In order to lengthen the season for harvesting of perennial vegetables, I dig up roots of a selection in the autumn and plant them in garden soil in large buckets (which I have a surplus of through my Allium project, now moved to the botanical gardens). As I explain in the video, all of these can be stored outside exposed to the cold as they are very hardy (minimum about -20C here), but some get a head start by moving into my cold cellar where they start growing slowly in the dark. Welcome to my living room:
These were the forced veggies used one day last week, from top left and across – Heracleum sibiricum (hogweed / bjørnekjeks); Campanula latifolia (giant bellflower / storklokke); Myrrhis odorata (sweet cicely / spansk kjørvel); Taraxacum officinale (dandelion / løvetann); (bottom row): Allium angulosum; Ficaria verna (lesser celandine / vårkål); Allium flavescens and Armoracia rusticana (horseradish / pepperrot); (centre right): wild buckwheat / vill bokhvete shoots – Fagopyrum tataricum)
I’ve been self-sufficient in fresh vegetables year round and have blogged and lectured about how I can do this even in winter without a greenhouse, without a freezer and without using additional energy apart from my own manual labour :) The most important factor allowing me to do this is the cold cellar under the house where I can store vegetables cold and frost free. None of the common winter leafy green vegetables further south in Europe – kales (grønnkål), chards (mangold) and leek (purre) – can be reliably overwintered outside here, although winters are getting milder. For example, swiss chard is killed by the first hard frosts which due to our northern location last all day (little direct solar warming at this time of year). Usually I’m taken by surprise by hard frosts in early November and there’s a panic digging up vegetables and I often have to use an iron bar to get through the ice layer. Not so this year. Thanks to corona and a very mild first part of November, I’ve had more time for the harvest. Last week I lifted the swedes and turnips and yesterday the parsnips, jerusalem artichokes and carrots. Today, I moved all the swiss chards, celery and chicories (sikkori) to large buckets, planted in soil, ready to move quickly inside later in the week if necessary as colder weather is forecast. In the past I’ve stored these winter vegetables in hand made wooden crates filled with soil. However, after 20 or so winters, they’re no longer usable and I hadn’t got round to making new ones, so I will store in these large plastic buckets, which had been purchased to plant the Allium collection, now with a permanent home at the Ringve botanical garden. I’ve also been digging up perennial vegetables for winter forcing. This includes various onions – Allium senescens, Allium flavescens, Allium angulosum and Allium cernuum. In addition, I’ve dug a udo (Aralia cordata) root and also a few ostrich ferns (Matteuccia struthiopteris) and Hosta “Frances Williams” (sieboldiana). Finally, I’ve been digging large amounts of my most important winter vegetable, dandelion! (see my 2018 harvest here: https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=20124) 19th November: the next morning it snowed (see the video at the bottom)!
Harvested swiss chards including the Lucullus type and perpetual spinach (all Beta vulgaris var cicla):
Jeg har tidligere skrevet om Norrlandsløk i min bok Around the World in 80 plants. Dette er en spennende storvokst flerårige løk som er funnet i hager i Nord Sverige og en fantastisk matløk, spesielt for kalde strøk (planten kan dyrkes overalt i Norge)! Dette var den første løk som kom på plass i Ringve Botaniske Hagens ny Allium-hage i Trondheim (se http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=13525). Takket være et grundig arbeid av en ung svensk student Erik de Vahl vet vi mye mer idag om hvordan denne løken sannsynligvis ble til og fant veien til min hage i Malvik i 2004 via Harstad og Burträsk i Nord Sverige! Dette ble en spennende reise for de Vahl ikke bare nord i Sverige, men også til et «soldattorp» i Västmanland, en benidiktinarkloster og til den store svenske genetikeren Albert Levans som jobbet fra 1929 til 1950-tallet med hybridisering av løk. Derfor har jeg oppdatert historien fra Around the World in 80 plants med ny viten i vedlagt artikkel:
English summary: I have previously written about Norrland Onion in my book Around the World in 80 plants, an exciting productive perennial onion found in gardens in northern Sweden! This was the first onion that was planted in the new Allium garden at Ringve Botanical Garden in Trondheim (see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=13525). Thanks to the thorough work by a young Swedish student Erik de Vahl, we know much more today about how this onion found its way to my garden in Malvik in 2004 via Harstad and Burträsk in northern Sweden! It was an exciting journey that de Vahl enravelled taking him not only to the north of Sweden, but also to a “soldier’s croft” in Västmanland, a benedictine monastery and to the great Swedish geneticist Albert Levans who it turns out worked from 1929 to the 1950s with the hybridization of onion species. Therefore, I have updated the story from Around the World in 80 plants with new knowledge in the attached article! I will hopefully later translate this to English.
Perennial vegetables, Edimentals (plants that are edible and ornamental) and other goings on in The Edible Garden