Salsify, Mammoth Sandwich Island (Tragopogon porrifolius) - 50 Seeds
•American grown seeds
•USDA Zones 5-12
The best vegetable you've never heard of! Dating back to the 1800s where it is native to Europeans who would cook Salsify in soups and stews. All parts of the plant are edible and deserves its place in every period or permaculture garden. Plant in the spring and dig up roots in the fall and into the winter. Cold hardy and reseeds, so dead-head to control spreading and either eat flowers or harvest seeds for next spring. Some say salsify has the subtle, sweet flavor of an oyster. Some say salsify has the flavor of asparagus or artichokes. Salsify is sometimes called “oyster plant”. Salsify can be cooked in many of the same ways as carrots, parsnips, and potatoes. It can be steamed, baked, boiled, sautéed, or braised. Salsify can come to harvest in early summer, but it is best during winter after it has been exposed to cold weather while still in the ground. Cold temperatures activate the conversion of starch into sugar and so salsify actually sweetens as the weather grows colder.
This variety of salsify takes 4-5 months to mature and should be planted immediately after the last spring frost for a fall crop. After soaking the seeds overnight, direct sow in deeply worked soil 1/2" deep and 1" apart in rows 12-24" apart. When the seedlings emerge, thin to 2-4" apart. Thinned seedlings can be replanted elsewhere. Apply mulch to conserve moisture and prevent competing weeds which slow the growth of salsify. Harvest for fresh use when it reaches a mature length of 8". Salsify does not store well in the refrigerator, but does exceptionally well in the ground and can be left in the ground until spring.