Oca, Oxalis tuberosa

Now I couldn’t wait any longer. I just had to dig into the ground under my oca plants.
This year, several of the tubers have a reasonable size.
Other years they have been too small. There are still many small tubers, so I dug up one plant and let the other two remain in the soil. Since frost and snow can come any day (or maybe only in a month), I chose to cover them with several layers of bubble wrap hold down by wood. The leaves have died from frost long ago, but many of the thick succulent stems are still fresh, and they can quietly nourish the tubers to grow significantly. I want to see how long I can wait to harvest the last two plants. Now that I have dug up enough to put oca again next year, I dare let the time go before I harvest the rest. There seems to be a chance to taste them this year.

Had to use a flash, as it is dark now after work. These dark-dark afternoons are typical of advent and Christmas.

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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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Eggplants for seed

Another step in my attempt to breed an northern outdoor eggplant

Today was the day. I think eggplants development in the garden has come to a halt now that autumn is cooling the garden down. I took the scissors, and cut all the plants off the root. I had plants scattered across the bed, but could now dig the labels out of the ground by each plant, and sort according to their parents in the last generation. It gives me an idea of​the value of parental plants in breeding – it is what Carol Deppe call “Power Breeding”.
To get an idea of What it would be without power breeding, imagine what it would look like if I had simply mixed the plants as they stood in the garden, without sorting according to parental plants.

Rima F3 No.1

Mother plant to Rima F3 No.1 in its time hurried into setting a tiny eggplant, which was so early that the mature seeds rotted and dried up, while the other plants were still struggling to set fruits. This year, the plant to the right is especially interesting because it has set 4 big beautiful fruits in the open ground. My concrete tile measures 40x40cm for comparison (40 cm = 15.7 in).

Rima F3 No.2, and in the box the fruits from the best plant of Rima F3 No.1

Mother plant to Rima F3 No.2 is certainly not to rely on. One plant put a small eggplant, another nothing at all! No need to dig into the seed bag a second time, practising Power Breeding!

Rima F3 No.3

Mother plant to Rima F3 No.3 in turn has potential, and it is hereditary! All the plants set fruit, almost all up in the attractive size. 3 out of 7 plants set the abundant fruits in big size!
A favourite seed bag found. Hope I get seeds out of just some of the fruits.

Rima F3 “Largest fruit in the F2 generation”

This I grew a lot of last year as the mother plant had such a great fruit. Last year, it produced no fruits, when several of the others produced some fruits, however, no seeds. For this reason it is not my favourite line (Power Breeding again), but since I do not want to risk losing potential seed, I still saved the biggest fruits for ripening the seeds – imagine if it were the only ones who make seeds this year!

To the chef au cuisine 🙂

Eventually there were all those lovely, shiny aubergines with no chance to mature seeds. They will be cooked in the kitchen and enjoyed in meals the next days. My dream is that most of my eggplants can go into the kitchen. But as long as the plant breeding work need to be consolidated, I mainly try to save seeds.

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Today’s harvest

Today’s harvest included:

Eggplants/Aubergines. Solanum melongena I harvested some of the late fruits, certainly failing to produce seeds. They are grown in open ground, because I am trying to develop an open-air variety. This summer’s heavy rains made me pessimistic, but now many of the plants stands out there in the rough weather with one, two or more fruits. I wonder if water was a limiting factor in the other years I’ve grown eggplants out in the garden?
Apparently they have thrived with melons in the same bed. The melon plants was growing fine all summer, but the rain have prevented any pollination – no melons this year 😦

Groundcherries. Physalis sp. In the bowl is what I picked up from the ground today. I last cleared the ground two days ago. I find the taste very similar to cape gooseberries. The fruit is somewhat smaller. They are grown outdoors, and gives a good yield, in contrast to the low yield of cape gooseberries in my climate. The fruit should not be picked from the plant, but picked up when they fall to the ground. They are protected by the delicate husk, so they don’t get bruised or dirty.
This year I got a much better yield than last year. Primarily I think, because they have a more fertile soil. I grow two cultivars, one without a name, and one called ‘Goldie’. There is no big difference, they taste the same, but ‘Goldie’ is probably a bit bigger in growth and fruit.
Some fruits are ready to eat picked from the ground, others have to further mature for a few days. The berry turn yellow when the delicate aroma and sweetness emerges.

Sweet pepper. Capsicum annuum Purple bell peppers (No cultivar name) and red-orange-yellow ’Alma Paprika’ FS584 apple pepper, both from outdoors. ’Alma Paprika’ FS584 is known to be early, and it has lived up to my high expectations. The plant is densely packed with fruit, and even though I’ve picked these 4, it still seems overloaded with fruits 🙂 The purple bell pepper is the big surprise. I thought it was a greenhouse variety, but it has fared well in open ground, and set four purple bell peppers.

Tomatillo. Physalis ixocarpa We have been pleased with the tomatillos. They do not taste of much, or in any way significant, apart from slightly acid. But in sauce and casseroles gives a wonderful taste to the other ingredients. Could it be the umami taste? They go well with most ingredients in the kitchen, are easy to grow, and gives a good yield. It might be clever to tie them up a bit. But when the fruit comes with its own wrapper, you can safe time and just let it ramble along the ground. This is one of the vegetables you can eat daily.

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Watermelon Citrullus lanatus, my F1 hybrid (Sugar Baby x White Seeded Besvirino Assyrian Watermelon).

Today we ate the first watermelon, 3kg.
It was sweet, but seeds were not all mature, so a few more days had perhaps made it even better. I also think the rind is very thick.
For me, watermelon ripeness is bit of a mystery. It does not smell aromatic, so there must be something else to look for.


On the clever internet, I have read that you should harvest watermelon when the tendril closest to the stalk wither. This seems to be the case.

Yellow spot

Elsewhere on the clever internet, I have read that the bright spot where the watermelon is resting on the ground, should change colour to yellow. This has happened, but exactly how yellow should the yellow be??

One should also be able to tap and listen. I did too, and this watermelon had a much deeper quiet sound than the obvious immature watermelons crisp bright tones. But for us who do not have absolute pitch, it’s a bit difficult.

Fresh watermelon seeds

The last method I haven’t seen on the internet. The seeds ought to be mature when the watermelon is ripe. It doesn’t seem to be the case here. Pity I couldn’t see the seeds before I harvested the watermelon.

It is easy to collect and clean the seeds. Spit them into a bowl when eating the watermelon. Afterwards, rinse them in clean water, so they’re ready to dry in a thin layer on a plate.

Will the seeds germinate next year? I believe in the darkest of the seeds will, but the lighter are probably not mature enough. I have to wait and see.

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Time: Saturday 13 August pm. 14.00.
Location: Garlic & Wine Skuderupvej 9, 4640 Fakse
Registration before 6th August to Søren Holt tel +45 31 52 24 31 or email skrubtudsen(insert “at” here) gmail.com

Bring your finest homegrown garlic. We compete in the following categories:

Biggest garlic
Whitest garlic
Darkest red garlic
Most Beautiful Garlic braid

In competition we pretend to be serious 😉

Lotte Ravn Lei tells briefly about professional cultivation of garlic in Denmark
We have varieties presented.
We must find the winners.
We will also try tasting garlic cultivars.
How does our local soil influence garlic flavor? Same clone grown in different gardens.
How can we compare taste of different clones? Which clone do you like best?
For tasting, we need that you take some garlic. It need not be the garlic with winning potential.
It is possible to buy coffee, tea and cake.

This year’s garlic competition is organized in cooperation between Frøsamlerne and Garlic & Wine.
One need not be a member of Frøsamlerne, but the garlic must be home grown.

Www.froesamlerne.dk www.hvidlog-vin.dk

Garlic, Allium sativum, “Grethes Supermarked”

Now it’s time to harvest the early garlics. The bulbs are beautiful this year. But the leek moth have been foraging on my garlic. I have sorted them so that the healthy garlic dries with the top, the ones attacked with out top. I found one garlic where the leek moths larva had gnawed a hole out from a clove. That garlic is now on the kitchen table to be cooked these days.

When I decide to harvest the garlic, it’s after counting the leaves. The leaves wither one by one, starting with the lower leaves, from the bottom up. Only the green leaves can makes the scales covering the garlic cloves. By counting the green leaves I can figure out how many scales the dry garlic will have after curing. At least two scales are needed, as the upper leave only produce a scale for the inner half of the cloves. The next leave produce a scale covering the first scale (with its cloves) and the second row of cloves. In some cultivars there can even be more than two rows of cloves, thus needing more scales. I’ve decided to harvest when 4-5 green leaves remain. But as garlic increase size significantly in the weeks before harvest, one also want to harvest as late as possible.

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Shaggy ink cap (Coprinus comatus)

Unexpected a shaggy ink cap pop up from a world below the garlic bed. Actually, several popped up. It was cooked into a lovely soup with clams, shallots and Thai mint, adding a dash of coconut milk.

Will it damage the garlic? I do not know. So far I see no problems.

Shaggy ink cap on the garden table

Shaggy ink cap grow occasionally where the soil is well manured. Here it appears in the garlic bed, which last year was a melon bed on a trench of horse manure. I’ve never in 16 years seen it in this garden. It can pop up from it underworld from summer till autumn. I might have a chance to harvest it again one or more times this season.

It’s perishable by nature, must be harvested young, before the ink starts to drip. After harvest it must be used within four to six hours, as it deteriorates rapidly.

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Garden Angelica (Angelica archangelica)

This angelica germinated this winter where a seed was spilled. I am impressed with the growth rate and that it doesn’t need more heat. Last week I placed a large pot over it, to bleach the leaves. It makes them tender and delicious.

A large leaf stem made its way into the wok with Thai-mint, scallops and salmon. Angelica was the stand-in for galangal, with its distinctive perfumed flavour. A smaller stalk sliced ​​thinly and dressed with lemon juice and canola oil made a tasty side-dish.

Formerly I used angelica without bleaching it. It has been fine steeped in vodka. But otherwise it was a tough diet for my tongue. I had given up eating angelica. But with the experience of bleached leaves, I’m ready to eat angelica again.

Perhaps I should sow a little row in autumn with very fresh seed. Then I can again have fresh angelica in May next year.

Bleached angelica after harvest

I left two leaves – will the plant grow again, take another bleaching later this summer to be harvested again?

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Allium sativum ‘Red Toch’
1) left stored in the refrigerator
2) right stored in the scullery, 16-18C

Garlic Red Toch has a superior taste, but is reputed to store short time. I asked Randi and Svend from Danish Seed Savers on their experience over a few years. They were so kind to do an experiment and have send the following report:

‘status’ on storing RED TOCH

1) I took some cloves on the 20th. september 2010 and stored them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator at 5 degrees C.
Control on the 7 th january 2011, cloves has set roots and begun to sprout.

2) I took some cloves on the 20th. september 2010 and stored it in an open glass jar at 16-18 degrees C in our scullery.
Control on the 7 th january 2011, cloves are still juicy, can not tell the difference from other garlic cultivars.

Note that the refrigerator is not the correct place to store garlic – too much humidity.

In the middle of March I was given the experimental cloves, and took the above photo. The two cloves stored warm were delicious to eat, the two stored in the fridge was not interesting in this state.

Home-grown garlic keeps well on the kitchen table, but bad in the refrigerator.
It also seems that Red Toch keeps quite well into March and maybe longer.

And a big thank you to Randi and Svend for their fine study !

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