Allium cernuum (nodding onion / prærieløk) is hardy more or less anywhere people live and stays green all winter here. It’s been mild with snow coming and going for several weeks and there’s no frost in the soil. I dug up a clump yesterday to use in the kitchen and replanted a few. Some were used in a salad and others will be used in any dishes with onion in the next couple of weeks (Indian, Chinese, Mediterranean pasta with green sauce….anything really).
Since New Year, only one day had been slightly above zero with temperatures regularly below -15C, but then a big shift in the weather happened a few days ago and it’s now 25C warmer than it was a week ago! It’s interesting to see how hardy some Alliums are, even when not insulated by snow and here are 3 of the most hardy: Allium carinatum (keeled garlic / rosenløk), Allium flavum (small yellow onion / doggløk) and Allium cernuum (nodding onion /prærieløk) can all be harvested even though the soil is frozen solid. Hablitzia tamnoides (Caucasian spinach / stjernemelde) shoots are also developing nicely and I’ll have a few for lunch today along with the onions.
I’ve been self-sufficient in fresh vegetables year round and have blogged and lectured about how I can do this even in winter without a greenhouse, without a freezer and without using additional energy apart from my own manual labour :) The most important factor allowing me to do this is the cold cellar under the house where I can store vegetables cold and frost free. None of the common winter leafy green vegetables further south in Europe – kales (grønnkål), chards (mangold) and leek (purre) – can be reliably overwintered outside here, although winters are getting milder. For example, swiss chard is killed by the first hard frosts which due to our northern location last all day (little direct solar warming at this time of year). Usually I’m taken by surprise by hard frosts in early November and there’s a panic digging up vegetables and I often have to use an iron bar to get through the ice layer. Not so this year. Thanks to corona and a very mild first part of November, I’ve had more time for the harvest. Last week I lifted the swedes and turnips and yesterday the parsnips, jerusalem artichokes and carrots. Today, I moved all the swiss chards, celery and chicories (sikkori) to large buckets, planted in soil, ready to move quickly inside later in the week if necessary as colder weather is forecast. In the past I’ve stored these winter vegetables in hand made wooden crates filled with soil. However, after 20 or so winters, they’re no longer usable and I hadn’t got round to making new ones, so I will store in these large plastic buckets, which had been purchased to plant the Allium collection, now with a permanent home at the Ringve botanical garden. I’ve also been digging up perennial vegetables for winter forcing. This includes various onions – Allium senescens, Allium flavescens, Allium angulosum and Allium cernuum. In addition, I’ve dug a udo (Aralia cordata) root and also a few ostrich ferns (Matteuccia struthiopteris) and Hosta “Frances Williams” (sieboldiana). Finally, I’ve been digging large amounts of my most important winter vegetable, dandelion! (see my 2018 harvest here: https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=20124) 19th November: the next morning it snowed (see the video at the bottom)!
Harvested swiss chards including the Lucullus type and perpetual spinach (all Beta vulgaris var cicla):
AROUND THE WORLD IN THE EDIBLE GARDEN; Part 1 – The Cherokee lands of Eastern North America The first in a series of dinners from Malvik’s Edible Garden where we “forage” from different parts of the world!
Cherokee Pizza is of course better known as Cherokizza…go on, look it up :). This is the classic Native American Italian dish and it was made in Norway today! All you need is a good selection of Cherokee wild vegetables: Appalachian greens / kyss-meg-over-gjerde (Rudbeckia laciniata); see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=22018 Nodding onion / prærieløk (Allium cernuum) Stinging nettle / brennesle (Urtica dioica) Virginia waterleaf / Indian salad (Hydrophyllum virginianum) Dandelion / løvetann (Taraxacum spp.) (a giant individual, as you will see from the pictures, growing on seaweed on the sea kale bed) Cow parsnip (Heracleum maximum)
I used a thick 100% whole grain rye sourdough base for the pizza, so a bit of Denmark in there too!
Here’s yesterday’s fresh produce* from the garden….the joy of perennial vegetables! However, snow overnight will make harvest more difficult the next few days! Here’s today’s list: Aegopodium podograria (ground elder / skvallerkål) Allium hymennorhizum Allium sativum (garlic / hvitløk) Allium cernuum (noddding onion/ prærieløk) Allium victorialis (victory onion / seiersløk) Rumex acetosa “Arkhangelsk” (sorrel / engsyre) Hemerocallis middendorfii (day lily / daglije) Brassica oleracea (various perennial kales / flerårige kål) Hablitzia tamnoides (Caucasian spinach / stjernemelde) Myrrhis odorata (sweet cicely / spansk kjørvel) Ficaria verna (lesser celandine / vårkål) Taraxacum officinale ” Moss-leaved” (dandelion / løvetann) Angelica archangelica “Vossakvann Markusteigen” (kvann) Used in a green pasta sauce. * “Produce” they aren’t as most produce themselves without little input from me: Self-produce is a better word!
We seem to be at least a month ahead of normal this year. I don’t normally see new shoots of ground elder (Aegopodium) until the middle of April but this year they are popping up all over the place. Today’s veggies are a bit different from yesterday as it depends which part of the garden I harvest from. They are: Hablitzia tamnoides (Caucasian spinach; stjernemelde) Aegopodium podograria (ground elder; skvallerkål) Rumex acetosa (non-flowering) (sorrel; engsyre) Rumex patientia (patience dock; hagesyre) Taraxacum officinale (dandelion; løvetann) Allium fistulosum (welsh onion; pipeløk) Allium paradoxum Allium x proliferum (Egyptian onion; luftløk) Myrrhis odorata (sweet cicely; spansk kjørvel) Allium cernuum (nodding onion; prærieløk) Hemerocallis (day lily shoots; daglilje) These were used in a delicious vegetable pea soup!
Many thanks to all who turned up for my talk in Atlanta last night. I’m told there were almost 200 people :) The book store sold all 25 books they had bought from Chelsea Green! Great also to talk to so many interesting folk after the talk at the book signing :)
An unexpected surprise was a meeting with Bob Pemberton, main author of a paper on the Wild food plants in South Korea from 1996, which I reference several times in my book (picture below).
Writing this in transit in the Chicago O’Hare airport….Chicago onion (Allium cernuum) was the first picture on my presentation!
Thanks also to my hosts Cornelia Cho, who suggested to the garden I might do a talk, and Sam Landes who are president and board member of the Mushroom Club of Georgia! Some 20 of their members were at the talk! Pemberton, RW and NS Lee (1996) ‘Wild food plants in South Korea: Market presence, new crops and export to the United States’ in Econ. Bot. Vol 50, pp57-60.
Perennial vegetables, Edimentals (plants that are edible and ornamental) and other goings on in The Edible Garden