Tag Archives: KVANN

2020 Potato Harvest

Here’s 24 of the 26 potato varieties I grew this year. Many are from the national potato preservation project administered by the Norwegian Seed Savers (KVANN). 10 different varieties(mini-tubers) which have been cleaned for virus are offered every year. Some of the smaller ones are small as they were started from mini-tubers (used as seed potatoes next year).
The varieties are from left to right:
TOP ROW: Tysk Blå; Eggeplomme; Gjernes potet; Sverre; Rosenpotet; Lange’s potet; Ingeleivs; King Edward Troll
SECOND ROW: Ivar; Blå Kerrs Pink; Gamle Raude; Svart Valdres; Buddhisten fra Snåsa; Ringerikspotet; Svartpotet fra Vegårshei (syn. Blå Kongo); Abundance
BOTTOM ROW: Beate; Rocket; Shetland Black; Sharpe’s Express; Brage; Hroar’s Drege and Sarpo Tominia
I’m not head-banging to the potatoes….honest:

Sarpo Tominia: the 17th harvest

I’ve been growing the blight resistent potato Sarpo Tominia every year since 2004 and it’s still going strong, showing no sign of lack of vigour, continuing in full growth right up to the first heavy frosts with fantastic yields. In the UK, this variety was deemed too similar to Sarpo Mira to be continued. However, my observations are that Tominia yields a bit better than Mira here, probably because it is a bit earlier. This makes little difference in the UK, but could be significant here in Norway where growth is stopped by early frosts. 
Norwegian Seed Savers (KVANN) administer a national program offering 10 virus cleaned varieties from our national list of some 80 traditonal varieties each year. Members are not allowed to pass these varieties on to others, but can save their own seed potatoes. This is to reduce the spreading of virus and other diseases. We will reoffer most varieties of interest after some years.  For the same reason we have also included other popular non-commercial varities in the program and Sarpo Mira has been included for some years now. Members are sent 3 mini-tubers of each variety and these are then used to produce seed potatoes for the following year.
We will now be including Sarpo Tominia in the programme and hope to be able to carry out comparative trials between these two varieties in a couple of years. Here is my harvest yesterday. These were grown in a very shady part of the garden with maximum 1 hour direct sunlight in summer and none when the tubers are forming!

A diversity of garden orach

I’ve grown numerous forms of garden orach (Atriplex hortensis; hagemelde) over the years as they are useful and decorative (edimental) annuals for the summer garden. Even though they are grown quite close to each other they don’t see to cross much. My red form (var. rubra) has maintained its colour for over 20 years in one small patch. Other favourites include golden orach (var. aurea) and an heirloom from Seed Savers Exchange in the US “Marie Barnes”. My favourite though is the Norwegian heirloom “Backlund/Bly” with enormous green leaves. Sadly, the seed doesn’t mature often here and I’ve lost it. Although this plant originated in Norway, it no doubt modified to its new home in the Mid-West in the US where it was maintained for several generations in a Norwegian family. See the (Norwegian) story here:
http://www.edimentals.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/3_Backlund-Bly_Hagemelde.pdf
There are also a number of green Danish heirlooms like “Lille Næstved Skole”
You can maybe spot red and golden orach as well as “Marie Barnes” in this salad ingredient picture (click on the plants in the picture for the names) https://www.adressa.no/pluss/magasin/article9858403.ece?rs6280711594805805236&t=1
I use them mainly in summer, both in mixed salads and cooked in numerous dishes, as there are plenty of other perennial greens available in early summer. 
See the pictures below:



The Allium garden at Ringve

19th June 2020: Video update from the Allium (Chicago) garden at the NTNU Ringve Botanical Gardens in Trondheim. The heat wave has brought many species into flower and the garden’s looking great! 
The official opening of the garden, planned for August, has been postponed to 2021. We are working on plant signs which will hopefully be added later in the summer.
The garden currently contains some 300 accessions including around 100 Allium species and many old Norwegian onions collected over several years from all over the country and funded by Norsk Genressurssenteret and Landbruksdirektoratet.
The signs for the garden are in part funded through a gift from Skjærgaarden (https://www.skjaergaarden.no) to KVANN (Norwegian Seed Savers) who have decided to use the gift at Ringve (see https://www.facebook.com/skjaergaarden.no/videos/2972781459487864)

Announcing the 4th Permaveggies course in the Edible Garden

Norsk: Se lengre ned på siden

English:
This is the course for you who want to learn more about perennial vegetables and forest gardening in a course held in and around Norway’s world-renowned Edible Garden, now one (of 4) Permaculture Land Centres in Norway, led by author and head of KVANN / Norwegian Seed Savers, Stephen Barstow. There will be lectures on Allium, an extended garden walk, making lunch and dinner with spring harvested produce, foraging on the shoreline and the ostrich fern tour along the Homla river canyon. Full program, pictures and link to pictures in the pdf at the bottom

It is also possible to extend your stay to Monday when we will work together in KVANN’s gardens at Væres Venner in Ranheim on Monday 11th May.

Course fee and registration: You must either be a member of KVANN or the Norwegian Permaculture Association. NOK 1600 (for the whole weekend) for KVANN members (membership costs NOK 250), NOK 1800 for members of the Norwegian Permaculture Association. Kr. 900 for students and unemployed. There is a binding registration when paying the course fee. VIPPS to 91529516 (private). Bank account: 82306086762. This course has been fully subscribed all the times it has been arranged in the past with a waiting list. If you sign up but are later prevented attending, there are good chances of finding someone take over your place and we will help advertising that!

Sign up to sbarstow2@gmail.com with your name, address, email, phone and year of birth (we need this information because we are seeking support from Studieforbund Natur og Miljø)

Norsk:  Dette er kurset for deg som vil lære mer om flerårige grønnsaker og skogshaging i og rundt Norges verdenskjent Spiselig Hage, nå et (av 4) Permakultur Land Sentre i Norge, ledet av forfatter og leder av KVANN, Stephen Barstow. Det blir foredrag om Allium, utvidet hagevandring og felles matlaging, sanketur i fjæra og strutsevingetur langs Homla. Fullt program, bilder og lenk til bilder fra de 3 tidligere kurs kan man laste ned nederst på denne siden.

Det er også mulighet å være med på dugnad i KVANNs hager hos Væres Venner mandag 11. mai.
Kursavgift og påmelding: Man må enten være medlem av KVANN eller Norsk Permakultur Forening. Kr. 1600 (for hele helgen) for medlemmer av KVANN (medlemskap koster kr. 250), kr. 1800 for medlemmer av Norsk Permakultur Forening. Kr. 900 for studerende og arbeidsledige. Det er bindende påmelding ved betaling av kursavgifta. VIPPS til 91529516 (privat). Bankkonto: 82306086762. Dette kurset har blitt fulltegnet alle ganger tidligere med venteliste. Om man tegner seg på, men senere blir forhindret er det gode sjanser for å få noen til å ta over plassen din og det skal vi hjelpe til med!

Påmelding til sbarstow2@gmail.com med ditt navn, adresse, epost, telefon og fødselsår (dette trenger vi fordi vi søker støtte fra Studieforbund Natur og Miljø).

Download (PDF, 1.11MB)

Mountaineer Perennial Rye

Back in the 2000s most of the interesting amateur plant breeding work was discussed on the Homegrown Goodness forum. That was the first time I heard about work on developing perennial grains through crossing modern day varieties of rye and wheat with perennial relatives. In particular, there was Tim Peters’ Perennial Grain Project in Oregon and one of the first releases was his Mountaineer Perennial Rye developed through crossing perennial wild mountain rye Secale montanum with modern rye Secale cereale.
Although I had no ambitions to work on breeding grains, but along with perennial vegetables, it opened new possibilities for climate-friendly grain production with plants that could potentially produce over several successive seasons, requiring much less energy input, and with their extensive root systems requiring both less fertiliser and irrigation and hence more robust to climate extremes with less erosion.
Reports were that although lower yielding, they were shatter resistant, easily threshed and good for poor soils: it was reported that it tends to live longer on poorer soils (2-4 years on rich soils, 7 to 8 on poorer soils).

I was keen to try Mountaineer in my climate with significantly colder winters than in Oregon and where it had been tested in France and the Netherlands in Europe. I finally got hold of seed in 2013, but didn’t get round to sowing the seed until spring 2015 (in retrospect, I could have autumn sown) and planted 7 plants in June 2015. The plants proved hardy enough and overwintered twice, flowered well but all the plants seemed to be sterile. They died winter 2017-2018. I decided to try again and about 10 new plants were planted in May 2018. Now this autumn I finally got a small yield (pictures). I will offer a few seeds to members of Norwegian Seed Savers (KVANN) through our yearbook in February and plant a larger number of plants in KVANN’s Vegetable Sanctuary at Væres Venner next autumn!
I don’t know what the status is today with Tim Peters’ grain breeding work. He was also working with wheat and sorghum. Let me know if you know!

 

Norwegian Seed Savers establish a guild for Perennial and Forest Gardening vegetables

KVANN (Norwegian Seed Savers) have established a guild for perennial vegetables and food forest vegetables (free for members of KVANN, go to kvann.no and click on “Bli med i KVANN” to join)
Norw: Nå er KVANNs laug for Flerårige og Skogshage Grønnsaker formelt etablert og vi har en FB gruppe som venter for dere som er interessert å være med (gratis og kun for medlemmer av KVANN). Det blir en del godbiter kun for laugmedlemmene i løpet av vinteren og et permagrønnsaks-kurs i Malvik til våren primært for medlemmene! Gå til https://www.facebook.com/groups/818621048572751 og svarer på spørsmålene for å melde deg inn!

This year’s Norwegian heritage potatoes

This is the second year we’ve grown the ten  (new) virus-cleaned mini-seed potato varieties made available every year through the national Norwegian program, managed by Norwegian Seed Savers (KVANN), to conserve our potato heritage.  These have been grown in KVANNs vegetable sanctuary at Væres Venner Community garden.  These will be used as seed potatoes for next year!  In order to try to restrict the spread of disease, those receiving the mini-tubers are not allowed to pass them on or swap them!
In the picture below, the following varieties are seen:
Top row:  Truls, Shetland Black, Tysk Blå, Hroars Drege, Gjernes Potet
Bottom row: Røde fra Skjåk, Beate, Ivar, Kerrs Pink Blå, Brage

Last year’s potatoes are seen in the following link:

Potato harvest at Væres Venner

Walk and talk at Jøssåsen

I enjoyed my visit to Jøssåsen Landsby (Camphill Village) here in Malvik in the inland higher part of Malvik kommune. It’s too long since I visited!  Inger Line Ødegård, who is also KVANN’s (Norwegian Seed Savers) events secretary, had invited me up to do a walk and talk about the edible wild and cultivated plants. Inger Line is working at Jøssåsen as part of her biodynamic BINGN education.
We found both planted Hosta, Daylilies and Hops  around the houses. We also found many wild edibles, notably burdock (Arctium tomentosum), alpine bistort (harerug), caraway (karve) and sorrel (engsyre). We talked about the huge potential of growing perennial vegetables in higher areas like Jøssåsen and KVANN’s Sansai group which are trialling perennials in mountain areas.
After the walk, Inger Line showed me the vegetable gardens and greenhouse which she has responsibility for.