Learning Download: How to Grow Salsify
Salsify, also known as the oyster plant because of its light oyster flavoring, is a root vegetable not commonly found in grocery stores. The vegetable is similar to a carrot, but with white flesh. The young roots can be eaten raw if finely shredded onto a salad, but the roots are usually cooked in stews. Salsify has a longer growing season but is relatively simple to grow and can be a unique addition to any garden. Although it looks similar to a carrot, salsify is actually related to the dandelion and chicory.
Before Planting: Salsify can be grown over the winter in warmer climates or planted in the spring in cooler climates.
Planting: Salsify prefers a deep and well draining soil. Sow late spring,1″ apart, ½” deep, in rows 18–24″ apart. Do not allow soil to dry out prior to emergence. Thin plants to 2–3″ apart.
Watering: Since it is a root plant, salsify also requires frequent, deep water.
Fertilizer: Salsify requires frequent weeding, as the plants are such slow growers that fast-growing weeds can overtake them. Mulching around the plants can help deter weeds
Days to Maturity: Salsify is ready to harvest when the roots
are 12 inches in length. This can be up to 120 days after planting.
Harvesting: Dig roots in late fall just before the ground freezes. Flavor is best after several frosts. In mild areas, a portion of the crop may be left in the garden for spring harvest, as salsify is cold hardy. Apply a mulch or row cover in cold regions for winter survival insurance. Overwinter in soil or store in root cellar.
Tips: Carrot rust flies and wireworms can be pests that cause problems to your salsify plants. To deter carrot rust flies, spray insecticides or use outdoor sticky traps. For wireworms, leaving a cut piece of potato nearby will distract the pests from the salsify plants.
AVG. Seeding Rate: 1 oz./130′, 7.7 oz./1,000′, 10.5 lb./acre at 20 seeds/ft. in rows 24″ apart.