Væres Venner Community Garden 29th August 2018

I worked a couple of hours extending KVANNs garden at Væres Venner community garden in Trondheim this week…I have some 50 perennials waiting for a temporary place until next year. I also cut down the vegetation in the rest of KVANNs area in preparation to cover with the thick paper donated by the Ranheim Paper&Board factory and straw for a neighbouring farmer!
The quinoa is approaching maturity and I harvested some more broad beans (bondebønner)! It seems that the soil is fertile (no compost or other fertiliser was added)
See the video:

Nacotits 2018

My narcotits* are hard at it in the garden :)
*Narcotit (narkomeis): Both great and blue tits (kjøtt- og blåmeis) systematically open the ripe seed pods of poppies (Papaver somniferum) in my garden for the seeds (I first observed this behaviour some 10 years ago)….they are so keen on this novel food supply that one can speculate that they become addicted (there are low levels of opiates in the seed, maybe enough for a tit!)

Fungal bonanza by bike and job creation

I can’t remember the last time we had a porcini (cep, penny bun) or steinsopp in Norwegian year here, well over 10 years I think!! There are huge amounts for the pickings…and they were all in good condition with almost no insect larvae nor the parasitic fungi (snyltesopp) which makes them inedible.
There were also large amounts of saffron milk caps (matriske) again unusually for the time of year completely free of insect larvae!
Perhaps the warm dry weather was good for the fungi but not the flies!
I had to stop as I was afraid the load would be too much for the bike brakes on the very steep descent home!
Strangely, the most common edible fungi (chantarelle and hedgehog fungus/ kantarell og piggsopp) were almost totally absent!

Now, the job to dry them and return to the woods a couple more times to dry enough for the next porcini year!

Eikeskrubb (Leccinum quercinum / Orange oak bolete) which also grows on aspen :


Talking in a swimming pool: Neubad and Neugarten

On Thursday 5th April 2018, I arrived to give a talk at a place called Neubad in Lucerne! I had no idea that I would be talking from the deep end of a swimming pool ;)
Neubad, formerly a swimming pool, is now a thriving alternative cultural centre! Across the road I also visited Neugarten, a small community garden.
Thanks to Francesca Blachnik and Sven for inviting me and showing me around!

Visiting McMillion’s acres!

On Sunday I finally found the opportunity to visit my friend and fellow Norwegian Seed Savers (KVANN) board member Andrew McMillion who lives on a small farm in Nes, Akershus! We were joined by Amandine from France who is doing an Msc in Agroecology in Ås (Norway). She had joined us in Trondheim and Malvik at the KVANN weekend in June!
In Andrew’s tunnel greenhouse I saw several plants I’d never seen before and Andrew’s belief in the importance of diversity in a secure food production is evident everywhere! His greenhouse reminded me n fact of Alan Kapuler (Mushroom)’s amazing kinship (biodiversity) gardens in Oregon, USA (see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?page_id=3325)
It’s amazing how Andrew grows  what for many are impossible vegetables with minimal additional heat!
Outside, he is developing the ravine on the side of the property with perennial vegetables! He is also a champion of Shetland Cabbage as a future hardy vegetable in Norway and this is one of many vegetables he offers each year through Norwegian Seed Savers!!
I look forward to following Andrew’s projects over the next years!!