Peter Matthews
  • Muko-shi, Kyoto, Japan
  • Japan
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Profile Information

Post / Zip Code
I am a...
Community Gardener
I can offer
Gardening advice
Food Growing Skill Level
Experience and Qualifications
Lots of years in the garden
I am interested in...
Community Gardens, Learning, Helping Others, Seed Savers
Tell us about your garden and what you're growing
I have a loosely maintained garden in Auckland, and share space on a private, farmer-managed community garden in Kyoto. In Auckland, I keep stocks of taro (Colocasia esculenta) from Northland, Cyprus, and Japan. I welcome expressions of interest in growing taro. I am an ethnbotanist and have studied this crop for many years. I also manage a Ning-based network called the Research Cooperative (, and am familiar with the Ning system.

Cooking with water

In Japan, we hardly do any baking - kitchens are not set up for it, and traditional cooking hardly ever needs it. Baking sweet potatoes in the hot ashes of a fire made with rice husks, in autumn, after the rice harvest, is about the closest thing we get to it. Instead, there is always soup with a meal, and there is great variety in the soups. The most healthy kinds are made with just herbs and mushrooms and seaweed for flavouring, and very little salt. Here is a New Year zoni soup cooked with small taro corms, carrot, mushroom, and chicken, then garnished with a fresh herb and tasty uzu (a kind of citrus) peel. Taro is a great crop for home gardens and community gardens. It is common all around us, here in Kyoto. In Auckland, Pacific Islanders mainly grow it as a leaf crop, but the Japanese varieties grow quite well in New Zealand. And for Pete W. - I first started looking at taro in islands of the Hauraki Gulf. It grows well on Waiheke, Little Barrier, Great Barrier, and out along the Coromandel Peninsula.

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At 3:03pm on May 14, 2012, Pete Russell said…

Sounds like the way of most places these days.  Progress in both directions eh.  Well it's great to have you with us Peter.  Have fun oooobying! 

At 3:43pm on May 12, 2012, Pete Russell said…

Hello Peter,

Welcome.  What sort of wonderful things are happening in Kyoto around localising food? 



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