All posts by Stephen Barstow

Early July Veg

Here are some of the vegetables we’re currently using.
From left to right:
Common sow thistle / haredylle (Sonchus oleraceus) will be in most meals from now to September
Parsley / persille 
Ground elder / skvallerkål
Perpetual spinach (Beta vulgaris var flavescens)
Moss leaved dandelion (Taraxacum sublaciniosum “Delikatess”)
Oregano / bergmynte (Origanum vulgare)
Chopsuey greens (Glebionis coronaria); I’m growing out about 10 varieties from IPK Gatersleben this year
Day lily / daglije (Hemerocallis): flower buds from two species
Urtica kiovensis (nettle / nesle) 
Nodding onion / Prærieløk (Allium cernuum) flower scapes
Hablitzia tamnoides (Caucasian spinach / stjernemelde) leaves
Rumex patientia (Patience dock / hagesyre)
Rumex acetosa (non-flowering); sorrel / engsyre
Perennial kale / flerårig kål (Brassica oleracea)
Dandelion / løvetann (Taraxacum officinale)
Sherpa or Nepal onion / Sherpaløk (Allium wallichii)

Used in a green pasta sauce with wholegrain spelt pasta

Dried fruit salad

The fresh fruit season approaches rapidly as the first fruit ripens…wild strawberries (markjordbær) and haskaps (Lonicera edulis). Since the fresh apples ran out early April we’ve been eating delicious rehydrated dried fruit salad every day. We mix different flavours (sour and bitter and sweet) in the same way as in mixed salads. Here are the recipe and ingredients in this year’s “Summer in a Bowl” mix: apples, wild bilberries, raspberries (from the hills and garden),  yellow raspberries, redcurrants, saskatoons (Amelanchier), rhubarb, sour cherries and gooseberries! We both made mixed fruit leather and dried the berries as they were (mixed together in the rehydrated mix). I never buy fruit and never use sugar for preserving and don’t own a freezer (by choice).

Rehydrated fruit mix for breakfast every day is delicious:

The first ripening berries of 2021 (wild strawberries and haskaps):

…and the 2021 fruit harvest is very promising with both plums, cherries and apples all  covered in flowers in May (pictures and video of the biggest apple tree – Aroma)

Tall Swamp Onion

Years ago, I was at a work meeting in San Francisco with my colleague Harald Krogstad who sadly died in 2020. It’s very easy to put a date on this as we flew back on the day of the September 11 attacks, almost 20 years ago. After the meeting we hired a car and drove up to the Sierra Nevada and walked for a couple of days in the Tuolumne Meadows area. I remember finding a patch of a large Allium that I later found out had to be the tall swamp onion or Pacific onion (Allium validum). A few seeds from those plants later germinated in Malvik and this became one of the 80 plants in my book Around the World in 80 plants. A few years ago I renovated my pond area and associated damp area where I was growing this onion which grows in large clumps in damp meadows at elevations of 1200-3350 m in the Sierra Nevada. It was finally possible to harvest again this year and yesterday I used it in scrambled eggs. The flowers umbels are unusually small for such a large Allium and for that reason has never become popular as an ornamental.  See an earlier blog post with pictures that didn’t make it into the book here: https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?page_id=5994



Allium ulleungense: a new vigorous edimental

In 2019, a very interesting paper was published giving a very good case for splitting the geographically widespread Allium victorialis species complex, at the same time describing a new endemic species to the island Ulleung between Korea and Japan. The paper also mentions that the species is “Rare in natural habitats, but widely cultivated in Korea as an edible plant named ‘Myeong-i-na-mul’ or ‘Sanmaneul.’”
Reference: Allium ulleungense (Amaryllidaceae), a new species endemic to Ulleungdo Island, Korea” by Hyeok-Jae Choi, Sungyu Yang, Jong-Cheol Yang and Nikolai Friesen in the Korean Journal of Plant Taxonomy
Those who follow my blog and FB posts will maybe remember my article on the Giant Ulleung Celery, Dystaenia takesimana, another edible endemic to this island which I’m growing in my garden from two sources, one of which is the Gothenburg Botanical Gardens in Sweden (see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=24998)
Figure 4 in the paper shows a map of Allium subg. Anguinum showing the disjunct distribution of what was earlier classified as Allium victorialis, now split into Allium victorialis, microdictyon, ochotense and the new species Allium ulleungense together with other species in the section like Allium ovalifolium.
The article has a useful table and pictures showing the differences between microdictyon, ochotense and ulleungense.
I have about 10 different “Allium victorialis” accessions in my garden both from Norway, Kola (Russia), the Alps and the Far East. Having read the paper which documents that the Ulleung victory onion has both broader and longer leaves I noticed that one of my plants had very different and broader leaves than my other ones and was particularly vigorous. I had lost the label of this plant. Johan Nilson of the Gothenburg Botanical Garden wrote on the Alliorum forum thread about this species: “I believe we might grow this” (they had had an expedition to the island some years ago and this onion and Dystaenia had been collected). Johan had given me various edibles on a visit to Gothenburg a few years ago and I wonder if he might have given me this plant?
Anyway, the morphology of this plant fits well to the newly described species with several leaves 12 cm wide (ochotense reaches 10 cm and microdictyon 6 cm); leaves up to 26-27 cm long (the other two species reach 25 and 21.5cm) and yesterday I measured the white tepals which are slightly longer in the new species and this also matched with 7mm length (the others reaching 6.5). The rounded leaf apex of my plant also matches ulleungdense, acute in the other two species (and other Japanese accessions I have in my garden). I now need to propagate it and plant it in the Allium garden Chicago at the Ringve Botanical Garden. 

Bee beetle

One of my favourite insects is the bee beetle / humlebille (Trichius fasciatus). This morning I saw it on one of my favourite onions victory onion / seiersløk (this one is Allium ochotense; the East Asian species – recently separated out as a species). Later I filmed it also on a hogweed (Heracleum spp.).





Flower buds and broccolis from perennial vegetables

As we approach midsummer many of my perennial vegetables are beginning to flower and from spring leaves and shoots we are now in the flower bud, scape (flower stem) and broccoli stage. Many stronger tasting plants have much milder upperparts than the earlier growth. This is presumably because the plants transfer their energy from insect defence to seed production.

From left to right: Turkish rocket / russekål (Bunias orientalis); Allium x proliferum (topset onions / luftløk); heartleaf crambe / buskstrandkål (Crambe cordifolia); sorrel / engsyre (Rumex acetosa) and sea kale / strandkål (Crambe maritima)

 

Best left for the bees!

I inherited a garden full of columbines / akeleier (Aquilegia vulgaris) and there’s a range of different forms. I took the pictures below yesterday. I tried sucking a couple of flowers for nectar but I guess the bees got there first. I had found a paper documenting that children sucked / ate the flowers for the nectar: “People considered it more a children amusement than a feeding behaviour.” They are not so poisonous that it’s necessary to remove the flowers if children are around which is a custom here in Norway.
Ref. Wild edible plants traditionally gathered in Gorbeialdea (Biscay, Basque Country).
Otherwise this is a plant that has escaped from gardens throughout the country! I’ll leave them to the bees!

Second speckled wood

The second observation of speckled wood (skogringvinge) here and still the only place this species has been seen on this (the south) side of the fjord (see the map of observations). Last time, it was a somewhat worn butterfly in July, this time a nice fresh looking individual. Numerous grass species are the larval food plants. Here’s the post about the first record here in Malvik in 2018: http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=18413

KVANN’s World Garden

At the Væres Venner community garden on the outskirts of Trondheim at Ranheim in an area we hope will remain a green belt, I have been working to create what we call Verdenshagen (The World Garden) in collaboration with KVANN (Norwegian Seed Savers) and Schübelers nettverk. This is a network of gardens throughout Norway which is being launched in June 2021 in honour of Fredrik Christian Schübeler (1815-1892) was a botanist and professor at the University in Christiania (now Oslo) and director of the Botanical Gardens for nearly 30 years from 1863. He established a network of gardens throughout Norway, often in collaboration with prestegård (rectory gardens) to test out new plants of economical importance (both ornamentals and edibles). Our new network is also planned centred around rectory gardens and other gardens to demonstrate and inspire to grow new plants but also to conserve old varieties of food plants and ornamentals. See more at https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=no&u=https://kvann.no/schubeler
The World Garden is basically a 12 m diameter circle where the centre represents the North Pole and houses a garden of Arctic food plants. Largely perennial vegetables are being planted geographically around the circle, currently some 80 plants, many of which can be read about inspired by my own book Around the World in 80 plants (see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?page_id=30). The garden is surrounded by over 100 old and new fruit, berry and nut trees and another demonstration garden for annual crops.
The intention is to add pictures to the album below throughout the year from the World Garden. Our focus is also in creating and improving the habitat at Være for other wildlife, so there will also be pictures of insects, birds and other creatures.