We have a little space (about a meter square -- could get a little more here & there) that isn't covered, on the east side of the patio.  We are going to need some kind of windbreak on the west side -- that is where the strong winds come from, and there is a 'konnyaku' (a Japanese root vegetable) field there that gets sprayed several times a year with pesticide.  We *really* don't want that stuff on our plants!  If anyone wants, we can take a picture and e-mail it to them.

I apologize for this being a little long.  We welcome any and all comments and suggestions.  Thanks a lot.


Ken & Lisa Logan 


The philosopher Diogenes was eating bread and lentils for supper.  
He was seen by the philosopher Aristippus, who lived comfortably by flattering the king.
Said Aristippus, "If you would learn to be subservient to the king you would not have to live on lentils."

Said Diogenes, "Learn to live on lentils and you will not have to be subservient to the king."

   ‹-The Song of the Bird by Anthony de Mello

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