winter


DSCN7483
Eggplant breeding line 1 F4 (top row is part of breeding line 3)

DSCN7482
Eggplant breeding line 3 F3

The photo above shows the harvest of eggplants from the open ground bed in the vegetable garden. The plants of breeding line 1 is grown out of seeds from 2012 harvested in the greenhouse. Therefore, this line is a generation ahead of processing line 3, which is grown out of seeds grown in the open ground in 2009. Since 2009, I harvested lots of eggplants in the open ground, but there has been no obvious progress in my plant breeding, no new generations. Until last year that is, when I put some plants of breeding line 1 in the greenhouse, and got a new generation, but without knowing anything about their outdoor values. I have spent the years since 2009 to determine which envelopes of the 2009 seed harvest do most frequently provide better plants. It is valuable, although it does not produce new generations, because it allows me to concentrate on growing more individuals from the best seed envelopes.

DSCN7541
Seeds from a single outdoor grown eggplant fruit

Never have I harvested so many eggplant seeds. Almost all mature eggplants contained seeds, and some of them contained more seeds than I’ll be able to grow before they get too old. The seeds appears to be of prime quality. An eggplant seed celebration!

DSCN7537
Envelopes with eggplant seeds from open ground

This many seeds promise a lot of labour to find the best seed envelopes to draw future generations from. Which of them will produce the most reliable plants for growing outdoor in my kitchengarden?

DSCN7072
The eggplant bed shortly after transplanting in June

The newly transplanted eggplant bed looked neat Later weed germinated in this fertile, well-watered bed, mostly dandelions, kale and sonchus, all edible, delicious and providing a long lasting harvest. I still harvest kale and dandelion. Easy and gentle multicropping.

Since I harvested way too many seeds for my own use, I will share with interested gardeners.
In Denmark through the danish seed savers: Frøsamlerne
Other nationalities please contact me either by leaving a comment, or PM me if you know me in some of the social networks like HomegrownGoodness or facebook.

DSCN5283
Oregano (Origanum vulgare)

White crystals on grass and herbs early this morning. Isn’t it beautiful!
And yet, I do hope this will be last week with frost at night.

I don’t expect any damage, as I didn’t sow any very tender things yet.
But the open peach flowers might suffer, and fail to set fruits.


Flattr this

DSCN4729

Ceramic mushrooms are visible again. Only a few patches of snow remain.

DSCN4716
Oca (Oxalis tuberosa). Small but beautiful

In spring, I received some oca tubers. They were planted and cared for reasonably well. But our autumn weather, I can not do much about. The frost came early this year but I pay attention to the weather forecast, and managed to put some bubble wrap over the bed. Later, when the snow arrived, I dug up two plants, but yields were not high. I decided to leave the last plant in the ground, covered in bubble wrap, and deep snow, hoping for it to size up the tubers in early winter.

DSCN4713
If the tubers could feel the cold, they would tremble pitifully :-)

The much longer time in the soil, they tolerated well. Soil, bubble wrap and the thick layer of snow has managed to keep the frost away from the tubers. However, there has been so cold that the tubers is not greater than if I had dug them up with the first. It was otherwise my quiet hope that the extra time in the soil would increase yields.

Oca is not a candidate to be an important crop in my garden before people like Ian Pearson of Growing Oca, Rhizowen from Radix and others have selected some clones that can form tubers much earlier under northern conditions (they must be less day length sensitive). Originally it was the same problem with the potato, but it was solved by plant breeding. Can it be done again?

The beautiful seashell (from scallop) I was sent from Anselmo in Asturias, filled with his fine chilli. His gallery is filled with stunning images from his country house and the region.

PS. Do not ask me how oca taste! I still just dream about it.

DSCN3648
Artichoke Cynara scolymus Serridslevgaard

Now it is finally thaw. The snow has melted for two days, giving me an opportunity to look for some of the plants in the garden.
Have they survived the frost? In January and February, I have been quite calm. It is usually the sun in March, which burns my plants to death when the evergreen stands with frozen roots. These day I keep an eye on where the sun hits evergreens. Are there any plants to shade from the sun through the month of March?

Artichoke Serridslevgaard looks fine inside its little tunnel. But has the heart been damaged by frost, I shall not see it until later, when the leaves rot from the bottom. However, I have no reason to be pessimistic. The snow has lain in 2 ½ months, but it has not been extremely cold and the snow has isolated, so the ground has probably not been colder than in average winters.

DSCN3650
Chusan palm Trachycarpus fortunei

The Chusan palm does not look good. Again this year, much of the foliage from last summer is damaged. I’ve got a sensitive individual? As long as the heart survives, the entire palm will survive.

Chusan Palm in Snow
Same Chusan palm Trachycarpus fortunei one month ago

Note that the snow has covered the palm hearts. The heart is the point at the top of the stem from where the leaves extends.

DSCN3649
Kale Brassica napus Red Russian

My Red Russian kale has just today poked head up through the snow. It is a long time since I saw it last. It looks a bit weathered, but if I will not harvest more leaves from it, I’ll still get some tasty flowers shoots. Flower shoots I enjoy, for me it is the main reason to grow a little cabbage in my small garden. They come early, before there is much else to pick the garden. They can be prepared quickly in a little oil in a frying pan and taste fantastic. My favourite is stir fried with scallops and baby bulbs of bronze fennel.

DSCN3647
Bronze fennel Foeniculum vulgare

Bronze Fennel has grown below the snow. If we get a couple of weeks plus degrees, I’ll start to picking some of the baby fennel bulbs. Taste of individual bronze fennel plant vary. The plant in the picture is my favourite, it tastes sweeter than the other bronze fennels I have.

In the calendar, winter says goodbye – but meteorologists promises more snow in the coming week!

DSCN3631
Konjac Amorphophallus konjac

It was not planned, but happened anyway – the Konjac came in to flower. The corm has rested dry in a cupboard since autumn. 3 weeks ago the bud started growing, very rapidly. Yesterday the flower opened and took on the deep red colour. When I returned after work, I had to cut the flower immediately, and carry it out door into the snow. It has a penetrating odour like decaying flesh, probably perfect to attract the flyes needed for pollination in it’s native habitat.

DSCN3620

I’m impressed, that a flower can grow this rapidly from a corm, given no soil or water. All its nourishment and liquid was stored in the corm.

DSCN3624
The corm

The corm is huge. In Japan they cook a delicacy, konnyaku, from it. It’s a kind of jelly, supposed to be healthy and a joy to eat. It’s also employed by the European food industry. It is labelled E 425. See if you can find it in the supermarket!

DSCN3626

The flower I cut from the corm. I placed it in the snow in front of the kitchen window, and brought the corm inside the house again. The rest of the stem on top of the corm will soon wither away, and after a few months I can expect a single large leaf, shaped like a palm. I grow the Konjac for the beautiful leaf.

Last time I had a Konjac in flower was in 2008.

DSCN2441
Yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) root with crown in march

Previous posts on yacon

Last winter I stored the yacon crowns separated from the tubers. The last I ate in short time – raw yacon taste great. Unfortunately the crowns didn’t live through the winter but shrivelled away. Fortunately I have learned from this experience!

In the autumn Kirsten was dear enough to give me two plants when she harvested her yacons. This winter I have stored them like I store my Dahlias, and they look healthy. Basicly I followed same procedure as last year. Stored the roots (crowns and tubers) in the larder, covering them with a plastic bag around christmas, when the had dryed a little, to slow down any further drying. Only difference from last year is, that now the crowns are attached to the tubers. Today the tubers looks dry and wrinkled, but the crowns are juicy and tender – very promising!

Today I planted some of the crowns in pots on the ground in the greenhouse, covered with several layers of bubbleplast, to keep them from freezing. I’m curious to learn if it’s better to pot them up now, or to store them an other month in the larder before setting in the ground (Like I do with Dahlias).

Next Page »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 217 other followers