Category Archives: Tubers

2020 Potato Harvest

Here’s 24 of the 26 potato varieties I grew this year. Many are from the national potato preservation project administered by the Norwegian Seed Savers (KVANN). 10 different varieties(mini-tubers) which have been cleaned for virus are offered every year. Some of the smaller ones are small as they were started from mini-tubers (used as seed potatoes next year).
The varieties are from left to right:
TOP ROW: Tysk Blå; Eggeplomme; Gjernes potet; Sverre; Rosenpotet; Lange’s potet; Ingeleivs; King Edward Troll
SECOND ROW: Ivar; Blå Kerrs Pink; Gamle Raude; Svart Valdres; Buddhisten fra Snåsa; Ringerikspotet; Svartpotet fra Vegårshei (syn. Blå Kongo); Abundance
BOTTOM ROW: Beate; Rocket; Shetland Black; Sharpe’s Express; Brage; Hroar’s Drege and Sarpo Tominia
I’m not head-banging to the potatoes….honest:

Yacon and Madeira Vine flowering outside

To my surprise, I noticed today that both yacon (Polymnia sonchifolia) and Madeira Vine (Anredera cordifolia) have managed to flower outside in the garden before I bring them inside for the winter just before the first frost. I’m surprised as the autumn has been colder than normal…maybe this is rather a consequence of the record warmth in June. 

Yacon (Polymnia sonchifolia) flowering for the first time outside in the garden…the tubers are overwintered indoors
Madeira Vine (Anredera cordifolia) flowering for the first time outside in the garden…the tubers are overwintered indoors


 

Sarpo Tominia: the 17th harvest

I’ve been growing the blight resistent potato Sarpo Tominia every year since 2004 and it’s still going strong, showing no sign of lack of vigour, continuing in full growth right up to the first heavy frosts with fantastic yields. In the UK, this variety was deemed too similar to Sarpo Mira to be continued. However, my observations are that Tominia yields a bit better than Mira here, probably because it is a bit earlier. This makes little difference in the UK, but could be significant here in Norway where growth is stopped by early frosts. 
Norwegian Seed Savers (KVANN) administer a national program offering 10 virus cleaned varieties from our national list of some 80 traditonal varieties each year. Members are not allowed to pass these varieties on to others, but can save their own seed potatoes. This is to reduce the spreading of virus and other diseases. We will reoffer most varieties of interest after some years.  For the same reason we have also included other popular non-commercial varities in the program and Sarpo Mira has been included for some years now. Members are sent 3 mini-tubers of each variety and these are then used to produce seed potatoes for the following year.
We will now be including Sarpo Tominia in the programme and hope to be able to carry out comparative trials between these two varieties in a couple of years. Here is my harvest yesterday. These were grown in a very shady part of the garden with maximum 1 hour direct sunlight in summer and none when the tubers are forming!

Queen Anne’s Thistle: a multi-purpose ediavientomental*

Two years ago I accidentally dug up one of my Queen Anne’s Thistles (Cirsium canum) and I discovered the tubers were quite like the tuberous thistle (Cirsium tuberosum). I’ve now dug them all up, harvested the largest roots and replanted. This really is a great plant: a thornless thistle which yields good size tubers that is also attractive to look at, is popular with pollinators and provides winter food for some bird species (oil rich seeds).
* Edi-avi-ento-mental (edible, ornamental and useful for both avian (birds) and insect pollinators)…the most useful category of plant in my book!

Rice lily

Rice lily or riceroot (Fritillaria camschatensis) is a great hardy edimental, and exclusive root vegetable, although don’t expect large yields. The small (but many) sweet tasting tubers often lie right on the surface all winter! One of the hardiest plants found in Western North America from Oregon to Alaska, Northern Japan and the Russian Far East…and quite a common ornamental, grown for its almost black flowers (I’m still trying to establish the yellow flowered variant shown here in Gothenburg Botanical Gardens).  See also my blog post Riceroot and Hog Peanuts (http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=480).
It’s currently in full flower, so here’s a few pictures of my biggest expanding patch!

Oxalis triangularis, the False Shamrock….an edimental tuberous house plant

I used to grow Oxalis triangularis, also known as the False Shamrock for the leaves and flowers. It’s also a perfect edimental house plant here as it likes cool indoor temperatures and struggles / goes dormant if it gets too warm.

I was given a couple of plants the other day, surplus to the plant sale at the botanical gardens. Repotting the plants yesterday, I noticed that there were quite a number of sizeable tubers and I had a taste for the first time. I was surprised how sweet they tasted!!

February barl-emm-otto

A multispecies barlemmotto for dinner last night. Barlemmotto? Think risotto made instead with wholegrain BARley and EMMer wheat grains :)  The ingredients are shown with the pictures!

 

Happy Edimentalmas

Merry St.Stephen’s Day (aka Edimentalmas!) to all edimentalists :)
This year’s Xmas dinner had the following tubers: Lathyrus tuberosus, Dioscorea polystachya (tuber and tubercules aka mukago), Madeira vine (anredera) , Dahlia, Carrot (2 varieties), Chorogi, Chinese duck potatoes ( Sagittaria trifolia subsp. leucopeta), Lilium martagon, Scorzonera, Yacon, Potato (Sarpo tominia and King Edward), Oca (Oxalis tuberosa – 4 varieties) and Taro (Colocasia esculenta). Together with nutroast, taro greens, perennial kale and leek this made for a delicious slow christmas dinner!
Norske ingredienser:  Kortreist julemiddag 2018: Nøttestek, med knoller av jordflatbelg, kinesisk yam (knoll og bulbiller / mukago), Madeira-vine, georginer, kinesisk wapato, gulrot, potet, krøll-lilje, scorsonerrot, yacon, 4 sorter oca og  taro….samt taro kål, flerårige kål fra hagen og purre!

 

Long circular Yam

Two years after receiving bulbils of Chinese yam or cinnamon vine (Dioscorea polystachya) from my friend Søren Holt, I was able to harvest this curious tuber! I grew it as an “auedible” house plant….yes, it even makes a noise…as the numerous bulbils fall reverberating on my wooden floor in autumn! The bulbils are the reason it has become an invasive species in North America, the vines swamping native vegetation! The first picture below shows the tuber after its first season….I was quite pleased and was about to eat it when someone encouraged me to wait a year…I’m glad I did!
Although Chinese Yam has been grown in Europe since the middle of the 19th century, it never became popular as the  tubers bury themselves very deep (up to one metre) as in my pot where it went as far down as it could! According to Vilmorin (1920) (see pictures), there were successful attempts to breed varieties that didn’t bury themselves so deep…with round tubers clustering near the surface, but these varieties were not so productive.
Any suggestions for good recipes?