Saturday, June 19, 2010

Goodbye goji

I've had enough of goji bushes and I've torn them out.

If they're not being 'skeletonized' by leaf beetles, a process which leaves them without leaves, they're being 'powderized' by mould which leaves them 'skeletonized'. For something which is supposed to make you live until 108, the life-force seems to be very weak in these plants. I'm tired of seeing their thorny, leafless, flowerless, fruitless boughs hanging all over one corner of my garden. I'm going to plant something useful in their stead.


Anonymous said...

I am living in Ottawa (zone 5a) and have been given some goji branches by a Chinese neighbor. I just stuck them in the ground and they are growing and producing very well. I first had troubles with slugs so I put lots of broken egg shells around the base of the branches and the slugs stayed away. I wonder if the climate is too warm for the Goji as I believe it is a Himalayan plant and may need more then 0 degrees at night in the winter.

My wife is from Mizonobemachi, Matsuyama. I see your picutres and I wish to visit Bachan and Okudogo again. I feel sad!

Rod said...

Hi there,

Goji berries are sometimes marketed as being from the Himalayas, but that's not really true. Commercial production is all in lowland China which has a similar climate to here. Maybe your Chinese neighbour has a better variety than the type available here, or maybe the two main pests that ravage bushes here are not prevalent there.

What do you do with your crop? Do you find the berries pleasant?

I expect that if you haven't been to Matsuyama for a while, you'll find it much developed.

Anonymous said...


I pick the berries as they grow and eat them on the spot. I also throw the young leaves into soups, salads and meals.

I am having a bad year with my Shiso and Sesame plants; they are eaten by something before they can grow to maturity. Nothing touches my Mitsuba!

In the larger pests, I have Raccoons that eat my Grapes and bury my tomatoes for later consumption.

My wife might be back summer 2011 for a month with the boys and I will stay here as I will be on intensive training for work.

Also, I hope to be putting an addition onto the back of my house starting next spring. That is how I found your blog, looking for eco friendly housing solutions.

There is one place called "Healthiest Home" not far from where I live. I am hoping to enlist them in managing the job.


Rod said...


I looked at growing sesame because we eat a lot of it in various forms, but processing it to get the seeds looks like a major hassle. So many steps. Even more trouble than preparing olives.

I feel sure you must have a different variety of goji, judging from what you do with yours. Fresh berries from mine were mostly seeds, and what flesh there was had a very unpleasant acrid taste with no sweetness at all. The leaves weren't nice either.

My biggest regret about building this house was not doing anything more imaginative with the waste water and toilets. I really wish I could use the outflow water from the septic tank for the bushes and ground cover. It's not a service readily provided by Japanese builders, but maybe Canadian builders might be more accommodating (if you were interested of course).


Anonymous said...

Just a little correction, I meant to say Sesame Plants (Korean Shiso, Korean Perilla). My wife pickles it in a hot sauce and we also use it to wrap meat when we do Table Top BBQ.
The Goji berries are plump and sweet but become bitter if left too long on the bush or stored in the house. Best eaten off the bush as they ripen.

I found some Red Shiso (from years previous) growing in the weeds. I have put them in the place of the Green Shiso that did not make it. I think the red is a more hearty variety as it comes back on it's own and the bugs do not wipe it out. My wife finds seedlings of the red throughout the neighbourhood and pulls them up so they do not get invasive and she gets blamed.


Rod said...

I've had the sesame leaves in Korean restaurants. Very tasty.

In Japan, the red shiso is typically used for pickling while the green is used as a garnish and herb in cooking. A local farmer has green shiso growing among his mikan trees and it grows into great big bushes. I'll see if I can a picture today. Mine didn't thrive like that, but I noticed a single plant among the weeds the other day.

Bill said...


I have spoken to my neighbour who provided me the Goji twigs, she said I need to cut the bush back to about 30 cm above the ground each spring to keep good fruiting. I have not done this and I am getting no more fruit. I know it is too late for your plants but if you wish to start again...

I have a nice picture of my plant but can not find a way of sending it over this system.


Rod said...

Hi Bill,

Thanks for the update.

As it happens, my attempts at destroying the goji weren't very successful, despite the fact that I dug very deep to get at all the roots I could find.

So now I have some very healthy looking young growth which I think I'll leave for at least one season.

Bill Newman said...


I will be visiting Matsuyamam next spring (2015) after a long absence and thought of your blog. I see no new activity. My goji bushes are giving me more berries now then I can use. I was wondering if you knew of a good website for a foreigner to find things to do in matsuyama, maps etc.? I found some but they are truly lacking.
Thanks bill from ottawa

Rod said...

Hi Bill,

The reason I haven't been doing anything on this blog is that I've been busy promoting tourism to Matsuyama.

There's good basic info here.
You can also download a PDF to print or put on a mobile device.

I'll be updating this, so by the time you come, there should be a lot more info.

Matsuyama will also be revamping its own website soon.