Japan Wanders

Life in Ibaraki

I planted Komatsuna (Japanese mustard Spinach), Arugula Rocket and Turnips seeds 2 weeks ago in the end of March. I Used what I will call the conventional method as it is the method you find on most seeds packaging and Japanese gardening books. and consists of planting seeds directly in the field in 0.5-1cm depth at about 1 cm intervals. About 2 weeks of growth, although the germination was successful (grossly 70-80% success) and the first true-leaves started to appear since a few days I now am having the following two issues. (1) Some patches areas did not germinate or plants died and (2) I have insects eating leaves. Let me explain more in details those issues

Regarding the patches: I believe this may be due to some local environment difference and could be anything like a crusty soil, or some pH difference, or different water contents, or eventually some mold. It is a problem because It makes leaves spaces without plants and would result in lower yield.

Regarding the Insects: I believe this is the result of small beetles living in the ground, and I don’t think that a net would be of any use for this. It is a problem because it potentially affects healthy plants at a good location and affect significantly my yield and overall vegetables quality.

The only way I can think is to try control seeds germination and early growth in small pots in a a more controlled environment at home and then select the bigger, healthier plants and transplant them in the field. After some search it seems that transplanting the 3 species above is possible. Additionally I know the seeds of the young plants of those species are very weak and want to disturb them as less as possible so repotting may be delicate. I can think about the 3 following ways

(1) using a biodegradable containers which I could plant directly in the field without being scared to disturb the weak roots of the plant.

(2) or try to have a plant slightly more mature before transplant

(3) improve my technique to transplant without damaging the plants roots of the size of the plants available in a garden center.

I may end-up trying all 3 ways and see what works best for me.

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