Kales (Brassica oleracea) have a reputation for being really hardy, but in reality there are many perennial vegetables that are far more hardy. I mean, kales don’t really make much effort to protect themselves, remaining green all winter and in a normal winter here all my kales would die. However, in areas with mild winters, they are useful as they can be harvested all winter outside. Most perennials die back to the roots and reshoot in spring. Sea kale (Crambe maritima) is one example of this and is thus easier to overwinter. A dream of the perennial kale breeder is a variety that is capable of reshooting from the roots or at least from low down on the plant. The last couple of winters have been very mild with hardly any frost all winter and almost all my kales have survived (the exception being less hardy Tree collards from California). This winter has been significantly colder and the air temperature has only been above zero C since New Year for a short period. I was prepared for this and spread a thick layer of leaves around the roots to stop the soil freezing around the roots with either jute, spruce branches or planks over to stop the leaves blowing away in winter storms. In addition, I always take cuttings which I overwinter in a cold room in the house. Almost 100% of cuttings are successful.
…and my second best mallow is the hollyhock mallow or greater musk mallow / rosekattost (Malva alcea), hardy and reliably perennial, here with perennial kale “Daubenton”, flower buds and stems of Scorzonera hispanica, Johannes’ shallot (Allium x cornutum; see https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=22601) and annual chopsuey greens or shungiku (Glebionis coronaria, formerly Chrysanthemum coronarium).
AROUND THE WORLD IN THE EDIBLE GARDEN; Part 3 – Southern Europe and the Mediterranean countries Inviting you to the third in a series of dinners from Malvik’s Edible Garden where we “forage” from different parts of the world! If you’ve visited countries in south east Europe you will no doubt have eaten the delicious vegetable pies like Greek spanakopoita, Turkish börek, Italian Torta pasqualina, Bulgarian banitsa and others. Inspired by these and not wanting to make the time consuming to make filo pastry, we made a 100% wholegrain rye/barley quiche like dish with large quantities of the following perennial greens:
From left to right (from top left) : Allium ursinum (ramsons; ramsløk) Rumex patientia (patience dock; hagesyre) Urtica dioica (stinging nettle; brennesle) Silene vulgaris (bladder campion; engsmelle) Rumex scutatus (Buckler-leaved sorrel; Fransksyre) Rumex acetosa (sorrel; engsyre) Myrrhis odorata (sweet cicely; Spansk kjørvel) Malva alcea (hollyhock mallow; rosekattost) Melissa officinalis (lemon balm; sitronmelisse) Scorzonera hispanica (Scorzonera; scorsonnerot, svartrot) Asparagus officinalis (asparagus; asparges) Humulus lupulus (hops; humle) Tragopogon pratensis (Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon; geitskjegg) Taraxacum “Moss-leaved dandelion” Campanula trachelium (nettle-leaved bellflower; nesleklokke) Brassica oleracea “Daubenton variegated” (perennial kale; flerårige kål) Allium zebdanense (white flowers) from Lebanon (with garlic and chili and imported olives)
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
Here’s yesterday’s fresh produce* from the garden….the joy of perennial vegetables! However, snow overnight will make harvest more difficult the next few days! Here’s today’s list: Aegopodium podograria (ground elder / skvallerkål) Allium hymennorhizum Allium sativum (garlic / hvitløk) Allium cernuum (noddding onion/ prærieløk) Allium victorialis (victory onion / seiersløk) Rumex acetosa “Arkhangelsk” (sorrel / engsyre) Hemerocallis middendorfii (day lily / daglije) Brassica oleracea (various perennial kales / flerårige kål) Hablitzia tamnoides (Caucasian spinach / stjernemelde) Myrrhis odorata (sweet cicely / spansk kjørvel) Ficaria verna (lesser celandine / vårkål) Taraxacum officinale ” Moss-leaved” (dandelion / løvetann) Angelica archangelica “Vossakvann Markusteigen” (kvann) Used in a green pasta sauce. * “Produce” they aren’t as most produce themselves without little input from me: Self-produce is a better word!
Perennial vegetables, Edimentals (plants that are edible and ornamental) and other goings on in The Edible Garden