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Aiah Noack with Hablitzia

Naturplanteskolen, a new permaculture plant sale opened Friday. It is perhaps the smallest regular plant sale this year, but with a unique plant selection, some I have never before seen on the market. So far the opening hours are Fridays 12-20. Aiah Noack, who owns Nature nursery, is occupied with permaculture, natural plant breeding and art. For years she did plantbreeding in South Africa.

I came home with two cultivars of allåkerbär (Rubus × stellarcticus) (it takes two varieties for a good pollination), Vietnamese coriander (Persicaria odorata) and a large piece of weed fabric in the professional quality.

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Danish billberry, Vaccinium myrtillus

Typical for the exquisite plant selection, it is billberry of Danish origin, not Swedish or American, on sale. Not that there’s anything wrong with the others, but of the nursery sells the plants they think is best to grow in this environment, not what can be ordered in bulk from the Netherlands.

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Daubenton kale flowers rarely, allowing it to live for years

It was fantastic to see the beautiful Daubenton cabbages. Aiah got a cutting from me, which she has propagated and sell. This kale originates in France. It must be maintained by cuttings. I got a cutting of Stephen Barstow, who lives in Norway, near Trondheim. Great to see that it is now accessible to ordinary gardeners in the district.

Naturplanteskolen: http://naturplanteskolen.dk

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Red Russian kale (Brassica napus) in the lawn

These kale grew up in the grass from seeds I spilled last year. The only care they have received is that I spared them when I mowed the grass. I wrote a bit about them in July, but since then they have grown considerably larger. They deserve a new post.

It is apparently possible to grow this kale in a lawn without any attention, apart from not mowing them, when mowing the lawn, and then of course the harvest and cooking in the kitchen. Nobody should tell me any more, that they do not have the strength to cultivate a few vegetables :-)

PS. The green netting in the background is covering the garlic bed, so neighbourhood cats will not dig up and play with the cloves. I will remove it no later than when I notice the first small garlic sprouts.


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Kale, Red Russian (Brassica napus), in the lawn

The last place I expected to harvest kale was in the lawn.
The seeds were be spilled last year, when I harvested seeds of this variety. The grass was mown quite normal, until I discovered the kale. Now I mow around it, and pick some kale leaves now and then.

Past years have I found a little garlic in the lawn, where I have lost some of the hard-neck’s top-sets. A recurring harvest from the lawn is the Thai-mint, also scenting the air when I mow the lawn.

I wonder how many different culinary herbs can be harvested from a lawn mown regularly?


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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The main ingredients

Kale flowerspikes stirfried with fennelshoots and scallops taste wonderfull. It includes a shallot and a garlic. First sautee the shallot and garlic in oliveoil, add the kale flowerspikes, next scallops and then fennel. It’s very quick to prepare, as shoots and flowerspikes are very tender. Add salt, pepper, lemonjuice and applecider vinegar to taste. Serve with bread.

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Stirfried Red Russian with scallops

Kale flowerspikes comes from ‘Red Russian’, fennelshoots are from the perennial bronzefennel, shallot is the danish heirloom “Kartoffelløg fra Læsø” and garlic is ‘Polish hardneck’, but other varieties will be good as well. Applecider vinegar I made some years ago by natural fermenting apples from the garden, added herbs and left it to mature in the refridgerator.

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Kale ‘Red Russian’ Brassica napus

Right now it’s season for the flowerspikes of kale. I guess the chinese call it kailan? They are crisp and delicious, a gourmet treat in food. You pick them by hand, snapping them off like an asparagus, in this way they break where tenderness have matured into fibres. I’m fond of broccoli, but these flowerspikes are even better – tempting to eat freshly cut. Could it be because ‘Red Russian’ is a cross between kale and black mustard with a doubling of the cromosomes? Extra cromosomes are known from a lot of species, right now I remember the two great and very different apples ‘Gravensteiner’ and ‘Belle de Boskoop’. No genetic engeneering, just results of natures strange ways.

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Red Russian Brassica napus

After work today I went out in the gray afternoon with my camera. I was fascinated by the play of water drops on kale leaves. Kale seem to be equipped with natures nano tecnology.

Red Russian is a different kale. The classic kale is deep green with curly leaves, whereas this variety has feathered leaves. Color is somewhat different, with a notable silvery shine. Taste is sweet, and raw leaves are crisp to the bite.

A villager probably regocnise the colors from the swedes/rutabagas. Red Russian belong to the same species, whereas most other kales belong to same species as cabbage. When saving seeds it’s important to isolate from swedes/rutabagas and from other kales of this species, like the russian, sibirian and baltic kales, as well as the north german scheerkohls.

As the name indicate, Red Russian originates in Russia. It was probably known before 1865. Vilmorin-Andrieux mention it under the synonym Ragged Jack in their illustrated book on the vegetable garden. Not all agree that Red Russian and Ragged Jack are synonyms, but many seedcompanies treat them as such. If not synonyms, they are probably difficult to tell apart.

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Volunteers in my garden from seed spillage this summer after overwintered parent plants. Could any weed be better?

Read more about Brassica napus kale (Seed Ambassadors)

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Main building af Ørestad Mobile Eco-gardens

In the week-end I walked over to Ørestad, Copenhagens new-to-be neighborhood. Now at last I will have a look at the Mobile Eco-gardens!

To my surprise there was a lot to watch even in january. You are welcomed by this fine mainbuilding, a practical shed on wheels signaling the mobility of the gardens.

The gardens are very small (less than 15m2), probably suiting most unexperienced city gardeners. But obviosly many gets a nice experience and a crop of vegs and flowers to bring home.

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Cabbage in Ørestad

This little cabbage plot is inresistible. More than one could grow larger cabbage and kale, but what a diversity in almost no space. And there have probably even been harvested cabbage and kale from this little lot.

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A row of leeks

These are the largest leeks I found, most (largest?) of the row already harvested. Leek is very common in these small lots, along with many other vegs and herbs. Celery/celeriac, rosemary, fennel, cabbage and kale, parsley and all those I didn’t really notice.

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Puddles between raised beds

Soil out here is very compact limerich clay. When saturated with water it almost doesn’t drain at all. It’s special to work such a heavy soil, but it can prove very fertile.

Ørestad Mobile Øko-haver(in danish)

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