New research project on perennial vegetables – you can contribute!

The interest in growing perennial vegetables has increased a lot recently and now you can participate in and support an international research project that will build new knowledge about the properties of these crops.. Perennial vegetables are edible plants with permanent roots, who return to the same place year after year. Many perennial vegetables are very early and easier to care for than their annual counterparts. Since these crops of perennial vegetables do not need to be disturbed with tillage and sowing every year, reduces the depletion of the soil and benefits diversity both in and above ground. Many of the perennial vegetables are nutritious as they have not undergone plant breeding, in terms of return and appearance, to the same extent as ordinary commercial vegetables.

Rankspenat (Hablitzia tamnoides) one of the perennial vegetables that will be examined in the project).

However, these plants are much less studied in terms of nutritional value compared to their commercially grown counterparts.. This is important to investigate to enable an even greater spread of these amazing plants, which can be an important part of the transition to more sustainable food production. Together with Eric Toensmeier on Perennial Agriculture Institute and Eva Johansson on Skillebyholm research we have therefore started one crowdfunding campaign to be able to perform nutritional value analyzes on perennial vegetables that have not been tested at all, or where previous results are deficient.

We will start by analyzing the leaves from three of the following plants: Funkia (Hosta sieboldii), lind (Tilia cordata), rankspenat (Hablitzia tamnoides) and black root (Salsify hispanica). The plants have been selected based on good taste, a relatively high harvest, and indication that they are nutritious. This is the smallest number of plants we will test. The more money we get into the crowdfunding campaign, the more vegetables will be included in the analysis.

We believe that this crowdfunding can help increase interest in growing and using perennial vegetables, which is an important step towards a future with more perennial crops on the table, restaurants and in the grocery store.

Feel free to support us by giving one contribution to the crowdfunding campaign.

Also read more about perennial vegetables and this project at Eric Toensmeier's blog.

5 thoughts on “New research project on perennial vegetables – you can contribute!”

  • Top!

    I am happy to be involved both as a supporter and as a co-researcher. I have had both spinach for several years (Hablizia tamnoides) and forest linden (Tilia cordata) in my crops. In fact, since I visited Eric Toensmeier in Massachusetts 2015.

    There are some reports of forest linden from Germany from the 1960s, when analyzing which tree leaves could best be used as fodder for cattle. Here is a table of nutritional values ​​from a few different linden trees (unfortunately with Dutch text, but I think you understand anyway.)

    The tastiest variety of winter linden I think is ‘Bierun’, a Polish name variety with extra-bright leaves. They are almost yellow all summer. A little less chlorophyll makes them sweeter in taste. I've grafted a couple dozen of it this winter, so if you want you can get a tree if we meet.
    In addition, I think the best form of plant is to have a hedge with linden trees, so that you can prune / cut several times a year to be able to pick fresh leaves from May to September.

    Good luck!

    • Oh so good information Göran! Citizen research is really needed, but lab analyzes can be a bit problematic at home on the kitchen table. Then it can be discussed about what can be counted as knowledge, just pure numbers, traditions and ancient knowledge, experience-based etc etc. In any case, I hope that this crowdfunding is spread in wide circles.

      By the way, I get very interested in 'Bierun'. Had a little awakening when I found myself climbing in a linden tree, a spring in Scania many years ago. Mumsandes on a handful of leaves with smooth and sweet leaves. Enough that man may have been 'born’ on the Savannah, but we have probably never been particularly far from the trees.

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