NZ Lifestyle Block - - Plants With A Purpose -

SALAD BURNET grows best in a cool tem­per­ate cli­mate. In tem­per­a­tures above 25°C, the leaves tend to be­come bit­ter.

It prefers a sunny sit­u­a­tion, need­ing a good six hours to do well, although a lit­tle shade is ben­e­fi­cial dur­ing hot summers. An al­ka­line or neu­tral soil of ph 6.5-8.0 is said to give it a sweeter flavour.

A well-drained, mois­tur­ere­ten­tive soil is ideal, and it needs reg­u­lar mois­ture – but not ex­cess – to produce its best growth. It prefers not to dry out too much in sum­mer or get too wet in win­ter, although once es­tab­lished it will tol­er­ate short pe­ri­ods of drought.

It is eas­i­est to grow salad burnet by seed as its ex­ten­sive root sys­tem makes it hard to di­vide eas­ily. The seed is fine and needs light to ger­mi­nate so should be just cov­ered (5mm deep). It will start emerging within 7-10 days.

Sow fresh seed in au­tumn or spring. If di­rect sown, plants should be thinned to 10cm and then about 30cm apart. If sow­ing into con­tain­ers, mod­ules are prefer­able as the plants can be checked in growth on trans­plant­ing.

Plants will form a tight rosette un­til they flower, then flow­er­ing stems will shoot up to reach 30-45cm. These should be cut as they ap­pear, un­less seedlings are wanted, to keep leaf growth ten­der. If left, the leaves will be­come tough and bit­ter.

Once es­tab­lished, plants will self-sow read­ily. This can be a good way to re­place old stock, pro­vided any ex­cess seedlings are culled out promptly or they will soon over-run the gar­den.

Salad burnet will thrive in your gar­den in rea­son­able con­di­tions. It is un­trou­bled by pests and the only thing likely to kill it is root rot in heavy, wet soils.

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