Category Archives: Biannuals

Indian summer flowers

There were unusually many plants still flowering in the garden in October this year as we experienced a bit of an Indian summer. We’ve now had our first frost, so time to publish this album of 116 pictures of over 100 species. Most but not all are edible / edimentals and, yes, I should have made a salad.




Samaritan’s Goatsbeard: new species for The Edible Garden

Samaritan’s Goatsbeard (Tragopogon crocifolius subspsamaritanii)  is currently flowering, a biannual species from Southern Europe (Italian: Barba di becco di Samaritani). and it’s a beauty! In Scandinavia, Tragopogon crocifolius is only found on the Baltic island Gotland.
See otherwise my (Norwegian) article on the ethnobotany of Scorzonera and Tragopogon here https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=21020

Cicoria Fantastica!

I love chicories, a huge diversity of vegetable and wild forms, some perennial, hearting types, dandelion like types, various colour forms often like this one splashed with colour, varieties used as root vegetables, coffee surrogate types, forms for winter forcing, hardy, tasty, healthy, beautiful when flowering (both white, red, blue and pink forms are available) and there are no pests or diseases here…what isn’t there to like about them?
I harvested them for storing in my cold cellar and forcing later on in the season. This one was used in an Indian curry with barley “rice”.

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Jack-go-to-bed-by-noon/Chorogi/Madeira vine tuber harvest

Harvested roots of Jack-go-to-bed-by-noon (Tragopogon pratensis), an introduced weed in my garden. It is related to salsify and scorzonera – I eat the roots and force a few for early spring greens; Madeira vine is in the Basellaceae and isn’t everybody’s cup-of-tea as they are rather mucilaginous – they can also be forced in winter for the equally mucilaginous greens! I LIKE THEM, but always mixed with other veg. Finally, I harvested my long neglected chorogi which were surprisingly good yielding despite the fact that they were completely overgrown by weeds..
All are now stored in the cellar.

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Jack-go-to-bed-by-noon (Tragopogon pratensis) / geitskjegg

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Anredera cordifolia (Madeira vine)

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Chorogi or chinese artichoke (Stachys affinis)

 

The Edible Japanese Bluebell!

When I visited Japan in early spring 2016, I noticed a violet/purple flower growing as an ornamental in some gardens and also escaped as a weed.

I finally realized that it was a plant I had grown for a couple of years (2011-2012) as an unusual annual vegetable, Orychophragmus violaceus, known as ‘Chinese Violet Cress’ or ‘February Orchid’, sourced from Horizon Herbs in the US. Despite one of its common names, it’s not an orchid but is related to cress, belonging to the cabbage family Brassicaceae.

It hadn’t grown particularly well in my garden, but it did manage to flower and I used them in various salads during those two years, adding a different colour to the mix and it continued flowering right to the first frosts in November! It was also badly attacked by the usual pests of Brassicas, but it bounced back with masses of shoots from the roots in the autumn when the pest pressure was released. It doesn’t like temperatures below -5C and therefore didn’t have much chance of overwintering here in Malvik (it is biannual in the Far East).

Orychophragmus violaceus has a wild distribution in China and Korea and was introduced to Japan a long time ago both as an ornamental and also as a potential oil seed crop (you can google pictures of it growing alongside rape oil plants). In the wild it has a wide range of habitats from woodlands,  gardens, roadsides and open fields. In Japan it has widely naturalized in many habitats thanks to its adaptability and it is now found throughout the islands, encouraged by gardeners who love the early spring flowers. In some parts it carpets woodlands in the early spring and it has been described as the Bluebell of Japan! However it is also a weed in gardens (and as such one of the world’s most beautiful weeds!). In Japan it is known as hanadaikon (“flower-daikon”), which name is also used for Hesperis matrionalis (dame’s violet), ooaraseitoumurasaki-hana-na (“purple-flower-rape”), shikinsou (“purple-gold-plant”). Shokatsusai /  zhu ge cai  is its Chinese name.

It has also been used as a forage species in China:
“Its shoots are rich in protein, iron, calcium and vitamins A and C. Hence it is a valuable forage. Its shoot yield is high, about 36,400 kg/ha, when cultivated in Chengdu. This plant species is adaptable to grassland, barren hills, roadsides, gardens, etc. Its protein content is higher than most other forage plants.”

Orychophragmus violaceus is mentioned as an edible wild plant alongside Udo (Aralia cordata) in Joy Larkcom’s Oriental Vegetables!

Weekend garden pictures

A diverse selection of pictures from last weekend in the Edible Garden :)

Alliaria capers

I have two helpers in the garden this week and one of the jobs was to pull up all the garlic mustard / løkurt which was in danger of spreading big time! When I returned home, Tone was sitting outside patiently pulling off the young seed pods. They were cooked up in a failed attempt to make them less fibrous. She then separated the young green seeds for a tasty exclusive relish which we ate with dinner!

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