Posts Tagged ‘Perennial’

If you are in the Northern Hemisphere then some of you may still either be waiting for Dandelions to flower or may be seeing the last flowers become seed heads, for those lucky enough, you still have time to collect the flowers for the following Recipes.

dandelions

Once you start to see the flowers appearing, a good rule-of-thumb is to keep in mind that on average, you only have a 3 week window to pick and use for your recipes, so that means multiple trips if you want to follow more than one recipe.

This was the first time I have used Dandelion for culinary purposes and started first with the Jam Recipe:

What’s Needed:

  1. A grocery store shopping bag Half Full of Dandelion flowers,
  2. 3 x cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped,
  3. 3x squeezed lemons,
  4. 600ml boiling water,
  5. 725gm jam sugar.

Method:

  1. Put the Chopped apples and around 3/4ths of the flower heads into a pan with the hot water and simmer for 10 minutes,
  2. After 10 minutes, strain the remaining results through a sieve or similar and push as much pulp through as possible using a spoon,
  3. Add the strained liquid back into your pan together with the lemon juice and sugar,
  4. Dissolve the sugar by cooking on low heat and stirring regularly, add the rest of the dandelion heads (petals only, cut off the green parts with scissors),
  5. Boil on high heat until you reach the setting point (Click here to find out how to find your setting point in jam making),
  6. Ladle into your prepared jars, this recipe made me 3 standard honey jars and 2 smaller speciality hex jars I bought online.

I really, really like the end product! This jam is delish and makes the harvesting well worth it in my opinion, this is a plant that should not be killed off and considered a weed, every part of this plant is edible and it is a perennial!
– Jeff Permie

In the coming days, I will post a Dandelion Wine Recipe, I am currently fermenting my first ever batch of this wine and so cannot give you full information right through to the taste of the end product, I am halfway through the fermenting period and will be bottling the product up in another two weeks. I feel like sharing this recipe because of the fact that some readers may still be able to harvest the flower heads, this is a proven and common recipe and I feel that it will definitely be worth it …

Nevermind mechanical tractors, the Chicken Tractor is not really a machanical machine at all, it’s just a quirky nickname for something far better than a Petrol Guzzling Monoculture Farmageddon contraption…

Simply put, a Chicken Tractor is a Chicken Coop on wheels, without a floor so that the Chickens can forage on the ground beneath the Tractor for a day then the Tractor will be moved the length of the coop the next morning in a rotation around a pre-designed (And pre-seeded) Plot of Land. This provides natural food (vegetation as well as insects) and a more natural almost free range style environment for them!
The benefits are good, The birds rely on less imports (feed) so it is a cost saver, they are healthier, the land gets ‘scratched over’ with pests becoming Chook food, the ground also gets manured so that the perennial greens have sufficient nutrients to sprout back before the Tractor is back in the same spot after sometime.

In the below Video, Joel Slatin (aka the Nutcase Farmer) explains the concept on his industrial sized enterprise:

Some more designs:

Article on Wikipedia:

Chicken tractors allow free ranging along with shelter, allowing chickens fresh forage such as grass, weeds and bugs (although these will quickly be stripped away if the tractor remains in the same place for too long), which widens their diet and lowers their feed needs. Unlike fixed coops, chicken tractors do not have floors so there is no need to clean them out. They echo a natural, symbiotic cycle of foraging through which the birds eat down vegetation, deposit fertilizing manure, then go on to a new area.

The term chicken tractor comes from the chickens performing many functions normally performed using a modern farm tractor: functions like digging and weeding the soil in preparation for planting trees or crops or fertilizing and weeding to enhance the growth of crops and trees already planted.

With chicken tractors flock owners can raise poultry in an extensive environment wherein the birds have access to fresh air, sunlight, forage and exercise, which caged birds in commercial coops do not have. With the coop on only a small area at any given time, the field has time to wholly regrow and more birds can be fed than if they were allowed to freely roam. A chicken tractor also gives some shelter from predators and weather. Moreover, hens lay eggs in nest boxes rather than hiding them in foliage.

In the below videos (Both less than 2 / 3 min’s each) the Guy explains the setup on day one of the tractor and birds being put into place, then day two (2nd Video) you see the area after the Tractor is relocated and the effects / benefits of Chicken Tractoring.
These two videos are what first made me understand the full reasoning and intent / benefits behind this practice a couple years ago when I first came across the concept.

Video 1; Chicken Tractor on first location:
https://youtu.be/3Er7R-AKQGg

Video 2; Result day after adn explanation of findings:
https://youtu.be/GQE0WyxgTT4

Last Summer I added Oca and Ulloco Tuberous crops to my vegetable grow list in my garden, having harvested them recently, I can only advise that personally they are not worth the effort due to the small yield. This opinion is mainly helpful to those in countries with a similar climate to the UK, these plants are really from the Andean areas in South America where they are guaranteed to have more abundant sunshine.

Perennial tuber Kit: Incredible Vegetables

Various Perennial Tubers: Oca, Ulloco, Sunchoke (Jerusalem Artichoke) & Crosney (Chinese Artichoke).

Whilst I did get a few tubers per plant that were of a decent size, the rest were usually really tiny and even too small to be able to clean properly for culinary use.
I will be keeping a small amount of stock growing in one pot just for the sake of having some aside and re-seeding every year, this will prevent the need to buy more in the event of trying again.

On another note, the same goes for Chinese Artichokes AKA Crosneys, although the yield was quite big, the actual tubers were tiny and most broke whilst harvesting! Oca have a far more worthwhile yield compared with these so for any new gardeners interested to try unusual tubers out, the Oca are probably best after Jerusalem Artichokes (Sunchokes).

Simply put, if I had a larger piece of land (I have a very small typical UK garden), and some more time on my hands, I would probably have a dedicated area to grow these crops and experiment with soil types (my soil is quite heavy). So, I am not entirely giving up, just putting these tubers on a backburner list whilst I find other crops to dedicate my limited space to.

To order any Unusual tuber vegetables in the UK / Europe, take a look at Incredible Vegetables, they supply full info on planting etc.

Hi everybody! In a few days it will ALREADY BE MARCH!! It’s amazing how the seasons creep up on us so quickly ! … ?

After my first year growing Sunchokes (Jerusalem Artichokes in 2014) and with a very good success, I have decided to try out some other tubers due to my ever increasing interest in Perennials and my overall plan on growing a large percentage of my food crops as perennial with a ever decreasing percentage of Annuals.

After a reasonable amount of research and the fact that I hold quite an interest in South American Ancient History, Two of the new tubers on my list for 2015 are Ulloco and Oca (originally grown by the Incas), the third being Chinese Artichoke (Crosney).

Just a couple of days back I received my order from the crew at Incredible Vegetables, their site caught my attention as they specialise in Perennial and also unusual / non-common vegetable crops for the average back garden grower or allotment holder … I recommend to take a look at the site and see if there is anything you fancy, they run an ebay shop too if that suits your convenience better!

Various Perennial Tubers: Oca, Ulloco, Sunchoke (Jerusalem Artichoke) & Crosney (Chinese Artichoke).

Various Perennial Tubers: Oca, Ulloco, Sunchoke (Jerusalem Artichoke) & Crosney (Chinese Artichoke).

The package contained Oca and Ulloco tubers, they sell various tubers etc. & also packaged kits containing many tuber varieties, I ordered a kit but had to email them to make a deal as I already have Artichokes from my previous year and also Chinese Artichokes bought a couple weeks ago from another seller before I discovered Incredible Veg’s, in short I bought only a kit of Oca and Ulloco’s – Click Here for the package opening post from when I received them (Photo’s / explanation).

These are all going to be interesting to grow and experiment with around my garden, they all grow to various sizes and it will be quite fun experimenting where and what they can be mixed with? For example, Jerusalem Artichokes grow exceptionally tall and leave the ground below open for ground cover crops (lets face it, the sun doesn’t sit all day at the 12 o’clock position) so the shade won’t be an all day event for what you add in to your stacking plan! Oca seem to grow into medium sized bushes and Ulloco seem to be low / ground cover, this is all based on image searches …
I highly recommend Tubers in general but also to get these four varieties as you have tall, medium and lower / ground cover sizes to mix into your vegetable beds.
The one positive charachteristc of Jerusalem Artichokes that ”stands out” for me is that they are shade tolerant, so, due to their height they can be sown in a place where in the beginning they won’t really get much sun, then in the end once they grow taller, they will find enough sunlight to be able to grow well and produce tubers. (behind a garden shed or along a shady wall are great examples – using up places in your garden which are useless for other crops)

Tip for buying tubers that will only be planted in March onwards:

Many sellers tell you to keep the tubers in moist compost medium in a cool place until planting out time (some tubers cannot go into the ground yet), I tried this with my Chinese Artichokes and unfortunately, they sprouted inside the ”cool” cupboard!
The tip is: If you are not sure of this new variety you are growing, then split up your seed tubers into 2-3 trays, keep one tray in a outdoor shed / garage (covered and not in sunlight etc), one in a cupboard and maybe some in the fridge (moisten the compost or keep them wrapped in kitchen towel (tissue) then in a plastic bag on a shelf you don’t use as much & check regularly.
If you are interested to try these out, it is definitely Not Too Late you still have tons of time to prepare a bed/s for them and order

Here I will be discussing High Value Perennial Vegetables that are also, low maintenance! This will be just a quick article as we can all go into loads of detail later on in another related article where I may discuss more / related plants.

Right now, in England we are experiencing another mild winter (no complaints here!), with the odd cold day here and there and, the inevitable frosts in the mornings, I cannot stress how valuable it is, knowing that right outside in my garden, there are Artichoke Tubers sitting underground waiting to be harvested.
I unfortunately didn’t weigh my bounty (last year was the first year that I tried growing Jerusalem Artichokes) and I can only estimate that I got more than 3 kg worth with still the tubers from Two plants sitting underground so, possibly all together, provided that the last two produced as much as the others, I reckon I may have grown around 5kg’s of Tubers!!
The fact that you can leave tubers such as these in the ground until they are needed, is incredibly valuable to me and hence why, here  I am appealing to my readers to get hold of a few varieties of various tuber species such as Oca, Chinese Artichoke, Jerusalem Artichoke etc. Designate a place in your garden especially for these!

Jerusalem artichokes 3

Freshly Harvested Jerusalem Artichokes

Jerusalem Artichokes are members of the Sunflower Family and so, they do grow quite large (Up to 15 feet!) and work very well to provide privacy or as a wind break ( If you live in a high wind area there may be a need to stake them as a precaution ). Their stems and foliage make great material for composting or chop and drop as the leaves mostly still stick to the stem even after they are black and completely dry, the stems would serve very well in the middle to higher layers of a Hugelkultur Mund. Once harvested, merely keep a few smaller tubers and replant them where you want the next years batch to grow, about 10cm (3 /16th inch) deep , each tuber will produce at least one plant, medium to large tubers can be sliced into half or thirds to create seed tubers too. Check out my own Jerusalem Artichoke Soup Recipe Here

Harvested Chinese Artichokes

Chinese Artichokes are smaller bush type plants (Compared to the Jerusalem Artichokes) and according to this blogger, 1kg of tubers come from one seed tuber.

Large Oca Tuber – UK Grown

OCA (Oxalis Tuberosa) aren’t as vigorous as the above two, they look more like a bush and the tubers are still a bit rare due to being from South America originally, for this they are some of the most expensive tubers after Yacon.

Freshly pulled Yacon Tubers

Yacon are a larger tuber but also quite more expensive, my contact will sell a growing tip which will have about 3 shoots coming out for a hefty price, they do guarantee at least one plant from the growing tip and you can also always just cut out the growing tips next harvest to build your Yacon population!

These plants require almost zero maintenance once established and, again, their edible roots can be left underground until you want to harvest them! Not to forget that you will never need to buy the seed tubers again unless you eat them all!