Salsify is a very old biannual cultivated plant of the large Composite family. It is thought to originate in the Mediterranean countries and it grows wild in large parts of Europe, Sweden too. The market sorts which exist have all been selectively bred from this one. The salsify resembles its close relative Black Salsify except that the root is pale-yellow and more like a carrot in shape and the blossoms are purple-red rather than yellow. They are grown under the same conditions (read under Scorzonera below) and yield a winter-hardy root of very fine flavour, especially after a few nights of frost. It is called vegetarian oyster in several of the countries it is grown in. Wintered roots should be harvested before blooming. The leaves are slightly sweet and young ones are excellent in salads in spring after winter. The salsify decorates the garden with its long, thin dark-grey-green lance-like leaves and flowers on tall stalks. Read under Black Salsify for advice on cultivation, harvest and seeds.SOWING: Black salsify is the first thing to be sown in spring, as soon as the frost in the ground has broken up and the soil has dried out a little. Sow 2 cm deep. B.S. needs a long season. Sowing in autumn usually succeeds as well and that is an extra early start.
SOWING: Black salsify is the first thing to be sown in spring, as soon as the frost in the ground has broken up and the soil has dried out a little. Sow 2 cm deep. B.S. needs a long season. Sowing in autumn usually succeeds as well and that is an extra early start.
SPACING: 10-15 cm between the plants and 40-50 cm between the rows.
HARVEST: Dig up the roots carefully as late as possible in autumn. If covered with plant refuse, harvest can go on till they freeze firmly in the ground or let them remain until next year to grow a bit more. Wintered roots begin blooming later in summer. That makes the root harder and harder so do not delay harvesting. The leaves are edible as well. Store the black salsifies in moist sand or peat in an earth cellar. It is used in casseroles, soups and gratins etc. or eaten lightly poached with butter.
SEEDS: 70-90 seeds/g. One portion is enough for a stretch of several meters. About 30 g sows 100 m and 500 g (1lb.) sows 1000 m2 .