Thank you for all the nice comments about my previous post about farming in Japan. Further to that, one interesting thing I have noticed while farming over here, when I talk to other farmers and tell them I am American they all tell me how much they envy American farming, with its big tractors and large plots of land!
Yet in my eyes it is the small manageable size of plots of land here in Japan that makes farming accessible to common people. Even many of these same jealous farmers then go on to tell me how they can’t make any money from their farms because all the profits go to maintain their machines. Still more friends who would be interested in farming say they can’t do it because they can’t afford the equipment, all while more and more farm land in Japan goes unused.
Meanwhile my family farms our land with nothing more than a shovel, hoe and scythe which all combined cost well under ten thousand yen. Granted planting rice takes a lot more time to do when its done by hand, but done in the company of good friends, it turns into a
fun social event which can be enjoyed by large groups of people regardless of their age! Even if we did have to do it ourselves it would only require a few days time, which is much more affordable than the millions of yen it would cost to purchase the required machines.
Another key factor that enables us to do it by ourselves is using a no till method of farming. That means that we don’t turn over the soil every year or between crops in one season. We let the worms do all the digging and just lay anything we want to add to the soil on the top. Not only does this save us a lot of back breaking work, but it is good for the soil as well, and your yields will improve the longer you do it.