Friday, June 14, 2013

Sorting my Salsify

I had a bed of salsify ready to dig to put in my veggie boxes, only one bed that was sown before summer. It was too hot to germinate any over the summer so my customers will have to wait a bit longer if they want more.

I like salsify but not nearly as much as scorzonera (also called black salsify) but I only have one bed of scorzonera also so my customers will have to wait till the end of the month to taste that.
Salsify tastes like artichoke and is best peeled then baked with butter or garlic, then mashed if desired.

Anyway, I dug up the bed and was annoyed to find that most of the roots were unusable. They were so forked and misshapen that I had to throw them away.
It was such a pity but at least I managed to get enough usable roots to give all my customers a good bunch.

I don't know what happened as I grew them in loose dirt that wasn't too fertile.

Here are an example of the roots I ended up with. I divided the roots into three piles. The first pile were good roots that I replanted for seed.

The  middle pile was roots that could be used with a bit of tidying up and pulling off side roots. These went to my customers.

The last pile was roots that I had to throw away.

I ended up with about 70% unusable roots and most of the rest to sell.

I replanted the best and cleanest roots in the hope that they would produce seed leading to better roots. Of course this will take a couple more years of selecting.
I only had 10 good roots which is too small an example for breeding but I have a couple of other young beds to select from later when they are dug so I should have enough for breeding by flowering time.


  1. I've had similar difficulties with my salsify over the years. Possibly 'no dig' is they route to good roots, but I'm still working on it.
    I actually think they are far more valuable for their shoots produced in the second year just before they go to seed. If you have not tried them, they are produced in huge numbers, and they are good steamed. Lots of produce from a small area, and available early in the season.

    1. Thanks for that. I will replant some of the ones I threw away to try them.