How to Grow Salsify – A Guide to Growing Salsify
Salsify is a root crop very rarely seen in the shops because it’s not commonly known nowadays and so not popular. Yet the flavour of salsify is considered far superior to that of parsnips which it resembles, although a thinner root. Salsify is often referred to the vegetable oyster due to it’s subtle flavour.
Sowing and Growing Salsify
Salsify is very easy to grow so long as the soil has been properly prepared and is available in depth.
Salsify requires a good depth of light soil and is well suited to growing in deep raised beds and large containers. Like other root crops do not manure the year before which will cause the plants to fork. They do benefit from the addition of a general purpose fertiliser the week before sowing.
On clay soils, add sharp sand to the soil and compost to improve the tilth.
For raised beds, sow 3 seeds per position direct in late April, early May at 23cm (9″) each way spacing, 1.5 cm deep thinning out to one plant per station otherwise, for standard row growing space at 23cm (9″) apart in rows 38cm (15″) apart.
The crop should be ready to harvest by October or November but can be left in the ground through to February. Otherwise store as parsnips and carrots in damp sand or peat.
They are trouble free, just water in dry weather.
Preparation is more difficult than the humble parsnip, scalding will make the skin easier to scrape off and then steam or boil until tender. Boiling and then peeling is recommended by some chefs. The difficulties in preparation are repaid with the taste.
You can use salsify in recipes for parsnips but the subtle flavour is best served by just steaming and then serving with melted butter or even Hollandaise sauce.