NZ Lifestyle Block
Want to grow something a little unusual this winter?
Common or white salsify (Tragopogon porrifolius) tastes like a nutty artichoke and takes around 16-20 weeks from sowing to harvest.
Black salsify (Scorzonera hispanica) has a similar flavour, but grows longer, thinner roots – up to 60cm long in sandy soils – and matures in just 12 weeks.
• ADD a general fertiliser to soil 2-3 weeks before sowing but don’t add compost or manure as the roots fork in rich soils.
• USE fresh seed, no more than a year old, as it quickly loses its viability.
• GROW as you would for parsnips, sowing directly into well-drained, deeply dug, light or sandy soil.
• HARVEST gently, as the roots snap easily – use a fork to loosen the soil. Both roots have tough skin and are more difficult to peel than other root vegetables. They also exude a sticky latex-like substance when peeled. Place them in water with a little lemon juice straight after peeling, or they quickly turn brown.