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Tokyo Tent Tribulations 2023-2024

Well here we go again! After my friend @Alejandro took the last two plants off my hands (Jamaican red hab and sugar rush cream), I'm starting from scratch for the first time in a while. Very, very humble beginnings: One sprout and one hook!


Granted... they're both basil. :)

Still under the lid, waiting for hooks:

Alma paprika
Looking forward to having these again. I grew them quite a while ago and had good results; hopefully, having gotten a bit better with the hydroponics, this time will be even better.

Chocolate habanero
Another one I've grown before (not looking to do much new this time around, mostly bringing back the old favorites). I know annuum x chinense isn't the most reliable mix, but if I decide to revive the hybrid experiments, I think it'd be pretty fun to try and cross choco hab and alma. Thick-walled smoky medium-heat paprika, here I come!

Perilla (Egoma)
In Japan, shiso is very popular, but in Korea, this stuff is much more common. It's also used to make my wife's favorite type of kimchi, so I figure I'll see if I can get it to grow well in the tent, rather than having to trek into Korea town every time we want some.

Since the tent is completely empty, I figure I might also start up some of the old mini container experiments again, though I haven't put any thought into what to grow. Maybe Trippaul Threat? We'll see.
Nearly a month on, some good progress!


The alma on the right is happy and slowly starting to set fruit for the first time, while the Purple Thunder and Lemon Starrburst have been moved into their own bags (back left and center, respectively). The two bonchi almas are also healthy. Might go ahead and chop the main stems down a bit just to see if I can get them to bush out a bit.

The basil is... well, I had thought I'd need to clone it to get enough, but holy crap is it going nuts. The photo above is just after the second harvest, shown below; I have more pesto than I know what to do with, and have started freezing it in small containers. This is about two weeks of growth.


Not really much else to say; this is the extent of the grow for now, though I may get some Kratky experiments going again. So here's the guppy. I asked him if he wanted some rice, and he said yes, so I gave him this. Unfortunately, he then declined to give it back...

...Purple Thunder...

Plants are looking good and healthy 'Fish. Watch out for this guy. He might blow right through the top of the tent. Mine consistently are over 5ft tall, some 6ft. They are planted in the ground though - might make a difference. Good luck with it. Good pepper.
Plants are looking good and healthy 'Fish. Watch out for this guy. He might blow right through the top of the tent. Mine consistently are over 5ft tall, some 6ft. They are planted in the ground though - might make a difference. Good luck with it. Good pepper.

Thanks for the heads up! @Alejandro has the other PT seedling, and I think he'll be putting it in the ground when the weather gets decent, so hopefully he'll get the same kind of crazy results.
...I think he'll be putting it in the ground...

Tell him to give it some head-space, lol. Purple Thunder is always the tallest pepper in the garden. This plant in 2021 was about 6ft tall, give or take. Good luck with it. Great pepper, especially if you like heat.

PT Mystery IMG_20210920_154832496~2.jpg
Not much new growth to report, of course, but I've just done three things.

First, I finally ordered seeds domestically. The selection is crap, but there's a few Japanese varieties that are interesting, so I picked one up. It's called Yatsufusa, and it appears to be a larger-fruited version of the Hawk's Claw, another Japanese pepper. I've already grown Nanbu, which were really good, so hopefully this'll be another solid addition to the domestic pepper stable.

Second, I started germinating the last two Rocoto seeds I have. If at least one of those pops, I'll be happy. :pray: Ideally, that will make Rocoto and Yatsufusa the fourth and fifth top-shelf plants when they're big enough, with the rest migrating to the bottom.

Finally, I started four of the varieties I want to try and preserve, because most of my seeds are at least several years old at this point. Also cleaned out the vault to get rid of a bunch of stuff I don't intend to grow again (and probably couldn't anyway, since most of them are positively ancient at this point). After these four, there are ten more I'll hopefully be able to sprout and save fresh seeds from over the next couple seasons. We'll see if any of them sprout.

Anyway, for this grow, we'll try to salvage these:
  • Chocolate Habanero
    One of my favorites. I tried to start some recently, with no luck, despite having relatively fresh seeds I'd saved myself.
  • Lemon Drop
    I enjoyed this one, but haven't grown it in years; it also turns out I didn't save any seeds when I had them growing, so this one is from very old stock.
  • Caribe
    I have it written down that I liked this, but... I don't remember it. Another one that's getting the spray-and-pray treatment with all the old seeds I have left.
  • Zapotec Jalapeno
    I never ended up getting this one to grow well, so -- once again -- a lot of very old seeds went into the coffee filter.
Anything that sprouts is getting a small container. I thought about using Kratky, but I've screwed that up so many times that my chances will probably be much better just using coir for everything.
Today I started a bunch of beans -- six in coir, six in coffee filters, since I'm not really sure which will work best -- and a nice batch of Yatsufusa seeds in a filter. Got a few good homes lined up, and by the time these get established, it should be nice enough out to stick some in front of the house. It's been a long time since I contributed to our decorative foliage, so that's fun.

In status news, the plants are looking great! As usual, the almas are so dense it's hard to even keep track of when they start fruiting. I finally pushed a couple leaves out of the way, and it turns out we're moving along nicely.


Even the bonchi twins are fruiting up. I peeled back the cheesecloth a tiny bit the other day, just out of curiosity, and while I didn't see any big roots, I did see a ton of tiny ones right on the surface of the medium. Which makes sense, since I intentionally put very little of it in there. Not planning to disturb these plants for at least a couple more months, but I'm definitely encouraged by how well they're doing. Fingers crossed for this one; if the cheesecloth thing turns out well, I can see this becoming something I get into more regularly.


I had hoped the Purple Thunder would bush out a bit if I topped it, and wow, it looks like it took that to heart. I don't recall ever seeing a plant sprout so many new leaves this quickly, so hopefully we're on the right track.


No buds on this one yet, but I'm in no rush, and I've only just switched up the nutrients to encourage flowering. The Lemon Starrburst has been flowering tentatively for a while, but hasn't set fruit; it also doesn't seem to be in a hurry, so we're on the same wavelength. I'm guessing they all coordinate while I'm not looking and I'm going to end up with a surprise harvest at some point and no idea what to do with it.
The basil production is just unmanageable, so I've decided to keep one out of four of those, and start some other herbs to go in the same container. Just ordered sage and holy basil seeds, and will probably start either shiso or egoma again, which I already have... also going to start romaine lettuce, which I got seeds for quite a while ago, and finally get those in a container.

The almas are podding nicely, and as usual, everything else is taking its time. Plenty of buds on the Lemon Starrburst, but none yet on the Purple Thunder, though it is growing extremely well.
Finally, an update that's hopefully worth reading!

To start off with the bad news:
  • I just don't have a use for almas any more. So that plant has been sacrificed to the great garden in the sky.
  • My Purple Thunder did set one pod, but only because I'd missed pruning a particularly long branch, and didn't even notice the pepper until I got around to it... the plant just refused to set fruit until it got a couple feet tall, which I just can't accommodate. So that one is also done.
This means the top of the tent is looking very spacious. The Lemon Starrburst just put out a small batch of pods (more on that below), and I've pulled off the cheesecloth that was protecting the bonchi's soil.


I'd assumed that just watering the bonchi after pulling off the cheesecloth would erode the soil pretty quick, but... nope! That's going to have to be a manual process, because this thing is solidly packed in. Hopefully this means it'll start looking pretty slick pretty soon.

On the bottom shelf, clockwise from the lower left: Newly-transplanted Zapo Jal and Yatsufusa, sage, holy basil, perilla, and basil. The holy basil grows very well, but turned out to be... kinda weird. Very little smell. Haven't tasted it yet, but if it's not pretty surprising, I may uproot this thing and replace it with cilantro. At least I know I like that.


The alma did put out a fair number of pods (and, weirdly, they corked). Also pictured, the first pod from the KSLSB. Unfortunately, that plant came from seeds from a plant that turned out really big fruit; seems like we didn't get that trait. Ah well.


This treasure was unexpected. It's an alma! Looks like a freaking tomato. The poor plant had a heck of a time just staying upright with this growing on it; I propped it up with two pairs of chopsticks and some twist ties.


As mentioned previously, the KSLSB did turn out some pods, but not many for the first batch. So here we have a small hot sauce fermentation that's more than half garlic. It does also have a bit of yuzu peel, though, which should be interesting. Yuzu is a Japanese citrus; the fruit isn't all that great, but the peel is massively popular. One of our neighbors has a yuzu tree, and gave us a few of the fruits, for which we normally have no use. So I figured I'd throw a bit of one of them at some hot sauce and see what happens.


That's it for the plant updates, aside from having had a chat with @bansho hot sauce, with whom I'll be having a bit of a sauce/seed exchange. :)

In other news, my wife's birthday was last Friday, so we went out for some really good sushi. At one point they ignited some salt under this shell to boil the broth they'd put inside of it; certainly one of the coolest dishes I've seen.

Interesting grow this season, ‘Fish. Sorry the
Purple Thunder didn’t make the cut. They
really want to be bestial!