Though many residences in Tokyo, Osaka and other Japanese cities are too small to have your own 庭 (niwa, garden), that doesn’t mean 園芸 (engei, gardening) is an impossible feat.

If you’re hoping for a nice グリーンカーテン (gurīn kāten) — which literally means “green curtain” but may be better known as a vertical garden or green wall — for your apartment balcony, or freshly harvested 夏野菜 (natsuyasai, summer vegetables) and ハーブ (hābu, herbs) in the next couple of months, it’s time to get growing.

Many local municipalities conduct a 緑のカーテンプロジェクト (midori no kāten purojekuto, green wall project) around this time of the year. They plant つる性植物 (tsuru-sei shokubutsu, climbing vine plants) such as ゴーヤ (gōya, bitter melons) and 朝顔 (asagao, morning glories) on the premises of public buildings as a way to take part in 節電 (setsuden, energy conservation) and ヒートアイランド現象の対策 (hīto airando genshō no taisaku, countermeasures for the heat island phenomenon).