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How to avoid gluts and hungry gaps

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As part of the Guardian’s Live Better Challenge, I’m talking about how to even out the harvests in your garden to avoid the feast vs famine conundrum. There’s nothing worse than realising you can’t face another green bean, or courgette, after the hard work that went into making your garden productive, but it’s an easy problem to fix. Click through to the Guardian website to read more.

→ Glutbusters: how to avoid a humungous harvest

Posted in Emma's log of links on May 19, 2014 ·

Tag: articles

Floral fudge

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I love this recipe from Higgledy Garden, because it combines edible flowers (an unusual, and beautiful addition to a vegetable garden) and one of my favourite things – fudge. Plus it mentions volcanoes and Jules Verne :)

→  Calendula and Cornflower Fudge Recipe

Posted in Emma's log of links on Mar 28, 2014 ·

Last modified on Mar 28, 2014

Tags: flowers & food.

To sow, or not to sow? That is the question

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It’s easy for gardeners to be seduced by the lure of spring, especially after a long winter, and invest in more seeds than they can so. It leads to over stuffed seed boxes, and gardens that are bursting at the seams. It also leads to lots of packets of seeds that have passed their sow-by-date. Will they grow? Most people, I think, have a hard time chucking them out and so they accumulate. This lovely post from Daughter of the Soil (from 2008!) explains why it’s worth giving them a go, particularly if it’s something unusual that was hard to get hold of.

→ Why I love out-of-date seeds

Posted in Emma's log of links on Mar 23, 2014 ·

Tags: seeds & unusual.

Naming ferns

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This article, an interesting one about the consumption of ferns in Russia and beyond, illustrates a common problem when you’re researching unusual edible plants – it doesn’t name the species involved. Non-scientific articles often use only ‘common’ names, which may not be common (widespread) at all. In this case there’s no name at all, but the references to toxins should put most people tucking into the ferns in their garden. You’d need to do some more research to find out which ones are safe to eat.

→ A tasty snack from a toxic plant

Posted in Emma's log of links on Mar 20, 2014 ·

Tag: ethnobotany

Pasta with space aliens

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I’ve only grown kohl rabi once, but they are an impressive vegetable, looking like many-armed space aliens, or perhaps sputniks. Apparently the Sicilians prefer to harvest them young, when the leaves are still tender, and cook the whole vegetable into a ‘wet’ pasta dish. This looks like a lovely way to use an unusual harvest from your veg patch.

→ KOHLRABI with pasta – a wet dish (Causunnedda che cavuli )

Posted in Emma's log of links on Mar 19, 2014 ·

Tags: unusual & food.

Eating dahlia bulbs

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Suttons have had seeds and plants for edible dahlia ‘yams’ in their Homegrown Revolution range for a couple of years, but this article from William Woys Weaver explains a little bit about their history as unusual edible plants. It also makes a point that’s worth bearing in mind – different varieties are going to taste different. When you first eating an unusual edible you may find you don’t like it, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on it right away. A different variety, a different means of processing, a different method of cooking and even a different stage of harvest could make all the difference!

→ Edible Dahlia Bulbs

Posted in Emma's log of links on Mar 14, 2014 ·

Tag: unusual

Hardy gingers

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Eric Toensmeier, who is profiled in Jade Pearls and Alien Eyeballs, has written a lovely article about his forays into the world of hardy gingers. His assertion that “you have to personally kill something three times before you know it won’t grow for you” will resonate with every gardener who grows unusual edible plants!

→ Hardy Gingers for the Food Forest Understory

Posted in Emma's log of links on Mar 13, 2014 ·

Last modified on Mar 12, 2014

Tags: perennial & unusual.

Galicica Mountain Tea

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The nice thing about being into unusual edible plants is that there’s no shortage of interesting plants to get excited about! This morning’s plant is Sideritis scardica: Galicica, Sharplaninski tea, tea pirin or sheep tea. Native to the Balkans it is newly added to the Slow Food Ark of Taste.

→ Galicica Mountain Tea

Posted in Emma's log of links on Mar 12, 2014 ·

Tag: herbs

Oriental borage in Turkey

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Susanne Masters is talking about oriental borage in Turkey today. Trachystemon orientalis is used as a vegetable, although there may be some concerns over eating it in large quantities. My interest was piqued by the note that oriental borage is grown in Germany by Turkish immigrants – if it grows in Germany there’s a good chance it could be successfully cultivated by adventurous UK gardeners.

→ Oriental borage – Trachystemon orientalis

Posted in Emma's log of links on Mar 11, 2014 ·

Tag: unusual

Gin fling

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This morning Plantlife have announced a new campaign to save British juniper plants – 3/4 of which are found in Scotland. They’re asking the public to survey juniper (Juniperus communis) when they’re out and about in the countryside. Now known mainly for flavouring gin (enough reason to preserve it!), juniper is also used as a spice, and medicinally. This lovely round-up of the mythology and folklore of juniper is from Trees for Life.

→ Mythology and Folklore of the Juniper

Posted in Emma's log of links on Mar 10, 2014 ·

Tags: perennial & spices.

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