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Unusual Veg
Thu 8-Jul-10
9:51 pm
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mike.
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Earlier this evening I caught a few minutes of the Hampton Court flower show programme on BBC2, when they were talking about the Shakespeare Garden at the show. They have used only fruit and veg which were available during Shakespeare's day. What particularly caught my eye was the Strawberry Spinach. You can eat the leaves but it also has little fruit which look like raspberries.

Lots of places seem to sell the seeds on-line and they're also available from the Ryton organic garden place, which isn't too far from here. I'm definitely going to give them a go next year, purely for novelty value.

I like the idea of these odd fruit and veg which seem to have vanished off the radar. Does anyone have any favourites or suggestions for other veg to try?

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Fri 9-Jul-10
2:41 pm
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JoannaS
Latvia

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Hamburg parsley! I know it has been around for awhile and is freely available but we never grew them as we used to grow parsnips in Derbyshire and Denmark with no bother, however here the parsnip seeds were really hard to get a hold of and their germination rate was abysmal - we got three big ones last year and I am not sure if we are going to get any this year but the hamburg parsley faithfully grows. It takes time to germinate at first but once away it goes well and has stood during wet and dry summers (well all two we have grown them in), doesn't suffer from the usual root fly problems that parsnips suffer and you can use the leaves as a slightly bitter parsley. Taste to my mind is similar enough to parsnip as to make no difference, never done a side by side test though.Cheers

Fri 9-Jul-10
4:25 pm
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mike.
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The Hamburg Parsley sounds interesting - I'd not come across it before. I like parsnip so I might give it a go next year.

While I was looking at the Organic Gardening shop I also noticed they sell a range of edible wildflower seeds! One of the packs (Edible leaves stems and roots) includes wild carrot and wild parsnip. A few tubs of those might look good around the garden.

I've been growing courgettes every year since I started gardening (all of 4 years now Whistle) and I'm getting a bit bored with them so I might branch out into some more unusual veg instead. Since courgettes take up so much space, this should free up plenty of room for me to use. (I tried 'vertical' gardening last year and tied the plants to a frame but it didn't make much difference).

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Sat 10-Jul-10
10:41 am
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SandyC
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Be careful with wild carrot, I have just spent 2 weeks ridding my veg garden of the stuff and I know that is not the end of it. The other "weed" that grows abundantly here is purslane.It is highly nutritious and revered by the Turks as a salad veg. There is one recipe of lamb and lentils that incorporates purslane that is so delicious that the locals claim you can bribe the police with the promise of a dish!!!!!!  I haven't tried it yet as I am still trying to get my purslane into ONE manageable patch.

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Sat 10-Jul-10
12:23 pm
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JoannaS
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Must be the same as wild parsnip which is also dangerous as it has a similar reaction to giant hogweed and burns when you get sap on the skin and then go into the sun.

 

Sat 10-Jul-10
12:41 pm
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SandyC
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wild carrot is not dangerous(unless you mistake it for water hemlock which is similar) it is infact very beneficial but it takes 2 years to reach that stage. The first year it appears as a pretty rosette with a very long root but is a nuisance in the veg plot. The second year it grows tall and produces flowers(aka Queen Annes Lace) and a root that can be eaten when young. The flower seeda get everywhere hence my problem as this land has not been cultivated for 3 years.

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Sat 10-Jul-10
12:54 pm
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JoannaS
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sounds like the ground elder, pretty to look at in flower, tastes nice as a spinach substitute but boy does it take some getting rid of. If it wasn't such a pain to get rid of I would recommend it as an unusual vegetable to grow. Instead I would say if you see some do us all a favour and eat it out of oblivion Monster

Sun 11-Jul-10
4:15 pm
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mike.
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I've read that ground elder is good to eat if you catch it before it flowers. Since it seems to grow abundantly on all bits of waste ground, I might give it a try next year.

If the wild carrot is so invasive, I'll make sure I keep it in tubs, at the opposite side of the garden to the vegetable patch - it won't be so bad if it gets into the flower beds since that bit is a mixture of bulbs, sunflowers and wildflowers at the moment.

I had a bit of a google about wild parsley. The flowers look a bit like a yellow version of ground elder. Most of the first page seemed to be full of american website going on about how poisonous it is if you touch it. Most of the british sites just seemed to mention its existence and that's about it. I did find one mention in the British Journal of Medicine from 1982, describing the chemicals which cause the rash:

 

Furocoumarins are usually most abundant in mature plants that
have flowered and set seed,' as in this instance. The usual time of
presentation is in July and August, when the plants are fully developed,
the weather is sunny, and children on holiday from school are playing
out of doors, often wearing few clothes. The linear pattern of skin
lesions corresponds to the areas of streaking of plant sap on to the
skin from crushed or cut stems and leaves.

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Sun 11-Jul-10
8:21 pm
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JoannaS
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Mind friend was strimming by a lake the other day and had to run into the house to wash his skin because something was burning and now he has some nasty spots on his skin. We were telling him about our discovery of wild parsnip on our land and then he showed us his small burns all the way up his arm and he wasn't sure what had caused it but realised it was the wild parsnip when we pointed it out. Did you mean to write wild parsley? Did you mean wild parsnip?

Sun 11-Jul-10
8:34 pm
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mike.
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This is the link: Organic Gardening Catalogue where they list wild parsnip as one of the edible roots. They also do an edible leaves and shoots version which might be a better option if the wild parsnip really is that bad.

If I keep it confined to a tub and wear gloves whenever I harvest things, I may be ok but since I've read elsewhere that wild carrot isn't very palatable, I may go for the leaves and shoots version. I've noticed that one includes dandelion, which is a bit unnecessary since our garden is full of the stuff. I'd considered having a go at making dandelion coffee (after reading this page) but most of it is growing between the flagstones where it isn't easy to harvest the roots.

 

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Mon 12-Jul-10
1:37 pm
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JoannaS
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This is one person's view on the wild parsnipEeek

The leaves mix looks interesting though

Mon 12-Jul-10
1:51 pm
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SandyC
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That link was scary, my acres of thistles are nothing to that, I shall stop compaining about them and be thankful I don't have wild parsnip...I hope.

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Mon 12-Jul-10
2:05 pm
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mike.
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I don't remember ever being aware of wild parsnip before, and and I never noticed it in fields or hedgerows. Is it probably more of a problem in america than over here? Although now I'm aware of it, I'll probably see it all over the place. I'll keep my eyes open and see if I notice it anywhere.

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Mon 12-Jul-10
7:36 pm
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JoannaS
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I hadn't noticed it before and I now live in Latvia, but once I realised what it was I did find it everywhere. It might be the type of winter we had that favoured it or something, or just not really noticed it as it really looks like a yellow cow parsley from a distance Doh

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