Tag Archives: Matteuccia struthiopteris

Harvesting winter vegetables before the freeze

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 senescensAllium 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):

Chards with celeries at the beginning:



Korean tempura and dipping sauce for perennial vegetables

AROUND THE WORLD IN THE EDIBLE GARDEN; Part 2 – Korea
Inviting you to the second in a series of dinners from Malvik’s Edible Garden where we “forage” from different parts of the world!
We don’t often eat oily food, but now and again its great and this meal was exceptional!
From top left and clockwise:
Ligularia fischeri
Dystaenia takesimana
(Giant Ulleung celery, seombadi)
Aralia cordata (udo) (blanched for dipping and green for tempura)
Phyteuma (should have been japonica, but I used nigra; svartvadderot)
Allium victorialis subsp platyphyllum (victory onion; seiersløk)
Aralia elata (devil’s walking stick, fandens spaserstokk)
Hosta “Frances Williams”
Hemerocallis dumortieri (flower shoots) (dayliliy, daglilje)
Parasenecio hastatus (also the first time I ate this one and it was delicious, but I wouldn’t advise eating a lot: see here http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=23845)
Matteuccia struthiopteris “Jumbo” (ostrich fern; strutseving)
Taraxacum albidum and to the right of this:
New Zealand spinach and
Serratula coronata (also a first for me; the subspecies insularis is eaten in the Far East)
Oplopanax horridus (North American species substituting Asian species Oplopanax japonicus or Oplopanax elatus)
More information with the pictures!

 

Green Ostrich Pasta

I noticed yesterday that the ostrich ferns (strutseving) in the forest garden had put on a spurt despite the cold weather and were almost past the harvesting stage. This is the main disadvantage of this great vegetable. The harvesting window is very narrow. I quickly harvested some, taking care not to take more than 1/3 of the shoots. Together with Hablitzia tamnoides (Caucasian spinach), a bit of sea kale (strandkål), ramsons (ramsløk) and sand leeks (bendelløk) this made a delicious green pasta sauce.  
See the video before I picked below!



Status of the Granvin victory onion location

In June 2009, I was shown the only naturalised stand of victory onion (Allium victorialis) in south western Norway (away from Lofoten Islands – Vestvågøy – and Bodø area where there are several large populations, possibly a Viking introduction there which has subsequently spread).  It’s also found in a damp woodland (which regularly floods in spring) along the Granvinselven (the Granvin river) in south west Norway (see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=10658). It is suggested that the onion came to Granvin by way of the so-called Jektefart (a trade route based on dried fish from Lofoten to western Norway), was planted in a garden close to the site, subsequently naturalising from there!

Naturalised locations of Allium victorialis in Norway showing the isolated Granvin site (the location near Oslo is probably extinct

In late October 2014, there was a major flood in western Norway (https://nn.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oktoberflaumen_i_2014) which caused a lot of damage including in Granvin. Over 200mm rain was recorded over 3 days in several places and up to 330mm! Although not a record, it had already rained a lot for most of October and the ground was already saturated when the worst rain happened…leading to a totally unexpected extreme event.

I heard rumours that the victory onion location had been severely impacted by this event, so when we drove past Granvin on the way back from the Nordic Permaculture Festival in Jondal, I took the opportunity to visit the location! This confirmed that the site is much reduced and there is visible signs of erosion including a dried up channel through the middle of the wooded island where the onion is found (the river was very low due to the drought). In addition, I was surprised to find that a path had been constructed between the river and the school. This is part of a major civil engineering work in Granvin to protect the low lying inhabited areas from flooding (see https://www.nve.no/nytt-fra-nve/nyheter-skred-og-vassdrag/granvin-har-fatt-betre-tryggleik-mot-flaum )
A video showing the completed works https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Keg-BSrAi94 shows aerial views of “victory onion island” between 0:56 – 1:24!
These works may lead to further erosion and destruction of the island….
Seeds were actually already ripe due to the hot summer and I therefore collected seed to safeguard the Granvin onion to be offered to Norwegian Seed Savers (KVANN) through our autumn catalogue which will be produced in October!
From my friend Geir Flatabø: “Jaunssen Gjestgjevarstad (Jaunssen Guest House) in Granvin has begun to harvest / use the onion, and makes pesto served to guests, with good feedback.”

Other relevant articles:
Hagetidend (Norwegian gardening magazine) profile http://www.edimentals.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/6_Seiersl%C3%B8k_fra_Vestv%C3%A5g%C3%B8y.pdf

A report from my 2009 “onion safari” to Lofoten, Tromsø and Granvin can be found here (in Norwegian with English comments)  http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=18527 (some of this material ended up in my book Around the World in 80 plants))

Homla walk May 2018

Pictures from this week’s 5 hour (botanist pace) walk along the spectacular Homla canyon, the start about 14 km from home!

Homla walk 2nd June 2017

Another magical walk along the Homla Canyon in Malvik in the company of wwoofer of the week :)  First, a parade of Ostrich Ferns along the bank of the Homla river

A dipper (fossekall), Norway’s national bird flew past us singing as it flew and landed conveniently on some rocks 50m upstream:

 

16 days later

The rate of growth of Udo (Aralia cordata) from Japan is phenomenal in cool spring weather, even outgrowing Hablitzia tamnoides (Caucasian spinach)!
The first picture was taken by Christian Odberger during my permaveggies course and just two weeks later the plant is taller than me! The view is or less the same and the apple tree at the back is now in full bloom! The fern is ostrich fern.

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My garden helper Lorna from Belfast!

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