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Good King Henry

 
robert campbell
Posts: 31
Location: coastal oregon
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Has anyone had luck with Good King Henry?  I have tried planting it the past 2 years.  The first year it hardly germinated at all.  Last year, the seedlings died very quickly and those I planted in place in the ground were covered with other plants.  Since I don't know exactly what the seedlings look like, I would prefer to start it in pots.  Anyone have tips on cultivating this, or conversely, anyone want to say its not worth it?

I'm going to try some again, keeping them warmer indoors and not setting them out until they are much more established.

Thanks!
 
Matt Ferrall
Posts: 555
Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
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I just divided mine after 8yrs and was able to chunk off a few more.I was calling this my trail plant because it makes a great trail liner.Doesnt get so big as to fall and block trail.Then I called it my path plant and realized how much the leaves look like a native called pathfinder.Over all its not the best salad green but can crank out sume serious volume for cooking/steaming with the leaves and flowers.It can outcompete grass and since its listed in so many books its pretty much a must have for the forest garden.
 
                    
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Mt.goat wrote:
...Over all its not the best salad green but can crank out some serious volume for cooking/steaming with the leaves and flowers....


What about using the shoots like asparagus? In Perennial Vegetables, Eric Toensmeier seemed to be stressing the use of the new shoots as an asparagus-like veggie, with a season that is much longer than asparagus.  He also mentioned the leaves, and possibility of breeding it to get a cauliflower-like plant, but that seemed less important than the shoots. Have you tried the shoots, and if so, what can you tell us about them?
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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i've read about it but never planted it..would like to some day if it is hardy here in Michigan though..always up to trying new greens
 
Matt Ferrall
Posts: 555
Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
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GKH is about as generic as an edible perennial can get.Its flowers are nondescript but have volume.Volume/weight are harder to come by in the perennial realm.GKH cranks out more than almost any other perennial.One person would have a task on their hands to keep 4-8 plants mowed of their flowers.While often compared to spinach to show its nutrient density,I only use it  steamed or in soup and no,it doesnt taste like asparagus either.Nondescript flavor as well.
 
Kathleen Sanderson
Posts: 985
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
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Any idea how the nutritional value compares with other greens?

Kathleen
 
                    
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Good King Henry's nutritional contents are mentioned at the end of this document:

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&ct=res&cd=12&ved=0CAsQFjABOAo&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.oly-wa.us%2Fterra%2Fforest.pdf&rct=j&q=good+king+henry+nutritional+content&ei=TEbQS9WFOYW29gSakZU2&usg=AFQjCNHJThBfdbHmyjeQ6NV9g5GBERnbwg

It says they have 3x the amount of vitamin C compared to spinach, and more of most other vitamins and minerals.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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have you found a good source for seeds or plants, and is it hardy in zone 4/5
 
                    
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It is hardy over the lower 48 US states and in parts of Canada. Richters is one source for plants and seeds - I've ordered from them before, they are a good company (and other good companies undoubtedly have it as well).
 
Matt Ferrall
Posts: 555
Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
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Digging it up,I noticed it has big tap roots and would make a great dynamic accumulator but also somewhat resents transplanting.Starting in pots works great for a seamless transfer to their ultimate locations.
 
                      
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I ordered seed from Richters and got no germination. I'm not knocking them sometimes You just get a bad batch of seed. I'm trying once more with seed from this place: http://www.bountifulgardens.org/
 
Paulo Bessa
pollinator
Posts: 340
Location: Portugal (zone 9) and Iceland (zone 5)
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I was growing good king henry some 3 years ago, I bought an adult plant and it was nice to grow. But then I had to move during winter and lost the plant. Now I bought seeds and it has been 1 month of waiting for it to germinate.

Well, first I have experience with the related chenopodium species "strawberry spinach". Chenopodium usually germinate slowly and erratically, they prefer to be sown over a light soil, and very near the surface. Actually, like chenopodium weeds (and also like the related amaranth and quinoa) they germinate slowly and usually something like 2 months after sowing, when the soil was mixed for some reason. Its the kind of seeds that you might quit or trying, only to find them germinating again when you used that same soil for a tomato plant, and then you will have your chenopodiums growing there! They seem to need a cycle of cold/warm and dark/light (burried/brought back to surface), as it happens in disturbed soils.

But so far I am still trying to germinate these difficult seeds.

Two other points of importance. Chenopodiums seedlings seem to hate both transplanting and wet feet. The seedlings are prone to root rot. Therefore spray some sand over the seedling as it germinates (or even during sowing). This helps. Second, sow in a pot and when you transplant be extra careful to keep the soil intact as much as possible. Even with that, the plant might resent the transplanting. Adult plants are much less sensitive to transplanting than young seedlings.

Chenopodiums seem to be easier to self-seed themselves by nature alone, rather than having humans germinate them!


 
Paulo Bessa
pollinator
Posts: 340
Location: Portugal (zone 9) and Iceland (zone 5)
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Finally a couple of seeds germinated. They took 3 months to germinate and germinated after I add some sand into the soil surface.
I am almost sure, because they resemble seedlings from other chenopodium species. As for that kind of seedlings, they kind of grow very slowly at first, taking about 2 to 3 months to pass from seedling stage towards active growth. During that time they are highly prone to root rot and slugs, so protect the seedlings with cut plastic bottles, and they also enjoy having sand mixed with the soil, so it prevents root rot. Provide lots of sunlight and avoid excess water.

 
Alex Brands
Posts: 55
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I grew some from seeds from Richters. They were hard to get started, and the young plants seemed really frail, but after a year or two, they are super tough. A little too much so. I wanted to get rid of some, so I tried pulling them, but only got the tops, so I put 4-6 sheets of newspaper over them and mulched with compost. The next spring they were back! I don't like them near paths, because they self seed quite a bit. Deadheading is unreliable for me because the flowers and seedheads are so inconspicuous. Raw is no good at all, very tough. Steamed, it tastes just like steamed spinach to me, but with a bitter aftertaste. I don't really get the spring shoots thing, as mine just start sending up leaves. Maybe I'm taking the comparison to asparagus too literally? Under my persimmon and pawpaw trees, they do well, but are not dense enough to make a weed suppressing groundcover. Maybe in full sun they would.

Alex
 
John Saltveit
gardener
Posts: 1886
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bike books food preservation forest garden fungi trees
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To me, GKH is easy to grow, but doesn't produce to much. It's mostly a portfolio plant, meaning, I want to have eaten many plants during the year, and it is a minor player. I agree that the flavor is not so good raw and fine cooked. I have transplanted it from my old house and it has even slowly reproduced itself here so I now have 3? plants. I like it as a diversifier and edible role player.
John S
PDX OR
 
Adam Moore
Posts: 121
Location: Mansfield, Ohio Zone 5b percip 44"
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I ordered GKH seeds from restorationseeds.com Last year I couldn't get anyting to grow so I left the remaining seeds in my unheated sunroom over the winter and now they are coming up. Maybe a third germinated. The cold stratification made the difference. I started indoors over a montha ago and I transplanted a couple outside already. They seem to be handeling the cold nights fine here in ohio. When it dips below 40 degrees at night I have been covering with a cloche. Now if only I could get my figwort seeds to sprout
 
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