Wasabi or Japanese horseradish is a native perennial of Japan which is used as a traditional condiment of Japanese food. Wasabi is used to garnish raw fish (sushi and sashimi) and noodle (soba) dishes. The ground root-like rhizome pungently flavors many foods in Japanese cuisine and its bright green color adds color contrast, for which Japanese dishes are famous. Some research has shown wasabi to be effective in preventing food poisoning and some forms of cancer. It also has some anti-coagulation properties similar to aspirin. In Japan, the highest quality fresh product is grown on tree shaded, terraced gravel beds covered by a thin layer of cool running water from mountain streams or on artificially shaded mounded gravel ridges formed in larger river beds Contrary to what you may have read, Wasabi is hardy and relatively easy to grow. You don't need mountains or cold mountain streams, all you need is good soil,  shade, and moist conditions. Most wasabi originates as small plantlets or divisions growing around the central rhizome of the mature wasabi plants. A large plant may have upwards of 10 plantlets which can be derived from the mother plant at time of harvest. It takes eighteen months to two years for wasabi shoots to produce an edible rhizome of about 6 inches long. You may purchase roots or seeds to start with. Seeds are extremely small and must undergo a period of cold storage before they become viable. Roots are much easier to start with and are available from several mail order sources. In Japan wasabi is grown in beds of sand or gravel through which water is constantly flowing. The cost of building and maintaining these beds contributes to the high cost of wasabi in the market place. Wasabi grown in soil commands a lesser price in the market but is not necessarily of any lesser quality or inferior taste. When your roots first arrive, soak them thoroughly in cool water. Take off any broken leaves on the plant, as these will delay the plant's recovery due to moisture loss. After soaking, plant in loose moist soil in a shaded area. The north side of a building or under a dense tree canopy is recommended.

Wasabi will only tolerate a limited amount of direct sunlight. If your plants seem to wilt during part of the day they are receiving too much sun. If the leaf color lightens or begins to take on a slightly yellow hue they are also receiving too much light. Providing some shade cloth as well as watering the plants to cool and hydrate them will allow them to pass through limited periods of direct sunlight If planting in early spring, make sure this is after temperatures no longer drop below 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

The soil should be high in organic matter and should cover the roots of the plant up to the base of the lowest stems. Water thoroughly. You should mist the plants daily and water the soil at the same time. In the winter months where temperatures fall to 30 degrees Fahrenheit and below, plants should be well mulched and protected with plastic or some other covering. Plants can even be brought indoors. If you live in a harsh winter climate this may be the only way to grow wasabi. Start out with a 6-inch pot, transplanting after one year to a 12-inch container. Wasabi needs a constant 70 degree F temperature. The plant does not require a lot of light, so do not put it on a window sill. Again a north facing light source is all it needs. A good vegetable fertilizer should be applied every six months. To increase the flavor and heat of the plant, sulfur should be added. After approximately 18 months to 2 years, the Wasabi plants will be ready for harvest. The main root (rhizome) will have reached 4 to 6 inches and approximately one inch in diameter and about 6 inches in length (total plant). Pull up the plants and remove any side shoots (baby plants). These can be used for replanting. Usually this should occur in the late spring or early summer after the plants have fully recovered from their winter dormancy and produced a full set of new large leaves. Wash the plants thoroughly and remove any dead or dying leaves. Break the roots off at the rhizome and cut off the stems and leaves. Many people use the  leaves as a garnish or even as a salad item. Scrub the main rhizome to remove any soil and debris. Grate, using a fine grater in a circular motion. After grating, chop the fresh Wasabi with the back side of a knife. This will release more of the flavor. Compress the fresh Wasabi into a ball and let stand for five to ten minutes at room temperature so that the sweetness and heat have time to develop.

Grated wasabi will not retain its flavor for very long. Even storage overnight in the refrigerator will cause the paste to lose virtually all of its flavor. However the entire rhizome may be stored in the refrigerator and then prepared as needed. Wrap the root in a damp paper towel. Rinse in cold water once a week and trim any dark edges. Wasabi may be stored for up to 30 days in this manner.


Cracks in the stem end of your tomatoes are growth cracks which may result when sufficient moisture is not available to the plants at all times during fruit development.



Earthworm burrows enhance water infiltration and soil aeration. Earthworm tunneling can increase the rate of water entry into the ground 4 to 10 times higher than fields that lack worm tunnels. This reduces water runoff, recharges groundwater, and helps store more soil water for dry spells. Vertical earthworm burrows pipe air deeper into the soil, stimulating microbial nutrient cycling at those deeper levels. Tillage done by earthworms can replace some expensive tillage work done by machinery.

Worms eat dead plant material left on top of the soil and redistribute the organic matter and nutrients throughout the topsoil layer. Nutrient-rich organic compounds line the tunnels that may remain in place for years if not disturbed. During droughts these tunnels allow for deep plant root penetration into subsoil regions of higher moisture content. In addition to organic matter, worms also consume soil and soil microbes as they move through the soil. The soil clusters they expel from their digestive tracts is  known as a worm cast or casting. Each worm cast is separate from other casts and ranges in size from that of a mustard seed to a sorghum seed depending on the size of the worm. The soluble nutrient content of worm casts is considerably higher than those of the original soil. A good population of earthworms can process 20,000 pounds of topsoil per year, with turnover rates as high as 200 tons per acre having been reported in some exceptional cases. Earthworms also secrete a plant growth stimulant. Reported increases in plant growth due to earthworm activity may be attributed to this substance, not just to  improved soil quality.


Some vegetables grow very well in pots. Swiss chard, celery, beets, peppers, lettuces, Chinese cabbage, bok choy. With these you just break off the lower leaves as you need them. I had one chard plant that lasted three years!!!! My peppers are still getting new buds and producing peppers in the house. Leeks also grow well in pots and you just cut off the top and the root will send up new shoots.


Organic practices that can help control plant diseases:

* Use disease-resistant varieties whenever they are available, as well as  varieties suited to the local growing conditions.

* Select garden locations with good soil drainage, adequate sunlight, and good soil.

* Improve the soil with organic matter and fertilizers to develop the best soil tilth for growing seeds and plants.

* Rotate the garden locations. If the garden space is too limited for garden rotation, rotate crops within the space available.

*Use disease-free transplants and seeds from reputable suppliers. Do not plant more than you can take care of properly.

* Eliminate weeds around the garden area that may serve to harbor diseases throughout the year.

* Control insect pests that serve as disease carriers.

* Pull up and destroy any plants showing diseases, as those caused by viruses, which cannot be controlled. Pull off diseased leaves as soon as you notice them to help  slow the spread of leaf spots and other fungus diseases.

*Remove and destroy crop residue as soon as harvest is completed if disease was a problem during the season.

*Do not overcrowd plants. Overcrowding prevents good air movement and exposure to adequate sunlight. High humidity and too much shade caused by these conditions    can increase the development of some diseases.


Echinacea was a universal toothache and gum disease remedy among the American Indians of the Great Plains region. Although formerly grew in abundance in that area, echinacea is rapidly disappearing in that region due to over harvesting for worldwide medicinal use.

Toothache & Gum Pain

Grind a small amount of the root in a coffee grinder. Pack the powder like snuff between your cheek and the tooth next to a sore area, or pack the powder directly into a cavity. Be sure to see your dentist at the first opportunity so that tooth decay does not progress.



"The only secret to a green thumb is brown knees"





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