One of my favorite garden dark horses this year has to be my salsify plant going hog wild next to my tomatoes.
Not only is it supposedly delicious- but it has the best flowers.
I’d heard it spread easily and that getting seeds to sow was a cinch- but since half the plants died over the winter I was getting nervous. After all, while the whole plant is edible, it’s the roots that are the star- and obviously harvesting the roots kills the plant.
But I’m in luck- harvesting seeds IS a cinch!
They’re wind dispersed seeds!
Just like dandelions, the gorgeous flowers once pollenated turn into big fluffy seed heads, and then it’s a race against time and the wind to get those seeds before they’re blown all around your garden.
I won this time, and have already started a few of these beauties in some coir seed starter. Wind dispersed seeds don’t have the longest shelf life- unlike other seeds that can stay dormant for years and still germinate, salsify wont stay viable for more than a year, maybe less.
So you want to make sure you sow or start your seeds soon after harvesting, to get the ball rolling. Especially since it takes two years for them to flower- and boy are those purple flowers pretty. Also- I’m pretty sure once it flowers the root is kinda gross so I might have made a whoopsy letting them be pretty. At least I have the seeds for the next attempt!
Salsify is one of those old old vegetables that was always a bit niche. It’s relatively new to cultivation, as it was a vegetable that was largely foraged until a few hundred or so years ago when someone figured they could just start saving seeds.
Unlike some enterprising Italian peasant, I didn’t get all the fluffy seed heads this time, as we had a major wind storm that got to this one before I could. Eh you win some you lose some.
A biennial vegetable that was grown for it’s delicate oyster/asparagus flavor that is my favorite type of vegetable, a root vegetable, that unlike potatoes has fully edible green bits AND if you mess up and let it go to seed you’ll get gorgeous purple flowers?
I’ve yet to see the downside to this.