winter


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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).

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Ground-ivy in box.

Wish you all a merry christmas

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Garlic Allium sativum “Grethes supermarked”

For a short time snow cover the garden, and temperatures are below the freezing point. Only a few days ahead temperature will rise above the freezing point again. Garlic roots will not be frozen this time, but anyway, they can take all the frost we get around here.

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Weed in frost

Another frosty night. The beauty of ice crystals on the freezing leaves are touching. Together with the dry summer, frost is a friend, protecting the garden against the dreaded killer slugs living in gardens nearby.

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Dahlia after frost

Last night came the first frost. Early in the morning I went to work, the rain had washed the frost away, but the Dahlias was my proof. The slightest touch of frost and Dahlia leaves turn black. Very revealing. This week-end I must dig the tubers, or the frost might find its way into the ground and kill them too.

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Our Lady’s Milk Thistle Silybum marianum

This is a volunteer. Normally it would have been killed by frost here in mid february, but this mild winter has the opposite effect. Now it has set a flower bud in the middle of the leat rosette.
The marbled leaves render a wonderfull beauty to Our Lady’s Milk Thistle. Seeds are used in herbal medicine. Leaves can be eaten, as long as one remembers to cut of the thorns. Flowerbuds can be used as small artichokes, again only if one cut off the thorns.

OK, I never tasted it, but honestly I find it a beautifull plant 😉

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Artichoke ‘Herrgård’ Cynara scolymus

Artichoke is not reliable to overwinter in Denmark. Different varieties are clearly more or less hardy. One of the most hardy is ‘Herrgård’, an old heirloom from Scania (southern Sweden). It is said to have been in culture for centuries in gardens of the aristocracy in Scania and Denmark. ‘Herrgård’ is probably identical to the danish ‘Serridslevgaard’, but I can’t tell for sure, as I havn’t got hold on the latter. Do you grow it dear reader, please let me have a cutting 🙂

Many things have been written about the art of overwintering artichokes. Often by experts who never grew artichokes themselfes. Since I’ve overwintered my artichoke the last five years, I’m thus not an expert. I do it from a very simple theory. I believe moisture in the heart of the artichoke kills it at lower temperatures, and only at much lower temperatures will the temperature itselv kill the artichoke. Therefore I cover my artichokes with glass, with an inclination and earth touch towards west, as most wind and rain comes from that direction. The cracked pot is to keep down the glass in stormy weather. In case of severe frost I cover the glass and surroundings in snow, making an insulated hive for the artichoke. When snow melts, the glass leads water away from the heart.

In autumn i pot cuttings and store in the greenhouse as a sofecopy. I still didn’t have a truely cold winter on top of my artichokes. When that comes, with daytemperatures of -20 Celcius, I must be very carefull to add suficient insulation.

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