Presenting this year’s 30 rhizosphantastic Xmas vegetables, all roasted in the oven, served as every year in the last 40 with nut roast, bedecked with the following seeds / bulbils: alpine bistort / harerug (Polygonum viviparum), Himalayan balsam / kjempefringfrø (Impatiens glandulifera), evening primrose / nattlys (Oenothera biennis) and opium poppy (Papaver somniferum). The tubers are listed below the pictures.
Xmas isn’t Xmas without Oca and a hoard of other tubers, served with the traditional nut roast. Pre-xmas preparations includes the annual oca harvest. Oca (Oxalis tuberosa) is a short day root crop hailing from the central and southern Andes. When harvested at the first frosts, yields are poor, the plants needing a long mild autumn to fatten up the tubers for the festive season. I therefore grow my oca in large buckets which we bring into the extension to the house at the first hard frosts which was late October this year. We don’t heat the extension which is normally a fairly constant 5-10C in winter and hence a good place to store vegetables and other plants like my bay tree (Laurus nobilis). There’s no sunlight and I don’t use artificial light so there’s no diurnal variation in temperature either. The oca plants don’t grow vegetatively, but miraculously the tubers do grow over the few weeks to harvest:
There’s been a lot of talk recently that we should return to real Xmas trees from the plastic trees which were once touted as being more environmentally friendly as they could be reused for many years. However, with the recent movement away from plastics due to the discovery that our oceans are filling up with microplastics, real trees are once again cool and what’s better than growing your own!! In June 2005, I was sent seed of Brazilian monkey puzzle, also known as Paraná pine, Brazilian pine or candelabra tree. It turns out that this tree is nowadays critically endangered. It is an important nut tree for the indigenous populations as is the common monkey puzzle tree further south.
Not being hardy, I’ve grown this tree in a large pot and move it into a cold cellar which is around +3-4C in midwinter. There is very little light, but it just goes to sleep until spring. I adopted it as a Xmas tree around 2010, I just move it in its pot into the warm living room. After about 10 days it is moved back into the cellar. It survives this treatment without problem. Now at 12 years old the trees are getting a bit lanky and less attractive as a Xmas tree – they and are no doubt root bound.
Yes, best of all for the environment is the grow your own perennial Xmas tree (..and yes, I know it’s a plastic bucket :( )
For Xmas dinner 2007, I made nut roast with roast vegetables including two members of the Basellaceae family (known as the Madeira vine family). It contains the following genus: Anredera, Basella, Ullucus and plantlist.org also assigns Tournoniahookeriana (previously Basella) to the same family.
I also cooked some Basella alba (malabar or ceylon spinach) greens to serve with the dinner.
Is this the only time all 3 main members of the Basellaceae have been served together? ;)
Perennial vegetables, Edimentals (plants that are edible and ornamental) and other goings on in The Edible Garden