"The tragic reality is that very few sustainable systems are designed or applied by those who hold power, and the reason for this is obvious and simple: to let people arrange their own food, energy and shelter is to lose economic and political control over them. We should cease to look to power structures, hierarchical systems, or governments to help us, and devise ways to help ourselves." - Bill Mollison

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Good King

We grow the long forsaken perennial herb Good King Henry for early spring greens. This plant will self sow if allowed and is an excellent substitute for spinach. We sometimes adorn homemade pizzas with it, the young spring leaves are especially good. Once the seed heads appear it does become somewhat bitter but is then a real treat for our chickens. Some call it Fat-hen, as it was supposedly used in Germany to fatten poultry in days long past.

I love perennials that need only to be planted once and can then be enjoyed for many years to come. Three cheers for the king.


Silke said...

Well, I learned something here - had never heard of this green before. I checked on google.de and apparently it's a green that used to be widely used!

Thanks for your comments on my mushroom! I looked up King Bolete and realized that we searched for and ate many of those and also of the Chestnut Bolete. So tasty!!!

:) Silke

Matt said...

Ah ever-bearing plants, so much to be said for them. You must have rhubarb there and chives no doubt, apart from trees and shrubs, what perennial food plants do you find thrive in your northern clime?

Mr. H said...


Good King Henry apparently fell out of favor many years ago, but not in our gardens.

I thought you might have tried a bolete before as they are a pretty sought after mushroom. I on the other hand have never found a decent one, we always seem to stumble upon them after the bugs have gotten to them first... someday.


Mr. H said...


Yes, lots of rhubarb and chives. Besides Henry we also have a lot of success with various sorrel, chicory, horse radish, sunchokes and herbs like oregano, thyme, sage and many others.

Asparagus would do really well if I would quit moving it around. We are trying sea kale for the first time this season as well.

I'm not sure if these are technically considered perennials or not but leeks, salsify, scorzenera, and parsnips practically grow wild in our garden. Greens such as purslane, red mustard and salad Burnett readily re-seed them selves.

We love variety and are always trying something new.


el said...

Oooh! I love it too. I mainly eat the shoots really early in spring; they tend to come up when the outside Egyptian walking onions come up so they're a nice two-fer in the skillet.

I think the reason it fell out of favor is because it's weedy. Personally, I have a lot of things that are weedy so I don't see what singled GKH out, you know?

Mr. H said...

Hi El,

The shoots on Henry are supposed to be really good, funny thing is I have never tried eating them that way... I will though. Especially now that I have these neat little Egyptian walking onions to go with them next spring.

I'll never understand why people disregard plants that are "weedy" either. I mean, that's a good thing, I wish my eggplants and melons were more weedy.

By the way, I am having the best time watching the the Egyptian onions you gave us transform. They are kind of like small foreign aliens sending out tentacales, the other alliums are getting nervous.


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