Tag Archives: Sea Kale

Happy Habby Pizza

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!
Sooooo tasty….

The Hablitzia once again impresses with its incredible productivity and early growth in one of the driest, shadiest places in the garden!

Sea Kale Yard on the Solent

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!

The Hampshire Walled Vineyard

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 ;)

The perennial self-fertilising vegetable gardens of Langeland

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 :)

 

Directions for the culture of sea kale from 1799!

In my book, I wrote the following in my account about Sea Kale (Crambe maritima):
“Domestication of sea kale (in the UK) seems largely to have been due to the efforts of the botanist William Curtis, who was Praefectus Horti at the Chelsea Physic Garden in London in the 1770s. It is still grown there (see photo 7). He wrote a pamphlet, ‘Directions for the culture of the Crambe maritima or Sea Kale, for the use of the Table’ in 1799 to bolster his efforts in introducing it as a market vegetable”

I’ve now finally managed to get a copy of it thanks to a coincidental meeting with Sheila John of the Curtis museum in Alton, Hampshire who attended a talk I gave at the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens in May 2015 (see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?page_id=1281). We kept in touch and I will actually be giving a talk at the Curtis Museum on 27th April!  The museum kindly purchased a copy of the pamphlet on Sea Kale from the Natural History Museum in London and sent me the pdf copy which you can download below!

A great little historical docment, here are a few quotes which I found interesting:

“Brassica dobrica: kale found at Dover (Dover Cole)”

 “…….in some grounds a troublesome weed” !

 “Authors describe a variety with jagged leaves, such we have not seen….”

 “As an article of food, Crambe maritima appears to be better known here than in any other part of Europe.

”..on many parts of the sea-coast, especially of Devonshire, Dorsetshire and Sussex, the inhabitants for time immemorial, have been in the practice of procuring it for their tables, preferring it to all other greens”

“The more curious, desirous of having it  near at hand…..have now in many of the maritime counties introduced it to their gardens, and in Devonshire particularly, almost every gentleman has a plantation of it….we have been informed it has for many years been cultivated for sale in the neighbourhood of Bath”

“My friend Mr. Wm.Jones of Chelsea tells me he saw bundles of it in a cultivated state exposed for sale in Chichester market, in the year 1753”

 

Download (PDF, 4.89MB)

Norwegian articles on edible halophytes and biosaline agriculture

Here are scans of two articles I wrote published in 2004 (in Norwegian) in Våre Nyttevekster. The first one is about great edible salt tolerant plants (halophytes) such as Tripolium vulgare (syn. Aster tripolium), Sea kale (Crambe maritima) and Beta maritima (sea beet), articles that were later expanded in my book Around the World in 80 plants!
For various reasons large areas of conventional agricultural land around the world are becoming too salty to grow conventional crops due to intensive cultivation with irrigation leading to salt build up in the soil. In places like the Netherlands coastal agricultural land is impacted by salt water from the sea. One can either try to breed increased resistence to salt in conventional crops or develop non-conventional crops based on wild species that naturally tolerate high levels of salt, so-called halophytes.

Download (PDF, 5.73MB)

Download (PDF, 2.98MB)

Solstice sweet and sour soup greens

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Tonight’s greens: Sea kale(strandkål), Scorzonera (scorsonnerot), Allium senescens, Sweet cicely (spansk kjørvel), Giant bellflower (storklokke), Sorrel / surblad, Nettle (nesle), Dandelion (løvetann)
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Sea kale(strandkål) flowering tops are delicious
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Scorzonera (scorsonnerot) tops are also delicious and sweet tasting
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Allium senescens hybrid
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Sweet cicely (spansk kjørvel) flowering tops (the flower stems need to be removed as they are woody) are also sweet.
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Giant bellflower (storklokke) tops are also sweetish
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Sorrel (surblad) leaves from my patch of 6 Russian cultivars

Somebody once said that solstice greens are the best…I’d add that solstice perennial greens are even better :) Here’s what I used in tonight’s soup: Sea kale(strandkål), Scorzonera (scorsonnerot), Allium senescens, Sweet cicely (spansk kjørvel), Giant bellflower (storklokke), Sorrel / surblad, Nettle (nesle), Dandelion (løvetann) (all are in my book)…and I almost forgot that there’s chickweed (vassarve) in there too, perennial in that it’s there every year!

Diamond back moth invasion

One of the worst invasions of diamond back moth / kålmøll happened a couple of days ago….here is a video showing hundredds swarming over one of my Lily White sea kale plants which is about to flower. Luckily they never do much damage to sea kale (Crambe maritima) as the harvest is over before they arrive, one of the big advantages of perennial brassica…on the other hand, annual brassica crops are being planted now in my area…they have little chance against these tiny moths….
I blame the rapeseed oil industry for this…they don’t overwinter here, but they migrate passively on warm winds from central Europe and Russia, even reaching Svalbard and Northern Norway…

Perennial vegetable tempura

April 2014 and Yngvil (aka Ms. Saladdy) was helping out in my garden, her practical experience for her education to become a gardener!  I’ll let her tell her own story of the wonderful diverse tempura we made together on that day using perennial veggies!

See also https://saladdy.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/tempura-day 

..includes ostrich fern, blanched lovage, Udo, perennial kale, moss-leaved dandelion, Allium victorialis, nettles, Aster scaber, scorzonera shoots, Campanula latifolia, Oca, Myrrhis, Allium scorodoprasum, garlic, Allium ursinum, Ligularia fischeri (first time), sea kale, Primula veris “Red Strain”, Rumex acetosa, Alliaria petiolata and a few others…

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