To celebrate our good friends’ Jurgen Wegter and Ingvild Haga’s 50th birthdays together with Meg’s 50-year anniversary of arriving in Europe for the first time (in Southampton near where I lived at the time) as well as my 50 year anniversary of leaving school and a memorable holiday with 20-30 school friends in Newton Ferrers in Devon, we made a special gourmet dinner of green mac-cheese. It had masses of veg mixed in – the year’s first broad beans and swiss chard, chicory, common sow thistle (Sonchus oleraceus), Allium senescens leaves, shallots and garlic from last year, rehydrated winter chantarelles, golpar – ground seed of hogweed – Heracleum spp., together with ramsons salt, chili, sun dried tomatoes and mustard, all in a wholegrain spelt white sauce with wholegrain spelt pasta; it was topped with alpine bistort bulbils). Not to be left out, the Extreme Salad Man contributed one of his Meditteranean diet inspired multispecies salads commemorating it is now almost 20 years since he put together a salad from home grown ingredients in Malvik comprising 537 ingredients. something the world hasn’t seen before or since (see https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=18997). The record was set on 24th August 2003. This time there were a mere 106 ingredients….sad to see, but he must be losing it…. Thanks to Jurgen for the salad pictures:
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):
Mallows (Malva spp.) are now in season for harvesting and will from now until autumn be an important source of greens and edible flowers. The best part are the flower buds with surrounding leaves. We started earlier in the week with musk mallow / moskuskattost (Malva moschata), a reliable perennial here that also self-sows in just about the right quantity. Traditionally, Malvas were often used in soups, so it was a good addition to pea soup along with Hybrid onions (Allium senescens x) Rumex acetosa (mixed Russian cultivars); sorrel / engsyre Campanula trachelium tops (nettle leaved bellflower / nesleklokke) Myrrhis odorata unripe seed pods (sweet cicely / spansk kjørvel) Origanum vulgare (oregano / bergmynte)
Somebody asked me the other day if I use floating mulch (fiberduk / agryl) to be able to harvest all these greens so early. No, no and again no….this is one of the biggest benefits of perennial vegetables….it is totally natural, no microplastics are released into the environment, no oil is needed to plough the fields, significantly less migrant labour is needed and little or no fertiliser and water is needed, it is almost totally free once established and can yield year after year! So, whilst large areas of farmland in the northern hemisphere are being covered by plastic mulches to bring on annual crops for the market earlier, I’d just like to point out that there’s an alternative better way! So, here are the plants that I harvested for yesterday’s delicious green pasta sauce: Armoracia rusticana shoots (horseradish / pepperrot) Myrrhis odorata (sweet cicely / spansk kjørvel) Houttuynia cordata “Chinese Market” (shoots and rhizomes from the cellar; this cultivar is significantly larger than other Houttuynia I’ve grown) (Fish herb, Himalayan water creeper) Allium senescens x nutans (hybrid Siberian onions) Laurus nobilis (bay / laurbær) Brassica oleracea (perennial kales) Crambe maritima (sea kale / strandkål) Taraxacum officinale (dandelion / løvetann) Allium x proliferum (walking onion / luftløk) Hablitzia tamnoides (Caucasian spinach / stjernemelde) Dystaenia takesimana (giant Ulleung celery, seombadi) Oenanthe javanica (seri) Polymnia edulis (yacon) (second picture) plus garlic and chili
After 11 days of mostly fast food, it was good to get home this evening to a jungle of slow food….
Ingredients: Hablitzia, Rumex acetosa, Rumex patientia, Myrrhis (young seeds), Hemerocallis middendorfii and H. lilioasphodelus (daylily buds), Crambe maritima (broccolis), Crambe cordifolia (broccolis), Nettle, 2* Origanum, Tragopogon pratensis (flower stems and buds), Allium senescens, Campanula latifolia, Asparagus trichophyllus, Chives (flower buds), Peltaria alliacea, garlic, chili and chicory (2 types)
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10155133708310860.1073742941.655215859&type=1&l=faf982b775
This is a nice new edimental Allium, although its identity is still being discussed by the experts!
I received seed of this a few years ago from my friend Hristo Hristov in Bulgaria under the name “mountain slizun” He wrote: “The woman who sent them to me is not an avid collector, so I highly doubt she knew it’s Latin name. I guess the seeds were collected near her city in Kazakhstan (map of the collection location: http://tinyurl.com/hdt5pk6)
Slizun is Allium nutans, but the name she called it could be just how she calls it”
Based on pictures I posted on the Alliorum forum last year,Mark McDonough thought it’s probably a hybrid, although with close affinity to the flowers of Allium flavescens. However, the leaves of my plant are broader than that species. Other possibilities are both Allium senescens and A. nutans both of which are found in Kazakhstan. This year there was some variation in flower colour, one quite pink (I guess I planted several seedlings). Whatever it is, it’s a nice plant.
Somebody once said that solstice greens are the best…I’d add that solstice perennial greens are even better :) Here’s what I used in tonight’s soup: Sea kale(strandkål), Scorzonera (scorsonnerot), Allium senescens, Sweet cicely (spansk kjørvel), Giant bellflower (storklokke), Sorrel / surblad, Nettle (nesle), Dandelion (løvetann) (all are in my book)…and I almost forgot that there’s chickweed (vassarve) in there too, perennial in that it’s there every year!
Perennial vegetables, Edimentals (plants that are edible and ornamental) and other goings on in The Edible Garden