Stratifying seed

Seed stratifying in the garden are visible again as the snow melts. They are covered with a double window frame which I lift off when it rains or snows…
Stratification is also known as cold treatment. Most perennials are adapted to germinating irregularly, sometimes over several years, to maximise the chances of favourable spring weather conditions. The seed coat is broken down as a result of the winter weather, freezing and thawing. I germinate my perennials by putting them out in the garden to “stratify” naturally. Some people bring the seed inside (a greenhouse) to germinate in early spring. I wait for them to germinate naturally outside as I don’t have much space inside in spring and I’m in no hurry as these are perennials that will be around for many years and saving a month is of little importance :)
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Extending the perennial veggie season with nodding onion

Fresh 100% course barley/rye/oat sourdough bread with olive paste and nodding onion

Allium cernuum (Nodding onion / Prærieløk) is one of the few plants that can be harvested in winter if one can find then under the snow! An important food plant for both Native Americans and “colonists”. I planted up a bucket full of these onions in the autumn leaving it outside and brought into the living room frozen solid about 10 days ago. The plants have now sP1510930 tarted to grow and I had some for lunch :)P1510933


Chicories continue to grow in the cellar which is totally dark and about +4C… made into a chicory quiche, also known as chicoriche ;) Next year I plan to sprout perennial chicory roots!
100% wholemeal barley and oat flour crust and with garlic, masses of chili, sweet marjoram, dried chantarelle and with poppy seeds on top…and I won’t have to cook for a few more days!! Served with a few interesting heirloom potatoes….

Cellar chicory shoots

Highland Burgunder, King Edward and ??

The Wild Greens of Korea

There are still many undiscovered (in the west) perennial edibles in the Far East. I’m therefore now concentrating mainly on that area in this quest. This spring I will travel for 3 weeks in Japan as part of this work. Another “country” with a rich diversity of food plants is Korea. With help from my Norwegian / Korean friend Misoni Sandvik whom I mention in my book, and who is on her own quest to find and grow wild herbs she remembers foraging when she was a child in South Korea, I’ve received two books from Korea today entitled “The Wild Greens of Korea” and “The Medicinal Herb of Korea”. There’s often a diffuse boundary between food and medicine in Korea, so the second book is also relevant, including plants like Aralia cordata (Udo)!

Aralia cordata (Udo)
Aster scaber (Korean Asters), the plant that lead to Misoni contacting me as related in my book, a plant she was looking for that I had on my seed list!

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Appearance at Hellens Garden Festival in Much Marcle

Announcement of my appearance at the Hellens Garden Festival in a place with the unlikely name of Much Marcle on 12th June :) Really looking forward to it!!
Apparently, I was introduced to this place when I was a youth,being inspired by Gilbert White’s Natural History of Selbourne as according to the Wikipedia page on the village:
“About three miles north-north west of the village, on the eastern face of Marcle Ridge, a massive landslip, estimated at 60,000 cubic metres, took place over three days starting on 17 February 1575. Named “the Wonder”, it was so large that full-grown trees were carried down the slope onto an adjoining property. In his book The Natural History of Selborne, Gilbert White (1720–93) quotes the words of John Philips who wrote:
“I nor advise, nor reprehend the choice
Of Marcley Hill; the apple nowhere finds
A kinder mould; yet ’tis unsafe to trust
Deceitful ground; who knows but that once more
This mount may journey, and his present site
Forsaken, to thy neighbour’s bounds transfer
Thy goodly plants, affording matter strange
For law debates!”
A good place to have a garden then….disaster doesn’t strike twice etc…


Feeling tired but good having worked hard for several hours with my bow saw and axe coppicing this Hazel. A surprising amount of wood on a tree like this. It was probably 15 years ago I did this last… The green bush below the Hazel is a box (Buxus) which is probably 25 years old!

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Added a few more pictures today, worked about an hour sorting the wood into different piles: firewood, tops for peas to climb into, long runner bean stakes and the rest which will be piled up in the garden for wildlife…. It always amazes me how little effort it is in my relatively cold climate to cut enough wood by hand for firewood…

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Garden and views 30th-31st January 2016

Hungry gap sprouts

I moved 10 buckets of roots and stratifying seeds of edible perennials for sprouting and eating before the spring greens come on tap…filling the hungry gap. These have all been outside exposed to the cold since November.

Bulbils of Egyptian Onion / Walking Onion / Luftløk will have a shock coming from outside into my living room!
Allium cernuum has been completely unaffected by the extremes of climate we’ve experienced and are ready to eat…also in my living room…
Seeds and roots in my unheated porch


Edibles & ornamental plants

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