I’ve been growing Apios Americana for a few years now. Native to North America, it’s a leguminous plant that has everything going for it – delicious tubers, beautiful ornamental vines with scented flowers and is nitrogen fixing too. Also known as Groundnut and Hopniss (from the Lenape word “Hobbenis”) it was an important staple food for many indigenous peoples in North America. I’m so excited to be working with this perennial edible plant that has so much potential as a useful high protein food crop.
Perennial Nine Star Broccoli Field Trial ‘Project Nine Star’ is underway. After raising hundreds of plants from 11 accessions of Nine Star seed including kind donations from Warwick University gene bank, Brown Envelope seeds and other generous individuals, the plants finally made it into the ground at the beginning of June. This is our first venture into small scale plant breeding, both exciting and daunting! and we may need our hands held along the way by friends and colleagues with more experience. Perennial Nine Star broccoli has special significance for us as many years ago it was the first vegetable plant that got us interested in perennial growing. Continue reading Warp Factor Nine ‘Star’ engage
Product review mini tunnel from First Tunnels The lovely folks at First tunnels sent us one of their not so mini – mini tunnels to test out and review. The mini tunnels are 4ft (1.22m) wide and available in three different lengths with the option of a polythene or net cover. We received the largest of the three at 4ft x 15ft (1.22 x 4.57m) and were very excited to try another of their products having had one of their larger tunnels on our site for the last 6 years. Those that have a polytunnel know, that once you have one, you always dream of more…just think of all the extra plants you can get in there! It arrived in just 3 days. Continue reading Product Review First Tunnels mini tunnel
Perennial kale cuttings – latest news. Our waiting list is temporarily closed while we fulfil existing orders and replenish our stock plants
Because we have received an unprecedented number of order enquiries for perennial kale cuttings following mentions on Radio 4 and in the Guardian / Observer we are working on a strategy so we can fulfil orders and try and meet all requests in the coming years. Basically we have Taunton Deane perennial kale stock plants growing which we make stem cuttings from. Because of the increase in the demand, we are busy propagating more stock plants so we will have more in the future to ensure a steady supply. We don’t want anyone to miss out! Continue reading Perennial kale cuttings – latest update
Perennial kale is one of our greatest obsessions and after starting off with some Daubenton, variegated Daubenton ‘Panache’ and some Taunton Deane kales, we have been busy gathering other specimens for our perennial brassica botanical garden. We have added five more perennial brassicas to our collection over the last two years. Purple Tree Collards, Spis Bladene, Egloskerry Kale, Carole Wellwood’s kale and an undetermined sort of thousand headed kale. Continue reading Perennial kale and collards – quite a collection
Purple Tree Collards seem to be the most elusive of the perennial brassicas. After waiting patiently for many years, a tiny Purple Tree Collard cutting came our way. We nurtured that little plant and it is now a majestic specimen and we are carefully taking a few cuttings to start propagating these on a larger scale. Our aim is to plant out lots of stock plants so we can begin to offer stem cuttings in the future. Continue reading Purple Tree Collards
Hablitzia Tamnoides likes to take its time establishing but is well worth the wait. As each year goes by the plants become more vigorous, the leaves become larger and deeper green and I have seen the most remarkable growth spurt as May approaches…something like 30cm or more a week. Continue reading Hablitzia T takes over
Skirret harvesting…It’s early March and we have been busy lifting some of our mature skirret plants. We left these to grow for three years undisturbed as an experiment to see what size roots would develop. The plants have produced quite sizeable clusters of good sized eating roots. The ones you can see in the images below had a nice snap to them and a sweet crunchy taste. The plants produced some very healthy looking offsets too. Offsets are the growing tips that cluster and naturally multiply around the top of the crown. These can be pinched off with a little bit of root attached and popped into a pot of compost to develop before being planted out in their final position. You can propagate and increase your stock very rapidly this way and offsets grow into mature plants in a short space of time.
Hablitzia Tamnoides can be sown over the winter months and left outside in a cold frame to germinate, you will usually see the seedlings emerge within 3-4 weeks. It is good to get them going and sow through November and December because you can prick them out in January and they will have a head start in the new year. They will stay in the polytunnel for a little while and then put outside before transplanting out in a bed in the spring. The polytunnel gets too hot for them once the weather warms up, so it is ideal to start them off in the coldest months. Continue reading Hablitzia sowings and seedlings
Ulluco growing and harvesting in pictures. In 2016 we grew ten varieties including Chugua Roja, Ravelo Lisa, Round Orange, Yellow Spotted, White Spotted, Colombian Long Red, Purple, Pica de Pulga, Yellow and Cusco Market. Tubers were harvested in mid December.
Sown three years ago, our Hablitzia plants are really going for it this year. In their first year the plants were quite small, in their second they managed to grow a few feet and now in their third they are sprawling their beautiful edible leaves outwards and upwards reaching a height of 8ft and it is only June! Continue reading Hablitzia plants head skywards
Stephen Barstow – The Extreme Salad Man and author of Around The World in 80 Plants made a special visit to Incredible Vegetables field as part of his whistle stop tour around the UK visiting various sites and giving talks and workshops. Stephen was particularly interested in how we grow our Ulluco tubers after being dazzled with images of our 2015 harvest. He also checked out how his Hablitzia ‘offspring’ were doing ( Our plants were grown from seed that Stephen sent us from Norway a few years ago). Continue reading Stephen Barstow visit
Hablitzia Tamnoides is a semi shade loving perennial climber with mild edible spinach type leaves. Originating in the Caucasus region, it has been grown in Scandinavian countries as an ornamental before making a bit of a renaissance recently by author and plant expert Stephen Barstow. Now permaculturists and forest gardeners as well as those interested in perennial vegetables are beginning to give it a try as another possible staple that can happily grow in any garden with a shady spot. The young shoots can be eaten in early spring as well as pickings from the more mature leaves over the summer. Hablitzia seeds need a period of cold to germinate. Sow outside in a cold frame over the winter or sow in spring and place in the fridge for 10 days to trigger germination. Continue reading Hablitzia Tamnoides – how to grow
Ulluco (Ullucus tuberosus) are exquisite looking edible Andean root tubers and are members of the plant family Basellaceae which includes Malabar spinach. After the potato it is one of the most widely consumed of the Andean tuber crops, but is almost unknown outside the Andean region where it is grown. Ulluco has many varieties and colours such as the vivid green Ravelo Lisa, the mottled red and yellow Pica de Pulga, Round purple, Chugua Roja, Colombian Long Red, Long Yellow, white spotted, Cusco Market ( an orange variety with pink flecks) and many more. They are found in Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, Argentine and Venezuela and are known also as Papa Lisa, Olluco, Ruba, Chugua and Melloco. Continue reading Ulluco tubers – how to grow
How to grow Borage: Article first published in Grow Your Own Magazine September 2015 growfruitandveg.co.uk
My vegetable garden is a beautiful rambling polyculture where edible and beneficial plants happily co-exist. Bee friendly plants, edible flowers and aromatic companions happily nestle alongside my perennial and annual vegetables. This way of growing helps deter pests, maximizes your growing space and leaves less bare earth for the weeds – occupied by useful plants instead.
I first started growing the medicinal herb Borage, Borago Officinalis for its amazing vivid sky blue clusters of star shaped edible flowers to add to my salads. Continue reading How to grow Borage