Saturday, June 27, 2009

tou miau farm on my balcony

Early this month, my grocery bag included pea sprouts (tou miau) in a see-through plastic packaging. It must have been the season for pea sprouts because they were only 100yen* a pack. Usually vege at that price would have meant they were in season, and double or even triple at other times of the year, if we could get them at all.

This time the sprouts came intact with the beans and roots. So after slicing off the edible parts, I decided to see if I could grow something out of the rest. We found an unused container on top of the fridge, put the mass of beans in, and filled it with water.

Since the balcony next to my bed had the most exposure to direct sunlight, I placed it next to my pot of flowers. The first few days nothing seemed to happen.

But slowly and surely, tiny shoots branched out from the sides which had been sliced off earlier.

By the 1st week, the shoots measured an average of 5cm.

I was amazed that the plant managed to grow so well just by the water I was pouring into the container. The beans still had enough nutrients to grow the first batch of pea sprouts and now, my current sprouts.

Every morning I would wake up to slide open the window to see how my flowers and tou miau farm were growing.

By the end of 2nd week, they had grown double of what they were the previous week. Some shot up above the 10cm mark.

It was also around the same time that I noticed that there were "fly" looking insects hovering around the base. It was disturbing because those flies would fly into my room whenever I opened the window. I couldn't even properly enjoy the flowers without having to protect myself from the annoying insects.

It made watering difficult and I wondered if the plant was beginning to rot.

In the end, I made the difficult decision of throwing away my tou miau farm before things got worse. I almost wanted to push the whole container down the balcony because the only way I could take it down was to bring it back into my room via the window, and inviting the flies in together as well.

So one evening, I did just that (and I'm sure some of those flies came in too) and bade farewell to what could have been my next meal of pea sprouts.

*100 yen is not cheap for vege if you're coming from a tropical country with abundance of fresh produce. In Japan, however, that's the cheapest price. Any lower would have meant they were either going to be discarded or had (minor) bumps or discoloration.

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