Japan

blissv at nmhu.campus.mci.net blissv at nmhu.campus.mci.net
Fri Jan 9 19:21:47 EST 1998


At 10:25 PM 1/8/98 +-900, you wrote:
>Hi Vicki!
>glad you're back online. Right now it's raining like &%$# here, with temps 
>in the low 40's. Needless to say, no picnics today. Your previous note, 
>along with Intro. to Permaculture, got me going with my composting for next 
>spring. I've been heaping kitchen scraps, wet newspaper, and garden 
>clippings into a bottomless compost bin. I'd like to put some worms in 
>there, but I don't know if it would be too cold for them. Poor little 
>critters.
>	One solution to this might be doing an indoor vermicompost bin under my 
>kitchen sink. Might be pretty stinky though, huh? :^o The garden I work in 
>is pretty far from my apartment, so I might do better to start some plants 
>on my balcony.
>I could hang some tomato boxes over the railing and maybe set up a shelf 
>for herbs. It might get ugly during a storm though -- there are plenty!
>	I live on the outskirts of Himeji, which is about 50 km west of Osaka. 
>Himeji has about 500,000 people now. A common thing is happening here: My 
>old, formerly rural neighborhood is fillling up with prefab apartment 
>buildings (like the one I live in now)  at an unbelievable rate. They're 
>going up where ricefields and gardens used to be. Roads are constantly 
>being torn up and widened for new utility upgrades and more traffic. I 
>think the situation is directly related to the proliferation of automobiles 
>in Japan. Along with it comes traffic jams and foul air. Sorry to be so 
>negative.
>	What I wonder is, where are the new tenants coming from? The countyside 
>has already been abandoned for the most part, so these folks must be coming 
>from the more concentrated urban cores. BUT historically, Japanese people 
>prefer being in the center of activity, so why would they be moving out? 
>Lower rents? Less noise? Who knows...
>	In spite of these downgrades, Japan is still a great place to spend time 
>and learn. I hope you get a chance to come here sometime. Be sure to bring 
>your raincoat though ; )
>
>Jonathan
>
>Dear Jonathan, 
I would love for it to rain here! We have snow threatening..how I would
enjoy a good drenching rain.
 How bottomless IS your compost bin, Jonathan? Is it dug into the ground?
When you said bottomless I had quite an image come to mind...I don't think
it's too cold for worms at all. I put them out in the compost all winter,
little bundle by little bundle and they burrow where it's warm enough and
then, by spring, the compost is well-worked and FULL of the wigglers.  I
also think your idea for an indoor worm bed is good. I have an arrangement
in my greenhouse that I scoop the worms out of to put outside in the compost
as well as in all the beds in spring AND the castings are rich and full of
minerals for my soil mixes for flats and containers. I wrote something about
it once..probably in the archives or you might even remember..I can forward
it if you'd like.

As far as the smell goes, I don't think that would be a problem..I have
found my worms really go for the fruit and peelings best..They eat it FAST
and the soaked cardboard is a favorite that really doesn't make a lot of
smell..I just cover whatever is in the bin with a layer of peat (which they
also eat) or soil and there is no smell. I suppose it depends how meticulous
you are..Personally, I don't feel right if there isn't a little dirt
around..too much sterility gives me the willies.

Your balcony is a perfect place to start and grow some plants...zone 1
things you use alot, salad greens and herbs.  Did you see the Global
Gardener show Bill did (can't remember which segment) where he shows you an
apartment balcony where there were lots of nice things growing (even water
chestnuts if I remember correctly)? You could wire down planters that you
are concerned will blow over in storms.  I have friends in a penthouse in
Seattle that created prolific rooftop gardens and balcony plantings that are
astounding all right downtown. It's the only garden they have so they really
made it work.

It sounds as though rural Japan suffers as most rural places do at some
point. Where I was raised in Missouri, there were pristine places I would go
as a kid and teen to hike, hang out or ride motorcycles that were WAY out in
the boonies. Now when I visit there, it is apalling to see palatial homes
piles up on top of each other right where the most beautiful farmlands and
natural places were..Saddens me and yet it is what we see everywhere. It
could have something to do with why I am so far away from anything much here
in NM..It will be awhile before there is anything like urban/suburban sprawl
around here..I hope anyway! My sister loves Japan..what do you do there?

Stay warm and dry, 
Vicki



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