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Around The World in 80 Plants : An Edible Perennial Vegetable Adventure For Temperate Climates, by Stephen Barstow
For book reviews, see here: http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?page_id=271
What has underground gardening in Tokyo, the origin of garlic and an English bishop got in common? They are all stories from the original, groundbreaking book, Around The World In 80 Plants. Perennial gardening will never be the same again, nor will be your kitchen repertoire!
Around The World In 80 Plants takes us on an inspiring edible adventure across the continents, introduacing us to the author’s top 80 perennial vegetables, with inspiration along the way from local foraging traditions and small scale domestication. Each plant has its own ethnobotanical story to tell; introducing Sherpa vegetables of the Himalayas; forest gardened and foraged vegetables of the Sámi people of Arctic Scandinavia; a super-vegetable of the Maori of New Zealand; an onion with a 1,000 year history linking the author’s home and Iceland ; a plant which earned the name ‘supermarket of the swamps’; the traditional veggie roof gardens of Norway; clifftop perennial vegetables of Dorset’s Jurassic coast; the Hampshire perennial vegetable triangle; Scandinavias best kept secret, a long-lived spinach that climbs; Prince Charles’ Forest Garden, and inspiring multi-species dishes of the Mediterranean countries.
A thorough description is given of each vegetable, its propagation, cultivation and uses, and also how to source seed and plants. As many of the author’s selections are what he calls ‘edimentals’ – edible and ornamental –Around the World in 80 Plants will be of interest to traditional ornamental gardeners as well as anyone interested in permaculture, forest gardening, foraging, slow-food, gourmet cooking, traditional preservation techniques and ethnobotany.
Stephen has devoted over 30 years trialling the world’s perennial vegetables. He grows more than 2,000 edible plants in his garden close to the Arctic Circle in Norway, and in 2003 earned the title ‘Extreme Salad Man’ after creating a salad using 537 varieties, inspired by multi-species Mediterranean dishes! Sprinkled with recipes inspired by local traditional gastronomy, this is a fascinating book, an entertaining adventure and a real milestone in climate-friendly vegetable growing from a pioneering expert on the subject.
Foreword by Alys Fowler:
“I have been patiently waiting for this book and then impatiently pestering for it, drumming my fingers loudly. And then one day it appears. Like everything that you have to wait for in life, it’s better for it. This book speaks of its maker … It’s a wonderfully detailed, ofteneccentric look at all the plants you’ve ever wondered were truly edible. Stephen is an extraordinarily clever man with a truly academic approach to knowledge, thus every detail you could wish for is in here. I’ve been poring over my copy and have made a list of must-try plants, planning how I can rearrange my garden this winter so I can fit in more of these. There are several reasons why Stephen’s work is so important. Firstly, the climate in which Stephen grows is not easy. True, he has a fjord to keep the worst of the freezing temperatures away, but he has a very short growing season. His garden is also on bedrock often just inches below the soil surface. He’s a committed permaculturist so you won’t find electric strimmers or extra heat for the greenhouse – all his rainwater is recycled and I have a fantastic picture of a year’s worth of Norwegian newspapers suppressing weeds. All of which amounts to this: if he can grow it, so can you. This tome is a treasure trove of truly useful perennial plants for making healthy, ecologically balanced, edible gardens. Our climate is increasingly unpredictable and many traditionally grown crops are not faring well in such conditions. We need diversity in our crops, we need people like Stephen who explore the boundaries of what’s edible and worthwhile to grow, and we need people like you to get inspired and start growing them too. Anyone who reads this book and acts on it is an early adopter of a brave new growing world. Get sowing, write about it, write to Stephen, join social media groups and tell the world that we have found new things to eat and the future tastes fine!”
Garden author and broadcaster
“Around the World in 80 Plants is more than just excellent profiles of little-known delicious vegetable crops. Stephen Barstow is one of the world’s great edible plant collectors and his stories of encountering plants in the wild, tracking down seeds of rare species, and of course growing and cooking with these species are absolute treasure. Many plant books just rehash information already written in other sources. Around the World in 80 Plants is delightfully marinated in personal experience. It will make you not only want to grow and eat these crops, but to travel to Siberia, Norway, and Chile to know them in their natural habitat. ”
Eric Toensmeier, award-winning author of Paradise Lot and Perennial Vegetables, and the co-author of Edible Forest Gardens.
“Stephen Barstow presents fascinating and useful information about his top 80 perennial leafy vegetables including lots of historical references, his and others’ recipe ideas, along with photos and more. Many of these are easily grown and can be ornamental as well as great edibles. This will be a really useful book helping extend the range of food plants for gardeners.” Martin Crawford, Agroforestry Research Trust.
“This should prove to be the most exciting book of the year for veggie gardeners, plant geeks and ethnobotanists…” Emma Cooper, author, organic gardener & blogger