On Tuesday 23rd May I spent a great few hours together with Eva Johansson and Annevi Sjöberg from Sweden in my 3 gardens. They were on a fact-finding mission in connection with the project ”Främja fleråriga grönsaker i svensk matförsörjning” (Promoting perennial vegetables in the Swedish food supply). The project Främja fleråriga grönsaker i svensk matförsörjning is financed with funds from the Swedish Agency for Agriculture (Jordbruksverket) within the framework of the Swedish food strategy (den svenska livsmedelsstrategin). The project runs until Dec 2023. The Skillebyholm Foundation manages the project. Jen from Nottingham in the UK was visiting this week to help and learn, thanks to an RHS bursary! She joined us on the trip and can also be seen in the pictures below!
Being the focus of an art installation wasn’t something I ever imagined, but since February an installation has been exhibited at the Trondheim Art Museum Gråmølna based on my January winter vegetables and very nicely put together it was too, by a group of international artists working on the Meatigation (get it?) project through the MOREMEATLESSMEAT exhibition. This was designed to stimulate debate on why it is difficult to get Norwegians to reduce their meat consumption in the face of climate change. They visited me in January filmed me harvesting in the cellar, in the living rooms and outside and took away about 30 of my winter vegetables that were then scanned and exhibited with narrative provided by yours truly: JANUARY HERBARIUM For those that don’t know me, I am more or less 100% self-sufficient in vegetables and fruit all year round without using a greenhouse, additional heating or light (we use far less heating than most) and not owning a freezer.
Last Sunday (30th April 2023) between 14 and 16 the closing event focussed on the myth that one cannot avoid importing vegetables in winter here in Norway through the UNPACKING THE EDIMENTALS HERBARIUM event. It was fittingly also the #internationaldayofthedandelion a plant I eat most days year round (forced from roots in winter in my cellar and living rooms). To accentuate that vegetable diversity is possible even in cold Norway in winter, with snow showers outside the venue, at a time of year known as the Hungry Gap (I call it the Full Gap as it really can be the time of greatest abundance!) I (#extremesaladman) prepared my most diverse winter/spring salad ever (and probably anywhere) with 163 botanical species, 199 different plants (including cultivars) and in total 211 ingredients (includes different plant parts, such as flowers and leaves from the same plant). I prepared two different looking salads from the same ingredients! The list of ingredients can be found at the bottom (a list was also hung up on the wall so that the participants could read what they were eating!)
The second salad:
I was asked a series of questions and gave answers supported by various plants I’d brought with me: Allium cernuum (nodding onion / prærieløk) Hablitzia tamnoides (Caucasian spinach / stjernemelde) (both are available most of the winter outside) Allium pskemense x fistulosum (Wietse’s onion / Wietsesløk) Allium stipitatum (Persian shallot / Persisk sjalott) Vicia faba (dried broad beans / bondebønner) Beta vulgaris “Flavescens” (swiss chard / mangold) Angelica archangelica “Vossakvann” (Voss angelica / Vossakvann) Taraxacum spp. (dandelion / løvetann – demonstrating dandichokes / løveskokker and dandinoodles / dandinudler)
The questions were: BIODIVERSITY: Why is agricultural biodiversity important? PRESERVATION: Why preserve heritage varieties of edible plants?EMOTION: Why joy, pleasure & humor in food and farming? WINTER: What could we eat in the winter? Preservation & fresh. FUTURE: What could a Norwegian food future taste like if plants were at the center?
There were of course also many questions from the participants about what different plants were in the salads. I mentioned that the salads were originally not just the result of a slightly mad collectomanic’s work in Malvik but also had an important message. My second and still current world record salad was made 20 years ago in August 2003 (see https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=294). It had been inspired by the Mediterranean diet, where ethnobotanical studies on the back of the discovery of the low levels of cardiovascular disease in people eating traditional diets had revealed a huge diversity of plant species used in the Mediterranean region (over 3,000 species). Not only that, but traditional multi species salads, soups, calzones etc., often with over 50 different species had been discovered – more in my book Around the World in 80 plants). This week just 4 days before the event national broadcaster NRK had published an article once again pointing to the Mediterranean Diet as being the healthiest one! See NRK article.
The previous winter / spring record with 140 ingredients was made for Credo Restaurantat the Kosmorama Film Festival in 2017.
PREPARING THE SALAD ON MY BIRTHDAY The pictures below show me collecting the salad ingredients the day before which was my birthday, what better way of spending the day :)
On the way to the event, waiting at the bus stop with salad and plants as the snow came down!
Pictures from the event (taken by Anne Maisey from TKM Gråmølna):
Many thanks to Liz Dom who lead the event and project leaders Cat Kramer and Zack Denfeld and Anne Maisey from the museum, who took part remotely from Porto in Portugal at the start, for a great collaboration!
It’s always a pleasure to spend time with students from the Fosen Folk High School from the other side of the fjord. Despite the dreadful weather, we visited all 3 of my sites – the onion garden Chicago at the Ringve Botanical Gardens followed by the Væres Venners Community Garden and, finally, my own garden The Edible Garden (this is the first time I’ve taken a group to all 3 sites!). Those that took part were two of the “lines”: The Self-sufficiency line and the The Organic Farming line (small scale). The Organic Farming line were only on the first two visits, so the picture only shows the Self-sufficiency folk!
I had to go to Stjørdal this morning to renew my driver’s license. I took the bus there and returned with the train along the fjord to Trondheim as I needed to go to the botanical garden, a distance of about 34 km…and this beautiful train journey only costs kr 42, the same price as taking the bus anywhere in Trondheim!
This video shows a short stretch from Haugan to Malvik and the last few seconds shows my red house on the hill!
I was going to post an album of pictures showing off all the late flowers in the garden this record-breaking mild autumn still without any frost, but as they’re all edible I made a salad instead! There were 33 different edible flowers (see the list below the pictures) plus 30-40 greens and a whopper carrot which I decided to keep whole as a feature! It was cut up when the salad was tossed afterwards. It has a story too as it is one of the Danish accessions rematriated from Seed Savers Exchange (SSE) in the US last winter. I took a few seed before sending the rest on to Danish Seed Savers (Dansk Frøsamlerne). It’s called Kämpe which means Giant in Swedish/Danish (I call it Whopper as it’s probably the biggest/thickest carrot I¨’ve grown here). It’s not a very old variety and SSE informed that it was a cultivated variety originally from the Swedish seed company Weibulls. Anyone know more about it? Salad flowers, all harvested from the garden Salvia (blackcurrant sage / solbærsalvie) Fuchsia magellanica Hemerocallis “Stella de Oro” Taraxacum spp. (dandelion / løvetann) Rubus fruticosus (blackberry / bjørnebær) Papaver somniferum (opium poppy / opium valmue) Viola altaicum Campanula persicifolia (peach-leaf bellflower / fagerklokke) Sonchus oleraceus (common sow-thistle / haredylle) Glebionis coronaria (chopsuey greens / kronkrage) (3 varieties) Daucus carota (carrot / gulrot) (unopened flower umbel) Geranium sanguineum (bloody cranesbill / blodstorkenebb) Brassica oleracea (kale / grønnkål) Oenothera biennis (evening primrose / nattlys) Begonia Malva moschata (musk mallow / moskuskattost) (white and pink flowered) Malva alcea (hollyhock mallow / rosekattost) Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot / rørhestemynte) Monarda “Elsie Lavender” Calendula officinalis (pot marigold / ringblomst (2 varieties) Campanula trachelium (nettle-leaved bellflower / nesleklokke) Calamintha nepeta (lesser calamint / liten kalamint) Tropaeolum majus (nasturtium / vanlig blomkarse) (2 varieties) Pisum sativum (garden pea / ert) Origanum spp. (wild marjoram / bergmynte) (2 varieties) Campanula lactiflora Alcea rosea (hollyhock / stokkrose) Tragopogon pratensis (Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon / geitskjegg)
(Norwegian under) This year was the 20th season of growing Sarpo potatoes here in Malvik/Trondheim and yields are as good as ever with 100% blight resistance! These were harvested from the community garden at Væres Venner in Trondheim this week. My favourite variety is Sarpo Tominia which seems to be a little earlier and therefore better for areas with early frost (they remain vigorous right through to the time when the first hard frosts kill the foliage). I’ve also grown Sarpo Mira since 2009 and have also tried Sarpo Axona and “Sarpo Surprise” (from true seed). Norwegian: I år var det den 20. sesongen med dyrking av Sarpo-poteter her i Malvik/Trondheim og avlingene er like gode som alltid med 100 % tørråte-resistens! Disse ble høstet fra felleshagen på Væres Venner i Trondheim denne uken. Min favorittsort er Sarpo Tominia som ser ut til å være litt tidligere og derfor bedre for områder med tidlig frost (den vokser helt frem til de hardfrostene). Jeg har også dyrket Sarpo Mira siden 2009 og har også prøvd Sarpo Axona og “Sarpo Surprise” fra ekte frø.
I have a small patch of different forms of alpine bistort / harerug (Bistorta vivipara) in the garden and this year’s harvest is now drying in the living room. See other posts on this plant here: https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?s=%22alpine+bistort%22
One of my favourite perennial onions are persian shallots, Allium stipitatum and I’ve blogged about them several times in the past: https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?s=persian+shallot This is one of the earliest onions to appear in the spring and they flower and die down in the course of June. July is the best time to harvest the bulbs (I’ve often harvested them too late when they¨¨’ve already started sprouting in autumn). I harvested one plant this week and the bulbs were in perfect condition. I was once again struck by the yield (although it is probably two years since I harvested this plant). I replanted 3 of the largest bulbs. I usually dry the bulbs as they do in Iran, but this time I ate some fresh. They are surprisingly mild tasting and I used them fried in an omelette. Below the pictures is a Norwegian article on the persian shallot which I wrote in 2021.
Please download this Norwegian article on persian shallots: