Salsify or Vegetable Oyster
Salsify, also known as vegetable oyster, is a little-known root vegetable. I remember my grandparents growing it in their garden when I was a kid. I’ve raised it several times and I enjoy the flavor, although it does have a tendency to cause some flatulence, so don’t load up on it the day before you go to a formal affair. 🙂
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I ordered Sandwich Island Salsify (#ad) from Mary’s Heirloom Seeds.
I often miss a few of the salsify roots in the garden when I’m harvesting in the fall, and since this plant is a biennial, those overlooked roots produce flowers and seeds the next year. Last fall I neglected to harvest about half a row of these roots. So this year I should have a bounty of seeds for next year.
The bees love these flowers and I’m enjoying their pretty purplish-blue color in the garden. You can read a bit more about salsify and check out a photo of the roots on The Arid Land Homesteaders League post here.
I hadn’t realised that salsify had such impressive flowers!
They really are pretty! Thanks for stopping by, Mark!
Also, I want to plant it now, is that okay? I don’t care if I harvest any roots this year, but would love the flowers!
If you aren’t planning to harvest the roots, you should be able to plant in clay soil. The roots won’t be very nice for harvesting, but they will grow and next year you’ll have the pretty flowers. They do get rather tall, so plant behind something else. Since you have a long growing season, it should be fine to plant this year. The only thing I am unsure of is whether they will complete their biennial life cycle properly in an area that doesn’t have enough chilling hours over the winter.
Let me know if you try this…I’d like to know how it goes!
A gardener sent me purple salsify seeds, so I think I’ll give this a try. I read the other article, so I’m a little unsure where best to plant, since we have hard clay soil about 8-10″ below where I’ve worked, but since it stays for awhile, not sure if a big ceramic pot is the answer either. Thanks!