Ancient/Long Forgotten Crops/Flowers

This is the place to discuss not just allotments but all general gardening problems and queries which don't fit into the specific categories below.
(formerly allotments and tips, hints and problems)
Post Reply
mattphillips78
margo - newbie
margo - newbie
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2009 12:46 pm
Location: Greater London

Ancient/Long Forgotten Crops/Flowers

Post: # 166072Post mattphillips78 »

Hi!

I wanted to ask you all for ideas of reintroducing old crops and flowers that were traditionally cultivated here but are no longer around - I have a real interest in this area and want to reintroduce these native or traditional crops/flowers into our smallholding.

Thank you for your help in advance and happy weeding and harvesting!

Matthew
The Rat Race couldn't be further away, working the soil in tune with nature

User avatar
Millymollymandy
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 17637
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 6:09 am
Location: Brittany, France

Re: Ancient/Long Forgotten Crops/Flowers

Post: # 166280Post Millymollymandy »

Um, you haven't put your location in your profile so nobody is going to know where 'here' is :lol: .
boboff wrote:Oh and just for MMM, :hugish: (thanks)
http://chateaumoorhen.blogspot.com/

User avatar
Milims
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 4390
Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2006 9:06 pm
Location: North East

Re: Ancient/Long Forgotten Crops/Flowers

Post: # 166429Post Milims »

One of our favourites is carlins or maple peas. They used to be a populat food stuff in elizabethan times but fell out of favour and became cattle food. In this area they are eaten two Sundays before Easter Sunday . The story goes that there was a village on the coast who's crops had failed and the villagers were on the verge of starvation. A ship carrying a cargo of carlins crashed on the rocks and the villagers collected the peas, boiled them and served them with butter and rum sauce and were saved. As my granda used to say - Carlin Sunday Fartin' Monday! :lol: They are very easy to grow, grow to about 6ft tall and have very lovely purple flowers. From just a table spoon of the dried peas we've had a large crop, so they are quite profuse. You can either eat them as regualr garden peas or dry them and use them in soups etc. They are really nice in a pea and ham soup as they have a very "meaty" flavour
Let us be lovely
And let us be kind
Let us be silly and free
It won't make us famous
It won't make us rich
But damn it how happy we'll be!
Edward Monkton


Member of the Ish Weight Loss Club since 10/1/11 Started at 12st 8 and have lost 8lb so far!

Peggy Sue
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 1120
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2007 1:27 pm
Location: Godmanchester, Cambs, UK

Re: Ancient/Long Forgotten Crops/Flowers

Post: # 166504Post Peggy Sue »

They sound much more prolific than 'normal' peas, interesting!

I only know Parsnips are about as native as you can get, and purple carrots are supposed to be but are really hard to get hold of and really hard to grow.

I want to try some really old varieties of potato next year.
Just Do It!

trevorb
margo - newbie
margo - newbie
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2009 3:42 pm
Location: East Yorkshire

Re: Ancient/Long Forgotten Crops/Flowers

Post: # 166520Post trevorb »

You could try salsify (vegetable oyster) and scozonera. They are long roots, like thin carrots (they are white, scozonera has blackish skin), and were grown by the Victorians. They can be stored over winter like carrots or potatoes. I tried growing them years ago when we had an allotment, but the land was too dry for them to germinate. Another one to try would be cardoons, mainly because they reach 2 metres in height and look like a scary giant thistly globe artichoke (not surprising, cos that's what they are). The stems are chopped up for stews and soups, but I have no idea what they taste like - friends of ours have grown one on their vegetable patch for several years (they can be propagated from offshoots/suckers), and it is great as a centrepiece. There are other Victorian oddities you could try like the black radish, seakale (needs salt adding to the soil!), skirret (the sweetish roots are boiled), and Good King Henry or ('Lincolnshire Asparagus'), which was pretty well displaced by spinach. Some of these plants were no doubt discarded for a reason as you may find out! Jerusalem Artichoke is still cultivated, but not common, and worth a try - we had a permanent double row as a windbreak hedge on our allotment, they need no fertiliser or cultivation, you just dig a clump of tubers up as you need them (they can either be stored or left in the ground for ages), put one small piece back in the ground to grow a new plant, and the puree makes good soup (but gives you wind). Because they are helianthus (sunflowers), you also get good yellow flowerheads for the birds and insects.

Peggy Sue
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 1120
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2007 1:27 pm
Location: Godmanchester, Cambs, UK

Re: Ancient/Long Forgotten Crops/Flowers

Post: # 166596Post Peggy Sue »

I found salsify impossible to germinate having ahd 2 goes- shame I really want to grow them.

Cardoons my allotment neighbour grows, they are HUGE! He says they taste earthy.

J Arts I have grown but once they are they it's impossible to be rid of them and they are so very tall that they ahve overshadowed alot. I like the taste but the rate teh multiply at is beyond my capacity- s when someone tells you they don't spread - they do, and that they are only 4 ft- it's more like 7 ft! But very easy for sure.
Just Do It!

User avatar
stargazer
margo - newbie
margo - newbie
Posts: 22
Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2009 12:11 pm
latitude: 55.85
longitude: -3.55
Location: Central Scotland
Contact:

Re: Ancient/Long Forgotten Crops/Flowers

Post: # 166762Post stargazer »

Try looking at the Thomas Etty website, it has loads of heritage seeds and bulbs and has things I've never heard of - Tree Primrose and Meum?
They are also good for medicinal plants and plants for dyeing etc.

Peggy Sue
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 1120
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2007 1:27 pm
Location: Godmanchester, Cambs, UK

Re: Ancient/Long Forgotten Crops/Flowers

Post: # 166768Post Peggy Sue »

Interesting website- surprising how much stuff doesn't date back much further than 1850. Had no idea radish wer so ancient though!
Just Do It!

grahamhobbs
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 1212
Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2009 4:39 pm
Location: London

Re: Ancient/Long Forgotten Crops/Flowers

Post: # 166817Post grahamhobbs »

Can't understand comments about the difficulty of getting salsify seeds to germinate. On my plot it self-seeds everywhere! Mind you getting parsnip seeds to come up is very hit and miss, but when I let one go to seed, they came up everywhere!

Peggy Sue
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 1120
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2007 1:27 pm
Location: Godmanchester, Cambs, UK

Re: Ancient/Long Forgotten Crops/Flowers

Post: # 166821Post Peggy Sue »

Self seeded stuff is always easier to germinate in my experience. Will try again this year with Salsify in hope
Just Do It!

trevorb
margo - newbie
margo - newbie
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2009 3:42 pm
Location: East Yorkshire

Re: Ancient/Long Forgotten Crops/Flowers

Post: # 166904Post trevorb »

Radishes are indeed ancient. They were cultivated here by the Saxons, not just as food but for medicinal reasons: they were thought to ward off 'women's chatter' for one thing, and to cure depression! :argue:

Peggy Sue
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 1120
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2007 1:27 pm
Location: Godmanchester, Cambs, UK

Re: Ancient/Long Forgotten Crops/Flowers

Post: # 166918Post Peggy Sue »

trevorb wrote:Radishes are indeed ancient. They were cultivated here by the Saxons, not just as food but for medicinal reasons: they were thought to ward off 'women's chatter' for one thing, and to cure depression! :argue:
I can hear men saying now- one and the same thing....
Just Do It!

Endie
margo - newbie
margo - newbie
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Nov 16, 2009 4:24 pm

Re: Ancient/Long Forgotten Crops/Flowers

Post: # 177519Post Endie »

grahamhobbs wrote:Can't understand comments about the difficulty of getting salsify seeds to germinate. On my plot it self-seeds everywhere! Mind you getting parsnip seeds to come up is very hit and miss, but when I let one go to seed, they came up everywhere!
Like you, I had no bother with the salsify I planted this year: every one came up. Mind you, I planted them in the greenhouse then transferred them (via the cold frame) when they were established a bit. A bit high maintenance to be sustainable, perhaps!

Peggy Sue
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 1120
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2007 1:27 pm
Location: Godmanchester, Cambs, UK

Re: Ancient/Long Forgotten Crops/Flowers

Post: # 177634Post Peggy Sue »

Well I've ordered my salsify from another supplier this year so hopefully I'll have more luck!
Just Do It!

Post Reply