Author Topic: Salsify  (Read 2315 times)

William S.

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Salsify
« on: 2018-11-26, 08:17:25 AM »
Anyone know much about salsify?
Thinking about trying it next year.

http://www.mofga.org/Publications/The-Maine-Organic-Farmer-Gardener/Winter-2013-2014/Salsify


Only found two varieties:

https://www.adaptiveseeds.com/product/vegetables/roots-misc/salsify-fiore-blu-organic/

https://www.seedsavers.org/mammoth-sandwich-island-salsify

John Jeavons lists it as a high calorie root crop. Which is a pretty important and short list. So few varies exist it doesnt seem like much work has been done with it. I reckon for a breeding project options are to cross these two or or find some wild material as its a fairly widespread wild plant (non-native) and cross the wild x domestic strains. There are some interesting hybrids between the wild species. A good first step might be to try or trial mammoth sandwich island, fiore blu, and the wild type and see what the differences are. I want to know if the improved types are much of an improvement, which variety yields best, what they taste like, if they can be dry farmed on my land, and how well they grow in my climate. Curious about if they self, cross readily, or might even do apomixis.
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A

Nicholas Locke

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Re: Salsify
« Reply #1 on: 2018-11-26, 11:58:54 AM »
I don't know much about it, but was thinking of doing the same thing. It grows very well around here as a weed. I tried some once, it was very fibrous and not very appealing. It was put into "I know I can eat that if there is a famine, but would rather not if I dont have to" group... But looking at Queen Annes Lace, I think Salsify is in a much better place to domesticate then QAL, and look how nice carrots turned out!
I haven't seen or tried the semi domesticated varieties either.
"Maybe" said the farmer...

William S.

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Re: Salsify
« Reply #2 on: 2018-11-26, 12:20:51 PM »
There is one more variety for sure on the seed savers exchange "Luethy"
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A

Richard Watson

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Re: Salsify
« Reply #3 on: 2018-11-26, 08:50:43 PM »
Thats rather interesting Nicholas that what you tried was very fibrous and not very appealing. I replied to Williams post also on HGG about my growing of Salsify. Ive grown my unknown white skin variety for many years and is not fibrous and very nice tasting, up there with there with the parsnip i think.

This coming winter the plants seen in the photo will be dug and i'll look to see if there's some with less lateral roots than the others for seed production. Giving them plenty of room to grow is the key to getting a wide root, about 3-4 cm in diameter.   


Changeable year round climate with warming winters - just under 500mm average yearly rainfall. 20 years of soil improvements plus sub soil top soil reversal means my garden beds are about half metre deep. Below that is 100's of metres of alluvial out wash from the Southern
alps.

Nicholas Locke

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Re: Salsify
« Reply #4 on: 2018-11-27, 06:23:36 PM »
Richard, I tasted mine from a wild growing plant, it could of been pretty old, and our climate is alot harsher then yours in NZ, this could of been the difference?
Goes to show, you have to try something in your circumstances, whether that is something said to be terrible or raved about... I have tried many of the "raved" about varieties with very poor outcomes!
"Maybe" said the farmer...

Richard Watson

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Re: Salsify
« Reply #5 on: 2018-11-27, 07:47:59 PM »
There's a patch of wild Salsify that grows on the side of the road 5mins drive away, this winter coming i should dig some up and see what they look like below ground.

The offer is there if anyone who would like some of my seed line, i'm picking seed off 10 plants every few day at the moment
Changeable year round climate with warming winters - just under 500mm average yearly rainfall. 20 years of soil improvements plus sub soil top soil reversal means my garden beds are about half metre deep. Below that is 100's of metres of alluvial out wash from the Southern
alps.

reed

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Re: Salsify
« Reply #6 on: 2018-11-28, 02:20:37 AM »
There's a patch of wild Salsify that grows on the side of the road 5mins drive away, this winter coming i should dig some up and see what they look like below ground.

The offer is there if anyone who would like some of my seed line, i'm picking seed off 10 plants every few day at the moment

There is a wild plant here that now that I'v looked up pictures might be a wild strain. It's flowers if I remember right, are on tall stems, three feet or more with sort of daisy looking flower and dries like a big dandelion head. I'v just noticed it along the roads and never stopped to look close. I'v wondered what it is but never though it might be food.

I'd love to have some seeds to grow and see how it tastes and also so I can compare the plants to the wild ones and see for sure if they are same.
« Last Edit: 2018-11-28, 02:22:33 AM by reed »

William S.

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Re: Salsify
« Reply #7 on: 2018-11-28, 08:29:43 AM »
There is a wild plant here that now that I'v looked up pictures might be a wild strain. It's flowers if I remember right, are on tall stems, three feet or more with sort of daisy looking flower and dries like a big dandelion head. I'v just noticed it along the roads and never stopped to look close. I'v wondered what it is but never though it might be food.

I'd love to have some seeds to grow and see how it tastes and also so I can compare the plants to the wild ones and see for sure if they are same.


https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=TRAGO

https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=TRPO

Garden salsify is Tragopogon porrifolius a purple flowered salsify. If you look at the above links you can see how widespread this plant and it's relatives and hybrids are in the United States. For instance fifteen miles from where I currently reside there is a population in a neighborhood where I used to reside that wasn't present twenty to thirty years ago. Its close relative was- the yellow flowered Tragopogon dubious it is a decent wild edible, I like the flower buds. If the timing works out I may collect some seeds of the population I know of as well, from what little I've read I am not sure how domesticated these plants are so a comparison between wild and domesticated strains seems in order. Though it may also be that the wild patches are escaped domestics. I remember seeing one of the hybrid species in Cheney Washington years ago when my sister was living there and I was visiting. It was yellow flowered but much larger than the typical Tragopogon dubious that grows in Montana. It may have been Tragopogon miscillus or T. Mirus though they may be synonyms.
« Last Edit: 2018-11-28, 08:38:59 AM by William S. »
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A

reed

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Re: Salsify
« Reply #8 on: 2018-11-28, 04:06:22 PM »
What grows wild here has yellow flowers. I did a little more research on it and for the nutrition alone is sounds like a great addition to the garden. The wild plants here grow among the common, very thick weeds and grasses in abandoned fields and just past the mowed edges of roads. it isn't extremely common but enough so it will be easy to gather seeds. I'm sure I won't recognize it till I see those flowers, I wonder if it would transplant at that stage. Also wonder if the different species easily cross.

I live on a dead end gravel road, about a mile to the blacktop and I plant stuff in the old fence lines up and down the road. Grapes, horseradish, garlic, anything that might take to that sort of environment, salsify sounds like a great candidate for that. Also want to actually tend to some too and see how it does.

Doro

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Re: Salsify
« Reply #9 on: 2018-11-29, 09:36:06 AM »
I remember trying to grow salsify a long time ago in a heavy clay allotment. The plants grew very healthy looking greens, but the roots were of course remarkably thin and forked. Taste was mild and not woody, but it was too difficult to clean to keep growing it.
Having very light sand soil now, I should try to grow it again. My attempts to grow asparagus failed miserably, salsify root could be a hardy enough replacement.

Richard Watson

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Re: Salsify
« Reply #10 on: 2018-11-29, 10:08:08 AM »
Its the purple flowered variety that i have.
Thankfully ive never had to garden in a heavy clay soil but i would imagine that salsify would fork badly in that type of soil.
Changeable year round climate with warming winters - just under 500mm average yearly rainfall. 20 years of soil improvements plus sub soil top soil reversal means my garden beds are about half metre deep. Below that is 100's of metres of alluvial out wash from the Southern
alps.

reed

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Re: Salsify
« Reply #11 on: 2019-02-28, 01:29:31 PM »
Richard, I'm looking forward to trying out the salsify you sent me. When and how should I plant it? Start for transplant in my cold frame along with broccoli and the like, which I'll be doing real soon. Start later with the tomatoes? Or direct seed around last frost time?
Also I'm wondering if you know, are there big herds of rabbits and deer hanging around waiting for me to plant it, in other words, does it have to go inside the fences or can I plant it in the yard?

Richard Watson

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Re: Salsify
« Reply #12 on: 2019-02-28, 01:49:06 PM »
They are frost hardy and ive always sown direct in the ground, so i reckon you could get them in now, last few weeks of winter I sow parsnips radishes and salsify.
But dont ask me about rabbits and deer, I dont have them bothering me but I would imagine deer would like em
Changeable year round climate with warming winters - just under 500mm average yearly rainfall. 20 years of soil improvements plus sub soil top soil reversal means my garden beds are about half metre deep. Below that is 100's of metres of alluvial out wash from the Southern
alps.

Richard Watson

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Re: Salsify
« Reply #13 on: 2019-02-28, 01:51:17 PM »




This is how the bed is looking this morning, pretty much full grown now.



« Last Edit: 2019-02-28, 09:23:57 PM by Richard Watson »
Changeable year round climate with warming winters - just under 500mm average yearly rainfall. 20 years of soil improvements plus sub soil top soil reversal means my garden beds are about half metre deep. Below that is 100's of metres of alluvial out wash from the Southern
alps.

B. Copping

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Re: Salsify
« Reply #14 on: 2019-02-28, 03:26:44 PM »
Salsify. Yum.
I figure that anything that tastes good canned, will taste even better fresh.
I’m waiting for the ground to thaw enough to get some out of the ground.

Black Salsify (Scorzonera hispanica) ‘Enorma’
I haven’t been able to pull them like carrots.
I can see that the long thin roots are an advantage if you are going to can them.
I prefer to be able to pull root crops by hand.

Wild Salsify (Tragopogon pratensis)
I bought seeds for this by accident last year.
Remembered the genus, but got the species wrong.
I now know that ‘des pres’ is not a varietal name. :)

Purple Salsify (Tragopogon porrifolius)
This year I made sure that I bought the correct species.
‘Fiore Blu’ and “Salsifis”

Yellow Salsify (Reichardia picriodes)
A friend is growing this, but I haven’t heard the results yet.
I’m interested to know if it will survive the winter here.

...

Nice looking plants!