13th June 2020 perennial greens were stir-fried and served with quinoa and served with Allium ursinum flowers. Allium validum (swamp or Pacific onion) with flower shoot Saxifraga pensylvanica (swamp saxifrage) Gunnera tinctoria Asparagus officinalis (asparges) Crambe maritima (sea kale / strandkål broccolis) Perennial kale “Walsall Allotments” (flerårig kål) Campanula latifolia (giant bellflower / storklokke) Aster macrophyllus (big-leaf aster) flowering shoots of various Russian Rumex acetosa cultivars (sorrel / engsyre)
The greens were stir-fried with chili and garlic and served with Norwegian organic quinoa with ramsons (ramsløk) flowers:
Presenting yesterdays greens used on a veggie 100% whole grain barley/spelt/rye sourdough pizza were: Hablitzia tamnoides (Caucasian spinach /stjernemelde) (eaten now every day since the beginning of March and there’s more to harvest now than at any time since I started!) Crambe maritima (sea kale / strandkål) Allium ursinum (ramsons / ramsløk) Levisticum officinale (lovage / løpstikke) (I call blanched lovage “spring celery” as it’s not that much stronger than celery…and much easier to grow than celery organically) Ligularia fischeri (Gomchwi; Fischer’s Ligularia / Koreansk nøkketunge) (King of the Sannamul: see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?page_id=3114) Rumex patientia (Patience dock / Hagesyre) Bistorta officinalis (Bistort / Ormerot)
Sea kale Crambe maritima is sometimes referred to as the King of the Vegetables (Queen is perhaps more fitting!) . This is partly due to the fact that it was in the past cultivated in heated greenhouses for nobility in the UK for Christmas! Maybe not the King, it is certainly an aristocrat and the easiest perennial brassica in cold climates (along wtih even hardier Crambe cordifolia) as it is hardier than perennial kales as it resprouts from the roots every spring and can easily be covered by a mulch of leaves or suchlike in colder climates. I do this every autumn just in case we have a very cold winter (I have experienced plants to resprout from deep roots when the surface roots have been killed in winter). I would normally take off the leaf mulch early April, but this winter it’s been so mild I removed it a few days ago and the plant had already put out delicious sprouts…I’ve been snacking on them! My oldest sea kale is approaching 40 years old, but hasn’t appeared yet (oldies sleep longer I guess!). Much more about Sea Kale in my book Around the World in 80 plants or by searching here: https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?s=sea+kale
They are also beautiful. The pictures show the cultivar Lily White which is only about 8 years old.
This week I’ve spent a lot of time preparing various less hardy plants for winter, laying down blackberry canes and covering with leaves and jute sacking to hold the leaves in place and similarly with sea kale which is marginally hardy here.
Even though it was under -5C it was dry and quite pleasant to work outside raking leaves from the wild part of the garden.
I was a bit late this year, the cold spell with 10 days below 0C every day means that there’s already 10cm or so frozen solid in parts of the garden, so crossing fingers that I wasn’t too late.
Here’s part of my collection of perennial kales which are marginal here even with the roots protected. In my world, kales are of the least hardy vegetables :)
The canes of my 30 year old blackberry are almost as long as the south facing wall of my house:
…and my 35 year old seakale bed, covered as maybe 1 in 10 winters they wouldn’t survive!
My daughter asked if we’d like to come and join her and her friend in Napolitana (the village pizza restaurant). We were actually just about to eat pizza with new zealand spinach (NZ spinat), broad beans (bondebønner), Johannes shallots (Sankthans-sjalott), patience dock (hagesyre), sea kale (strandkål) and steinsopp (cep / porcini) topping with Hartington Silver thyme (timian) in the tomato sauce with chili….on a sourdough pizza made with 100% wholegrain barley (bygg), svedjerug (Svedje rye), spelt and emmer wheat.
We ate at home!
More or less anything can be used in a pizza, but I wager these have never been used in the same pizza: Oplopanax horridum, Allium scorodoprasum, Crambe maritima (sea kale /strandkål), Ligularia fischeri and Reynoutria japonica (Japanese knotweed).
Last night’s dinner was a 100% wholegrain sourdough pizza with Hablitzia, four cheese and poppy seed topping…
The dough was made from a selection of whole grain organic flours including: coarse rye, emmer, barley, coarse spelt, svedjerug and a few barley and svedjerug grains added.
It was accompanied by a blanched salad – sea kale, dandelion “Vert de Montmagny Ameliore” and Allium tuberosum!
The Hablitzia once again impresses with its incredible productivity and early growth in one of the driest, shadiest places in the garden!
After my visit to Tim Phillips’ walled garden vineyard (see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=10678), I was very happy that Susan Campbell found time in a busy schedule to meet and she drove me to her and husband Mike Kleyn’s home and garden on the Solent… sadly, Mike was travelling on the other side of the world visiting family… :(
Susan is the co-founder, in 2001, of the Walled Kitchen Garden Network and began researching the history of walled kitchen gardens in 1981 (the same year that I moved to Norway, so I know it’s an awful long time!). She has personally visited and photographed over 600 walled kitchen gardens in the UK and abroad, making her a foremost authority on the subject. I met her as she had come across my book and on the strength of it invited me over from Norway to give a couple of talks at the Walled Kitchen Garden Network Forum at Croome (see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?page_id=2554). You can read more about this network here: http://www.walledgardens.net
However, the main reason for my visit was to see first hand Susan’s sea kale yard, the only operation I’m aware of that delivers seakale commercially in the UK, despite sea kale being for me the most English of all vegetables and for some the King of vegetables! See also my blog post about visiting the Curtis Museum in Alton, coming soon!
Late April 2017 and I finally got round to visit some folks in South Hampshire who I’d met at the Walled Kitchen Garden Forum weekend at Croome in 2015! I love enthusiastic people who are willing to take risks…Tim Phillips is one of these…in his own words “His once abandoned 19th century kitchen garden in Hampshire provides a fantastic environment for…Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc vines. The combination of gravel soils, Lymington’s maritime climate and the thermal properties of the walls offer a unique vine-growing opportunity from which both still and sparkling wines are crafted”.. (see http://www.charlieherring.com/)
On the day of my visit, Tim had been up all night keeping his vines from freezing by burning wood fires in the vineyard….this strategy seems to have saved the crop from a complete failure of the 2017 vintage :) This problem wasn’t restricted to England but also famous wine growing areas in France: http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/29/in-pictures-french-farmers-use-fire-to-try-to-save-their-vineyards.html
I look forward to returning in a few years to view you sea kale production areas ;)
Having completed my course at Naturplanteskolen and guided walk at Grennessminde in August 2016, I was “rewarded” by being taken on a botanical excursion to the island Langeland. These pictures were taken at the north tip of the island which had a luxurious seaweed fertilised vegetation of some familiar perennial vegetables! Thanks to Aiah Noack of Naturplanteskolen :)