Growing Salsify and Scorzonera
Salsify and Scorzonera
Tragopogon porrifolius and Scorzonera hispanica
These plants are grown mainly for their edible roots. They are dealt with together because they belong to the same family, are grown in much the same ways, and are somewhat similar in taste. Salsify roots have whitish skins, scorzonera blackish brown. For the table they may be fried in butter or boiled. Some growers do not harvest the roots but allow the plants to grow into a second season and harvest the young shoots, which can be blanched and eaten raw in salads or cooked and eaten as asparagus. This is not recommended for small gardens, however.
Sow salsify in April or May and scorzonera in May. The seeds should be sown at a depth of 12-20 mm (½-¾ in), with two or three seeds per growing point, and at intervals of 250 mm (10 in) between points. When the seedlings emerge, thin to the strongest at each point. As the mature roots are very long, on heavy soils it is advisable to prepare the holes at the growing points with a crowbar to a depth of about 300 mm (12 in) or more, and then to fill the holes with potting compost.
Theshould be light, well-drained, and well-composted for a previous crop; do not use fresh or the plants may develop forked roots. Keep the soil weed-free and moist.
Harvest from October onwards.
SALSIFY: ‘Sandwich Island’
SCORZONERA: ‘Giant Russian
Site: Not too shady
Soil: Light, rich, well-drained
Harvest: October onwards