Dr. Bilhaj’s Planting Diary

Bilhaj, Abdulkhalig Ali Dou
Feb 10, 2020
Blooming pistil flower


Hello my friends!!

I am so happy to be here again; to deliver you part of my research and challenging news.


Oh yes … you can guess from the new images that today dairy is about Zucchini and Eggplant.

But guess why I did choose Zucchini and Eggplant?




This photo has been taken just 40 days after the germination.

You can see how Shibakawa high-tech LED make plants grows fast, strong, and tasty as we will see.


Although you may know this, but let us together sharp our knowledge about these plants!


For Zucchini, it is a thin-skinned summer squash, of Mesoamerican origin,

which is usually harvested when still immature at about 15 to 25 cm.

(please read  Wikipedia for more details).

By the way… Do you like it? For me yes, I like it and I was growing it in Libya.

Before I come to Japan to study in Niigata and Nihon universities, but I could only grow it in summer.


I love its soup as it made by hands of my Mother, especially in the month of Ramadan.

So, now I wanted to challenge the ability of Shibakawa LED to grow Zucchini in this cold winter!!

The result was the image in front of you. It is so beautiful, isn’t it?




43 days after germination, the Zucchini growing speed is accelerated and the flower is going to bloom.



Pistil is the female or seed-bearing flower.



Similarly, stamen is the male or pollen-bearing flower.


From the image; you can recognize easily that there are 2 types of flowers.

One holds Zucchini and the another not.

The holder flower is the female or the seed-holding pistil which is composed of the ovary,

the stigma, and the style.

The other one is the male or pollen-loaded stamen.

In fact, most plants sprout bisexual flowers (which have both male and female parts)

like Tomatoes and Eggplants; but plants like Zucchini grow separate male and female flowers.

So interesting, ya…and looks delicious too!!

Of course, welcome to Shibakawa, if you visit us, I will present them as a gift to you (smile)


Can you eat Zucchini blossoms?

Many people say that they are not only edible but incredibly delicious.

I did not try them yet, but I would like to have a try!!




Now, let us move to the purple vegetable.


Actually, most of the diverse European and worldwide names

for the Eggplant derive from the Arabic word Badinjan.

“A book on Agriculture” written by Ibn Al-Awwam;

who lived in Al-Andalus (Iberian Peninsula) in the 12th century,

was the first book prescribed Eggplants in the history.

Eggplant blossom Looks happy, doesn’t it?



It is similar to tomato, that its skin and seeds can be eaten; but like potato,

which usually eaten cooked specially with its capability of absorbing oils and flavors into the its flesh.

Do you like it? If you do; Yes, I like it too.



Both Zucchini and Eggplant can be used in various recipes.

Please try to cook some of them, and enjoy eating their delicious dishes!





Jan 22, 2020
Introduction of the Libyan country


Hello our dear reader.


I came from Libya.

By the way, do you know where is it?

It is A country of a size 6 times bigger than Japan and located

in the Mediterranean coast of North Africa and Southern Europe.

A country mostly covered by the Sahara Desert except for the seaside area.

Although its petroleum reserves are the eighth largest in the world,

most of people are doing agriculture activities.

My town Agelat also has a beautiful Mediterranean Seaside.



It is my hometown, old town Sabratha.



A large variety of fruits; such as grape, orange, apple, pomegranate, fig, mulberry, and pear grow

in the Libyan Mediterranean and agricultural climate.

There are also olives, date palms, almonds, and many other fruits, which are hard to grow in Japan.

Vegetables are so many too, such as tomatoes, cucumber, strawberries and corn.

In summer, the wadi rivers dry, so rice cannot grow but wheat, wheat, oats, etc. are cultivated.





The farm of my family(Goats appear in the photo)





The enjoyable blossoms in Japan are cherry blossoms, but Libya enjoys almonds and apricot blossoms.

They are so beautiful and similar to cherry flowers.



In Japan, the important Olympic year is about to begin,

but the year events including the new year in Libya are different. Here are some of these differences.


Libya does not have a new year or a golden week as in the west calendar,

but they rather use the Hijra lunar calendar.

This calendar has 2 main events,

one is a post-fasting (post-Ramadan) event called Eid Al-fiter

and a sheep sacrificing event called Eid Al-aduha.

As of now it is the year1441 on this calendar.


During the month of Ramadan, fasting all over the day time continues for a month (eating only at night),

and Eid Al-fiter is the 4-days event following the end of Ramadan.


During Eid Al-fiter, people give food, new clothes and much care to the poor before the end of Ramadan,

so that all dress new and enjoy a happy Eid time.

In the meantime, every one visit friends and relatives,

go and greet the neighbors and the people living around, and eat together at homes.


The second special event is Eid Al-aduha; which comes 70 days after the end of Ramadan.


In this event each Muslim family around the world approaches Allah,

who is the Creator of us and the whole universe.

This approach is done by sacrificing a sheep or goats, or shares sacrificing a cattle or a camels.


A pressure steamed whole sheep



It is recommended that the sacrificial meat be divided into three equal parts.

The family eats one third themselves, gives one third to relatives,

and volunteers the other third to the poor.


In fact, for me the most enjoyable time is every night of the month Ramadan.

Even in Japan, you can go in any Ramadan evening to any Mosque

and enjoy a free meal while having cross cultural talks.


For example, Tokyo Camii (https://tokyocamii.org/en/), built in 1938,

offers Turkish food to anyone free of charge on every night of Ramadan.


The Tokyo Camii (Mosque) in Yoyogi-uehara



Free and enjoyable dinner at each evening of Ramadan month.



If you are interested,

please do not hesitate to go visit there to enjoy eating free Turkish food

and have warm talks (Ramadan month in 2020 starts about April 25th)


Dec 10, 2019
The strawberry grows with AGRO’S


Hello our dear reader.

This time, I would like to share you our hydroponic strawberry research story.


Mainly, there are 3 ways for growing strawberries:


1.Planting strawberries from seeds.

In this case, it will take around a year to gain your first harvest.


2.Growing it from a large seedling.

Depending on the seedling size, the time to gain fruits will vary.


3.Growing it from strawberry self-runners.

Raise the seedlings by rooting the shoots called “runners”, which are attached to the stems

on your strawberry plant if you already have.


The best way to start strawberry cultivation is by purchasing large seedlings directly from

any gardening shop or home center as mentioned in no. 2 above.

One of its positive sides is that, you can choose your preferred strawberry type

with the favorite taste as well.

In the case of just seeds, normally there are fewer type options in the market.

In particular, the strawberries can continue yielding for about 3 years after planting,

so freshly grown seedlings are better.


For example, the types we are using for our current research are Minori-kun, Wild-berry, Pechika,

Selinu, Ai-berry, Aki-hime, and others.

At the moment, Part of them is hydroponic grown, the others outdoors.



To be honest, I did purchase the above types and start growing strawberry seedlings since last summer,

but unfortunately, I found them affected by aphids.

In fact, I was much more concerned with the spread of aphids to other experimental plants,

so I decided to solve this issue quickly.

At the beginning, I have washed all the strawberry affected leaves one by one and tried so hard to use

a natural pesticide, but these aphids were sticking strongly to all leaves, and I couldn’t get rid of them.

As a next step, I did cut all the leaves and applied a dedicated medicine for aphids.

As a result, aphids have disappeared, but a lot of strawberries have disappeared too!!

It was a real shock for me, but I make a decision to “Never Give Up”, so continued my research

on the few remaining strawberry plants at hand.



Recently, remaining strawberries has been re-energized with AGRO ’S and has become very healthy.

A lot of flowers bloomed, and some have strawberry fruits too. (Please see the 2 attached photographs)

Now I can say that, the first step of hydroponic cultivation of strawberries is succeeded,

and we are planning the following research and development step.


I am looking forward to share you the coming progress of our light technology research in relation

to strawberry hydroponic cultivation.


Thank you so much for reading!!