At the weekend I harvested all the Jerusalem Artichokes (jordskokk) at the Væres Venner Community Garden. This was two bike loads with a big rucksack to get home :) This is a mix of experimental JAs from crosses made in Italy by Paolo Gaiardelli between our best variety Dagnøytral (which is probably identical to Stampede, Bianca and Dwarf Sunray) and other varieties (unfortunately I lost the label and am not sure of the details). You can see in the second picture which tubers I’ve selected for growing on! I also completed bastard (double) digging a new bed at the back of the shed for various climbers including hardy kiwi Actinidia arguta!
It was probably over 25 years ago I sowed some seed of a kiwi (Actinidia deliciosa) from the supermarket just for fun! Little did I know that it would be flowering in my garden in the year 2020. The seed germinated and I accidentally left the plants in a pot in the garden all winter. I had lost the label and I didn’t recognise the plant when it leafed out in spring. A gardening friend (Alvilde) visiting that summer did recognised it and I recalled having sowed those seeds. It also showed that it was much more hardy than I imagined. I therefore planted two plants in the warmest spot I could find in the garden against the south side of the house. Unfortunately, one of the two plants died and you need two to get fruit….not that I had any pretense of ever eating my own kiwis (I’d read that Actinidia deliciosa needs temperatures over 20C for 3-4 months to ripen fruit). Some summers, we only have 10-20 such days! I carried on growing it more of a curiosity than anything else…a plant one doesn’t expect to see at 63.5N! Then in 2007, I had a visit from a Swedish gardening club (STA). I told them about the kiwi and one of them commented that it was flowering. I hadn’t noticed the two flowers:
I never saw a flower again, until just a week ago when I lifted one of the branches and discovered a couple of flowers well hidden under the leaves. On closer examination there were about 10 flowers altogether! A mild winter followed by record temperatures in June had stimulated it to flower “profusely” (of course, I could have missed the odd flower in the past). I didn’t round to taking pictures for several days by which time the flowers were over (see below). Given that I will never have my own fruit, I wonder if other parts of kiwis can be eaten. I found one reference to the leaves being edible on a kiwi web site. Can anyone confirm? There are references in the literature to both Actinidia arguta and Actinidia polygama shoots being eaten.
Perennial vegetables, Edimentals (plants that are edible and ornamental) and other goings on in The Edible Garden