If you love root vegetables, you'll love learning how to grow salsify, also known as oyster plant! This unusual and uncommon root vegetable is actually part of the lettuce family, but that's where the similarities end. It's very close in looks to parsnips: with a long, tender taproot and a creamy white flesh that's hidden behind dark-tan peel.
Salsify is also commonly referred to as “oyster plant” because it actually has a mild oyster flavor! Salsify's roots, much like other root vegetables, can be used in lots of different ways from boiling, to mashing, or roasting. It has beautiful pink blooms that are also edible and often put onto plates for decor. Its shoots and spring greens are also edible and make wonderful salad additions! If you're interested in learning how to grow salsify, AKA oyster plant, keep reading below!
How to Grow Salsify
- Start seeds in the spring as soon as the soil and temperature has warmed up.
- Use well draining soil and plant in an area with full sun.
- Sow each seed about 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) deep in rows that are 12 inches (30 cm) apart.
- Seedlings should start to shoot up within three weeks time.
- Once germinated, thin the seedlings to about 6 inches (15 cm) apart.
- Pull any weeds you may see and water when the weather is dry.
- Depending on when you started planting your salsify, the roots should be ready for harvest sometime in the middle of fall.
- You can actually leave them in the ground all throughout winter, like parsnips, and the flavors of the roots will improve with each passing frost.
- If your winters are harsh and the ground freezes over, do pull them out and store them in boxes.
- When lifting the salsify, be very gentle as to not break the roots.
- Loosen the soil with a tool by gently inserting into the soil near the base and loosening the soil before pulling out.
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