Horticulturist Naoki Yokoyama is the 15th generation to head his family’s nursery in Tokyo’s Kiyose district. Six years ago, anticipating the rush of visitors with the 2020 Olympics, farmer friends asked him to try growing edible blooms. “At first I thought, ‘how awful! The poor flowers!’” he laughs. But he rose to the challenge and, after dismal results at first, finally achieved the perfect balance of fertilizer, light and water.
“Of course we can’t use agrochemicals or pesticides, as the plants are to be consumed,”Yokoyama says. “For two years bugs ate everything we grew. We fought back with mixed plantings, ultra-sheer nets, white ground tarps, marigolds. Anything to discourage them!” He also tinkered with colors— preferring soft, antiqued hues for primroses and pansies—and fine-tuned growing conditions to yield pleasing flavors.
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（The Cuisine Magazine /April 2019）