As I mentioned in my post about harvesting wapato in my garden a couple of days ago, I attended the Midwest Wild Harvest Festival in Wisconsin in September 2019 to do the keynote and a couple of talks and was lucky enough to be able to attend Sam Thayer’s Wetland Plant Hike along the Mississippi during which the highlight was the demonstration of wapato harvest. There had been record flooding that spring on the Mississipi and water levels were still high which meant that the places where Sam normally harvested were too deep. However, he did find a small patch to demonstrate harvesting techniques. As Sam mentions, this is how Canada geese do it! Did I mention that I rate Sam’s 3 books above all other books on wild edibles! His book The Forager’s Harvest has 16 pages on wapato! See the videos and pictures below:
When I attended the Midwest Wild Harvest Festival in Wisconsin in September 2019, I was lucky to be able to attend Sam Thayer’s Wetland Plant Hike along the Mississippi during which the highlight was the demonstration of wapato harvest. Look out for the video I took that day in a post in the next few days. Earlier this week found me harvesting my own wapato, grown in large tubs in the garden….an altogether more invigorating experience, the gardener’s equivalent to winter fjord bathing, as the water temperature was only about 1C (and the following day the water was frozen); I had planned to try locating the tubers by feet the next day, but (fortunately) the thick ice made that difficult (OK, I’m a wimp as I could have broken through the ice with a pick axe ;)) I’m growing both North American wapato (Sagittaria latifolia; picture) and Chinese arrowhead tubers (Sagittaria trifolia) which were originally shop bought.
I was going to post an album of pictures showing off all the late flowers in the garden this record-breaking mild autumn still without any frost, but as they’re all edible I made a salad instead! There were 33 different edible flowers (see the list below the pictures) plus 30-40 greens and a whopper carrot which I decided to keep whole as a feature! It was cut up when the salad was tossed afterwards. It has a story too as it is one of the Danish accessions rematriated from Seed Savers Exchange (SSE) in the US last winter. I took a few seed before sending the rest on to Danish Seed Savers (Dansk Frøsamlerne). It’s called Kämpe which means Giant in Swedish/Danish (I call it Whopper as it’s probably the biggest/thickest carrot I¨’ve grown here). It’s not a very old variety and SSE informed that it was a cultivated variety originally from the Swedish seed company Weibulls. Anyone know more about it? Salad flowers, all harvested from the garden Salvia (blackcurrant sage / solbærsalvie) Fuchsia magellanica Hemerocallis “Stella de Oro” Taraxacum spp. (dandelion / løvetann) Rubus fruticosus (blackberry / bjørnebær) Papaver somniferum (opium poppy / opium valmue) Viola altaicum Campanula persicifolia (peach-leaf bellflower / fagerklokke) Sonchus oleraceus (common sow-thistle / haredylle) Glebionis coronaria (chopsuey greens / kronkrage) (3 varieties) Daucus carota (carrot / gulrot) (unopened flower umbel) Geranium sanguineum (bloody cranesbill / blodstorkenebb) Brassica oleracea (kale / grønnkål) Oenothera biennis (evening primrose / nattlys) Begonia Malva moschata (musk mallow / moskuskattost) (white and pink flowered) Malva alcea (hollyhock mallow / rosekattost) Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot / rørhestemynte) Monarda “Elsie Lavender” Calendula officinalis (pot marigold / ringblomst (2 varieties) Campanula trachelium (nettle-leaved bellflower / nesleklokke) Calamintha nepeta (lesser calamint / liten kalamint) Tropaeolum majus (nasturtium / vanlig blomkarse) (2 varieties) Pisum sativum (garden pea / ert) Origanum spp. (wild marjoram / bergmynte) (2 varieties) Campanula lactiflora Alcea rosea (hollyhock / stokkrose) Tragopogon pratensis (Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon / geitskjegg)
I was working in the garden late this afternoon harvesting Jerusalem artichokes (jordskokk), Scorzonera and burdock (borre) roots and I noticed the full moon rising over the mountain Forbordsfjellet on the other side of the fjord!
I have a large bucket on the balcony where i grow greater burdock (Arctium lappa) for the birds, Both goldfinches (stillits) and greenfinches (grønnfink) eat burdock seed in winter and by growing the plants on the balcony I have close views of both species from where I’m typing this! Last year, the plants flowered and set seeds, they germinated en masse this spring, I thinned them and this was the harvest today. The largest roots and the smallest ones will be replanted in the spring. The others will be eaten in oriental stir-fries this winter.
I’d sent a few bulbs of twisted-leaf garlic (Allium obliquum) to members of Norwegian Seed Savers’ (KVANN) guild for Alliums and had a few left overover, so I fried them up for lunch and ate them with cheese on toast. A delicious sweetish taste after heating in olive oil. The onions are also a good size! This was one of the 80 in my book Around the World in 80 plants!
The last time I blogged about this Physalis it was 7 years old. It is now 13 and still going strong. The last time I wrote about it, I wrote the following: “This Physalis which I’ve called “Indian Strain” is now going into its 7th year. I got this from Seed Savers Exchange in the US. However, that one is supposed to be a tomatillo and I wonder if I mixed it up with another I got at about the same time, P. heterophylla, clammy ground cherry, although the stems are not clammy (sticky) to the feel. That would explain it’s hardiness as it is found in the wild north to Canada (see http://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=PHHEH3). I definitely planted heterophylla in the garden and it’s survived since 2009 without winter protection, but the summer is just too cold for fruit (it does flower). It lives in a cold bedroom all year and produces a few fruit most of the year, even continuing to ripen fruit despite the temperature being often under 10C. The fruit are sweet and have good flavour. It’s not hugely productive but little bother (aphids don’t bother it). I cut it back when it gets too straggly”. I repotted one of them today and cut all 3 plants back to 1/3 height (it reaches the ceiling). The conclusion is that it is a cape gooseberry / goldenberry (Physalis peruviana).
I had been asked if I had photos of the roots of chicory (sikkori) and sweet cicely (Spansk kjørvel) for a talk about wild edible roots. I therefore dug some from the garden. Inspired by traditional Mediterranean ways of preparing wild and cultivated vegetables, I boiled the roots and they were then stir-fried with onions and winter chantarelle mushrooms before being added to scrambled egg (see the pictures for more). All the roots on the perennial chicory were far too fibrous to eat, but the sweet cicely roots were good (at least the younger ones!) More or less any vegetable can be prepared this way! Simple is best!
I harvested two of the more beautiful broad (fava) beans I’ve grown yesterday, both of which originate in Canada. Red Cheek and Fingerprint favas. The diversity of forms, colours and sizes in these beans doesn’t cease to amaze me! I will definitely be trying to maintain these forms within my grex of broad beans (selection for a wide diversity of different forms every year and all planted close together so that they will cross promiscuously)! Read legendary Will Bonsall’s article on fava beans where he talks about the diversity of forms and his collection of 250 varieties he maintains for Seed Savers Exchange: https://www.mofga.org/resources/beans/favas
Perennial vegetables, Edimentals (plants that are edible and ornamental) and other goings on in The Edible Garden