Tag Archives: Edimentals

Pot luck salad

On Sunday 26th May we organized a potluck party in Væres Venners Community Garden in Trondheim for the first time! It was a fantastically successful event in glorious summer weather close to 30C (and a record for May) and with 40 participants, both members of the community garden (and supporters) and KVANN Trøndelag members. The participants brought a large variety of food dishes as we had hoped! The highlight was Anders (and Barbro) Nordrum’s introductory lecture on food preparedness!
Thanks to everyone, we will be doing this again!
My contribution was naturally a salad and I had to apologise as there were only 50 plants in it ;)
The white flowers: ramsons (ramsløk), sweet cicely (Spansk kjørvel), Allium zebdanense and sea kale (strandkål).
General pictures by Dan Smith! 




Snow onion salad

After yesterday’s video post about the snow onion (Allium humile) I had to make a snow onion lunchtime salad, so here it is; see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mOcQ4aUQVI
Ingredients below the pictures.



Allium humile
(snow onion; snøløk)Crambe maritima (sea kale; strandkål)
Primula veris (cowslip; marianøkleblom); 2 varieties
Allium paradoxum var paradoxum (few-flowered leek); bulbils (NB! DON’T PLANT AS IT IS VERY INVASIVE!)
Ligularia fischeri (gomchwi; Koreansk nøkketunge)
Taraxacum “Vert de Montmagny Ameliore”
Oenanthe javanica (seri)
Allium ovalifolium var. leuconervum
Allium schoenoprasum “Black Isle Blush” (chives; gressløk)
Rumex acetosa (sorrel; engsyre)
Hosta “Urui”
Allium ursinum (ramsons; ramsløk)
Myrrhis odorata (sweet cicely; Spansk kjørvel)
Hablitzia tamnoides (Caucasian spinach; stjernemelde)
Claytonia virginiana (spring beauty)
Taraxacum tortilobum (moss-leaved dandelion; mosebladet løvetann)
Anethum graveolens (dill)
Coriandrum sativum (coriander; coriander)
Allium victorialis (victory onion; seiersløk)
Begonia heracleifolia
Brassica oleracea (perennial kale; flerårig kål)
Allium sativum (garlic; hvitløk) shoots of garlic grown as a perennial.

The Full Gap

I used to call it the Hungry Gap (Vårknipen), but transitioning to a large proportion of perennials this is the time I now call the Full Gap! The vegetables were quickly stir-fried in olive oil and added to a 100% whole grain rye, emmer and spelt quiche (eggepai).
These were the veggies I harvested for last night’s dinner (names below). Taraxacum sp.  dandelion / løvetann
Hablitzia tamnoides  Caucasian spinach / stjernemelde
Cichorium intybus chicory / sikkori (2 cellar forced Witloof type cultivars, one purple leaved, the other green)
Allium cernuum nodding onion / prærieløk
Allium fistulosum  Welsh onion / pipeløk
Allium x proliferum  walking onion / luftløk
Allium paradoxum One flowered leek
Dystaenia takesimana  Seombadi;  giant Korean celery / Ulleung kjempeselleri
Allium sativum  garlic / hvitløk (shoot from a stand grown as a perennial)
Aegopodium podograria  ground elder / skvallerkål
Hemerocallis middendorfii
Campanula latifolia 
giant bellflower / storklokke
Allium ochotense oriental victory onion / orientalsk seiersløk
Myrrhis odorata  sweet cicely / Spansk kjørvel
Allium hymenorrhizum



Edibles at RHS Wisley

Since my last visit to RHS Wisley 5 years ago there have been large changes, notably the RHS Hilltop building and adjacent World Food Garden. Last Thursday I was fortunate to be invited to visit by head of the RHS Edibles team, Sheila Das, who had attended my talk on home territory in the autumn (see https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=31687). I was bowled over by the scale of what has already been achieved and the ambitious plans for the future moving away from the “conventional” towards organics, food forests, food diversity, no dig etc. and firmly anchored in improving  biodiversity – pollinators, habitat, the important role of fungi etc (less cutting, more untidy and irregular), sustainability and climate friendly gardening.
After showing me the plans, Sheila took me on to rooftop of Hilltop to get a bird’s eye view of the World Food Garden before walking around. The rigid rectangular growing beds of old are gone, replaced by curved beds in all shapes and sizes and gone also are the straight lines, replaced by irregular intercropping and demonstration of the incredible diversity of food crops available to the UK grower. Edible climbers were being trained up the outside of the perimeter wooden fence. You can already see a number of perennials in the 1 acre World Food Garden (my own Word Garden at 12m diameter now seems tiny in comparison!).  Below can be seen various pictures that I took on a tour of what has become probably the most popular part of RHS Wisley – amazing to witness this transition of the RHS as largely an organisation for ornamental gardeners to an organisation where more than 50% of members today note growing food as their main interest. Of course, edimentals can help bridge the gap between the two gardening camps! See the pictures and captions below for more!

 

Runner Bean Falafels

After many years of trying, I managed to get a decent crop of dried runner beans / løpebønner* (Phaseolus coccineus). My own garden is a bit too cold due to the shady conditions on a rather windy spot. Last year I grew a selection of 15-20 early varieties sourced from the German gene bank IPK Gatersleben and commercial suppliers which I grew successfully in the sunnier community garden (Væres Venner).
They were made into delicious falafels,  accompanied by living room grown Kandahar cress (karse) and wild buckwheat / vill bokhvete and turned into gourmet food with a couple of dandelion flowers from the windowsill! 
*In Norwegian, these beans are known usually as blomsterbønner (flower beans) and most often used as an ornamental. I prefer to call them løpebønner to better reflect that these are much more than an ornamental!

Freedom for Palestine

The year’s first seed is as usual dandelion (løvetann), but this one is extra early as it was one of those forced indoors for the leaves.
The dandelion symbolises freedom and this seed head is ironically growing next to a wild food plant of the Palestinians, Cyclamen persicum on my windowsill (the leaves are cooked with rice and meat, or raw as salad according to a paper Alishtayeh, 2008: Traditional knowledge of wild edible plants used in Palestine; I haven’t tried yet).


Wild Hive Talk at Home in Chandlers Ford: Resonating with Hampshire!

Thank you once again to all the amazing Wild Hive Collective team for organizing my talk in Chandlers Ford, my home town, on 19th November 2023. It attracted a full house of some 80 people plus helpers. See their review here: Wild Hive Collective Review
This was a special event for me being the first time I’d talked outside of Norway since Covid and dedicated to my dad (Harold G Barstow) who died last year at 97 and possibly the vegetable grower who had been at it longest in the area, here with his broad beans at 90, in a raised bed he made in his 80s, planning for old age: 
Dad had worked as a joiner/carpenter all is life (his parents couldn’t afford to give him an education and he left school early). He became an expert on Great Britain Victorian stamps (where I get my collectomanic genes from). On retirement he spent his time well, researching local history and publishing 8 or 9 books on the subject, involving learning medieval latin. He also became an artist, painting old local buildings. He wrote 4 books about the North Stoneham area where his grandfather had repaired the one-handed clock at North Stoneham (he’s pointing to him in the picture on the wall of the Cricketers Pub and he can also be seen standing with his bike in front of the church on the front of one of the books):
…..and not forgetting my dear mum Patricia (Pat) Barstow (soon 94) who was in the audience:

The first part of my talk was all about perennial vegetables and Hampshire and all the wonderful interconnections with my family and others I’ve experienced there over the years!
In 2015, I was invited to give a two-part talk at the Walled Kitchen Gardens Network Forum at National Trust property Croome Court in Worcestershire and I discovered that two of my family were already well known and respected in that eminent group! At dinner on the first night in Pershore, it dawned on the people there that I also was the son of the “famous” North Stoneham historian and author and when it was revealed that author of the book “Garden archaeology”, Christopher Currie was my cousin, who excavated the North Stoneham site, then I was well and truly one of them!! For there is a strong link as Capability Brown (who designed Croome’s gardens) was almost certainly also responsible for North Stoneham. Several of those at dinner that night were from Hampshire and campaigning to save the North Stoneham site!! Small world and resonating with the cosmos once again………….
It was the chairwoman of the forum, Susan Campbell, one of the most knowledgeable people in the land on kitchen gardening and edible plants who had invited me to Croome, having read my book. She had thought I was Norwegian until we met. She and her husband Mike have a fantastic beachside property in Hampshire where I visited a year or so after Croome. The title of her book “Charleston Kedding: A History of Kitchen Gardening” is one of the most original book titles. Charleston Kedding is a fictional place around which the book is based, the name being an anagram for Old Kitchen Gardens! 
No photo description available.
The following year was the 300th anniversary of Capability Brown’s birth: 
See more pictures from Croome here https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?page_id=2554
It was at Croome I talked about Hostas,  jokeing as I did in my original article on “The Oriental Spinach” in Permaculture Magazine, about Prince Charles having the most productive forest garden in the UK as he had a national collection of large-leaved Hostas in a woodland area at Highgrove, not knowing that the Prince’s head gardener sat in front of me. I later signed a copy of my book “To HRH Prince Charles, good luck with your Hosta cuisine” asking them to pass on to the prince. This lead the following year to being invited to Highgrove to see the collection…sadly, the Prince didn’t turn up as it was his mum’s birthday….priorities!
I next introduced a good ex-pat friend in Norway, David Woodland, who had attended a talk I gave in Bergen over 10 years ago now. I had mentioned during that talk I was from Hampshire and afterwards he asked where. I said Eastleigh and he then told me he grow up only a mile or so away in Colden Common! We had been growing veg in Norway for as long as one another! David’s father was Dennis Woodland who did most of the work and took pictures for the Hillier Manual of Trees and Shrubs in the 70s. David’s family lived for some time at Jermyn’s House at the Hillier Gardens, just 6 miles from where my family have lived since the early 70s in Chandlers Ford. On the back of an interview I did with Radio Solent in Southampton soon after the book came out, I was invited to give a walk and talk at Hilliers in 2015 and the talk was in Jermyn’s House! This was the first of several walks and talks I did all over the world in botanical gardens and at Hilliers I was allowed for the first time to pick from the ornamental borders for a lunch salad! Mum and Dad attended (Dad can be seen in the background in the second picture below)!
See another blog post on the Hilliers walk and talk here: https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?page_id=1281
The next interconnection happened at that Hillier talk. As I was in Hampshire I talked about what I call the Hampshire perennial vegetable triangle where both Sea Kale (the most British of all vegetables), through William Curtis in Alton and Gilbert White in Selbourne, and watercress (Alresford) were domesticated in the 17-1800s: 

Little did I know but Sheila John, a volunteer at the Curtis Museum in Alton, was in the audience at Jermyn’s House. After the talk, Sheila approached me and asked if I would give my talk in Alton which I did a couple of years later in the Allen Gallery where, in the back garden they were planning a garden of William Curtis plants. I spent the next day in the library of the museum which had several rare books on Curtis. Sheila had also in the meantine helped me get a copy of his pamphlet on sea kale (below) from the British Museum:


….and this takes me back to garden historian Susan Campbell who I visited in 2017 at her home on the Solent, where she had a small sea kale garden next to the beach supplying sea kale to a restaurant in London (in season). At that time, she was the only one growing this wonderful vegetable for sale; see more at https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=10713 
The same day I had visited another of the speakers at Croome, Tim Phillips who has a wonderful vineyard within a walled garden near Susan in Lymington, see https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=10678
I was happy to spot Tim in the audience for the Chandlers Ford talk….thanks for the bottle Tim (pictures in the gallery at the bottom)! 
I can mention a few more connections to finish. In April 2008, I was with mum in the Hillier gardens and we’d stopped to admire some rather colourful purple spring shoots of a Hosta, possibly the cultivar “Patriot” (picture below). At that time I was writing my article for Permaculture Magazine on “Hosta: The Oriental Perennial Spinach” and was looking for ones with “edimental” shoots (a word I “invented” at about that time). At that moment a familiar face comes striding down the hill towards us with a group. It was well known plantsman, gardener, author and broadcaster, Roy Lancaster who has long been associated with Hilliers and I knew he lived locally in Chandlers Ford. He stopped for a chat and we talked for about 15 minutes about the edibility of Hostas and other unusual edibles Roy had come across on his travels. Below are those Hosta shoots and Roy disappearing up the path having lost the party he had been with!

Roy’s plant exploring writing had always been an inspiration for me, having read his book A Plantsman in Nepal in the 80s! It was to be over 15 years before we should meet again as he was in the audience at my talk, invited by Wild Hive’s Lizzie Dunn who is in his family. I was hoping he would come as my friend David Woodland (above) had known him when his dad was working at Hilliers and had sent a greeting to Roy which I passed on when I saw him react to the slide of David I showed! Roy told me that they hadn’t met since he had left for Norway! Roy came up afterwards to tell me that he had enjoyed the talk and encouraged me to keep it up….wow!
Incidentally, I grow one of Roy’s introductions from Nepal, a lovely form of Allium wallichii which I call “Lancaster”. It can be seen in the Onion Garden Chicago in Trondheim that I look after!
Long hoverfly on Allium wallichii “Lancaster” at the Ringve Botanical Gardens

I was also very happy to see Jen Butcher from Nottingham at the talk. She had stayed with us in Norway for a week on an RHS bursary in May and brought along two others from RHS Wisley! Another long traveller was  Chris Seagon and his wife who had travelled down from Lincolnshire. They have relocated their Devon Edible Garden Nursery there!

The final connection is a special thanks to Nic Landsdowne and her husband Richard who run the venue at the Hilt in Chandlers Ford. It was also Nic, who is one of my mum’s helpers who suggested earlier in the year that I should be in touch with Wild Hive….thank you, Nic, this wouldn’t have happened without you!

…and what a lovely review of my talk event by Wild Hive (follow the link below and help them if you can, what they are doing is incredibly important!). Through the amount of work and promotion the Wild Hive – Ecological Education Collective crew put in to this, they thoroughly  the fundrasing success it was!
https://www.wildhivecollective.org.uk/post/extreme-salad-man-stephen-barstow-talks-on-home-turf-in-hampshire

The talk was filmed, so will hopefully be made available at some stage!

Seed offered at the talk:
See https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=31661

Below are a collection of pictures taken by Wild Hive on the day (unless stated). Thanks all…and I’ll hopefully be back for more in the spring!

THE NEW EDIMENTALS SEED TRADE LIST FOR 2022-2023

WELCOME TO MY NEW SEED TRADE LIST FOR WINTER 2022-23, THIS YEAR WITH 338 CHOICES
20, 21, 22 indicate the harvesting year for the seed. Concerning seed quantity: as I don’t have many plants of each species, seed quantity is limited in most cases. Therefore, for some species you may only get a few seeds. Many species are harvested in my garden. Others are surplus from trade and purchase. OUT: Means out of stock.  NB! Cultivars do not always come true. I offer them anyway, but no guarantees to what you will get!  
NOTE: I don’t sell seed and I won’t be doing many trades this winter due to a busy schedule. However, I offer all plus others to members of Norwegian Seed Savers (KVANN) through our spring (February) “yearbook” and autumn catalogue. To become a member go to https://kvann.no/bli-med. It costs only kr. 250 / year plus postage and packing.
For trades, I am mainly interested in uncommon hardy perennials, but I may also be interested in annuals.
NB! Not all plants in the list are edible, although almost all are!
(The text in the list is at the moment only in Norwegian, but the botanical and cultivar names are included)

Download (XLSX, 34KB)

Sochan tops Mediterranean style

Thanks to Alan Bergo (@foragerchef) for reminding me to try sochan tops. This is Rudbeckia laciniata (cut-leafed coneflower) which in the double form is one of the most popular garden ornamentals here in Norway over the last 100 years and a plant that has been commercialised as a farm vegetable over recent years in Korea. I’d previously only eaten the spring shoots, but I was equally impressed by the tops which I used simply cooked with onion, garlic and  yellow zucchini from the garden, various fungi picked in the woods (saffron milkcap/matriske; hedgehog fungus / piggsopp and chantarelles / kantarell) and scrambled with eggs with a little chilim added (a classic way for preparing wild edibles in the Mediterranean countries. See the pictures below.
See other posts on this great vegetable which was introduced to me in one of Samuel Thayer’s books:
Appalachian Greens 
Cherokee Pizza