Tag Archives: Væres Venner Community Garden

Garden visits with Fosen students

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!

20 seasons with Sarpo potatoes

(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.

Mini-glut of runner beans

The climate is such here that starting runner beans / blomsterbønner (Phaseolus coccineus) in mid-May they normally aren’t ready to harvest until September and the first frosts in October usually stop their development. Growing seed to maturity is also a challenge in many years, so it’s difficult to select better and earlier varieties more suited to my climate. Early October and we are only just managing to eat all the runner beans. Only once in the almost 40 years I’ve been growing them here was there such a big harvest that I had to preserve them. Not having a freezer, they were salted for later use. These were used in a fish soup this week, sliced using an English runner bean shredder! I grew two varieties this year, the heirloom Painted Lady with bicoloured red and white flowers and red flowered Firestorm with very long stringless beans. Firestorm was a little later. They were transplanted outside at home and in the Americas part of the World Garden at the Væres Venner Community Garden.

Broad Bean Diversity contributes to Resilience

Broad beans (favas / bondebønner) will easily cross with other varieties that are growing nearby.  In order to keep a variety pure, you need to isolate them physically. I’ve chosen a different strategy and manage to maintain a mix of different bean colour and size forms by selecting for these characteristics every autumn. This automatically gives different flower colours too (broad beans are beautiful enough to be included in the edimental category and are also edi-ento-mentals as they are also extremely popular with bumblebees). Here are my selections which I made yesterday after drying the beans for storage.

Each form will be stored separately and each variety will be planted close to each other in a large block of beans containing many different forms! I think that diversity within a species also contributes to a good harvest with better bean set. I have never had a crop failure using my own home saved mix of beans. I don’t offer the different forms as named varieties, but as a mix or composite “Væres Venner* Mix” through the KVANN / Norwegian Seed Savers yearbook (kvann.no) in February so that others can also select for separate forms!
*Væres Venner is the community garden where most are grown.
See also this post showing the diversity of flowers that produced these beans: https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=26183