Saturday, December 27, 2008

Winter Planting Season

Crops are grown between October and March in Okinawa. The weather is cooler, the bugs are down, and it rains. I didn't catch on last year until about February, so my garden wasn't immensely productive. This year, as you'll see in my next blog post, my garden is doing much better.

[The flats around Furuzamami Beach]

The old people of the island are up just a little bit later than me each morning, working from dawn until early afternoon in their garden plots.

[That's the school over there]

I am inspired by the sustainability of the older residents who farm. They do all the work by hand. I haven't yet seen a rototiller or tractor at work. And they provide themselves with their own vegetables for about six months of the year, plus they sell the excess. This eliminates much of their living expense, leaving them only with utilities, maybe health-care co-pays, and the food they can't grow (or that's what it would leave me with if I was old, minus the health part).

Many of the pensions/hotels wisely have their own plots. The others buy vegetables from the old people. Last year I tried hard to organize a baked bread barter with somebody who was growing, but most people already had obligations for their crops. Though usually my requests for an exchange just resulted in the other person giving me a huge quantity of potatoes and onions for free. I plan to implement this strategy again this winter.

I like walking past this garden plot because it's the only one in Zamami that my garden beats (in progress, not area).

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