Joseph in the garden, age 2

As a child, I could often be found out in the garden, helping dad in his vegetable patch. Potatoes, leeks, onions, cabbages, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and more – we grew the lot! From making compost to planting the seeds to harvesting the crops, I loved this process, and since then, despite not having had a vege garden of my own, I have always been growing something (usually avocado trees).

So, when Ricky was born, I was keen to introduce him to the wonders of gardening. As a newborn baby he didn’t show much interest, but as soon as he turned into a toddler he was merrily trying to eat the soil from the houseplants.

Fast forward to the Spring of 2016, and Ricky was now about 2 yrs 6 months old, the perfect age to get started! Despite living on the 14th floor of a central Tokyo highrise, we’re blessed with enough space on the south-west facing veranda to fit quite a lot of planters, and a garden bench. Each year we buy in about 60 litres of fresh soil, then make a trip to the garden center (Super Viva Homes) to choose our seeds and seedlings.

Ricky chooses tomato seedlings

Ricky chooses tomato seedlings

Tokyo has a great climate for growing tomatoes and other salad crops that back in the UK we’d need a greenhouse for. This year, along with tomatoes we grew peppers, aubergines, lettuce, rhubarb (eaten by something after a few weeks!), basil, parsley and coriander. Oh, and some sunflowers for a splash of colour.

I encouraged Ricky to play an active role in all aspects of the process, giving him initial guidance and then letting him get on with it (see the video for Ricky’s approach to planting a baby lettuce!). He really loved it, and did a great job of keeping the garden in production mode. Cherry tomatoes were our main crop, and over the course of several months of harvesting we enjoyed hundreds of them (most eaten by Ricky!).

Overall it was a hugely successful project, and we’re very much looking forward to starting again in the Spring.