a sample winter harvest


A winter harvest of kale, parsnips and salsify, cleaned and ready to cook.

Planting and planning last summer has left me with a fair amount of produce to harvest in January. When there’s fantastic summer produce options to ponder (e.g. tomatoes and cucumbers), I find it weird to be thinking what I could plant to be ready mid-winter, however, come January, when I look out into the garden I’m glad I did.

The photo shows what I harvested on the weekend – lots of kale, parsnips and salsify. Salsify, or oyster root, looks like dark, hairy sticks. I’ve grown them the last three years, and this is the first year I had a crop worth harvesting. They were a pain to dig up as the roots are really long and thin. Even when I put the shovel aside and dug with my hands, I think I broke each and every one – and digging with my hands this time of year is unpleasant. Scrubbing black dirt off the black roots was almost as bad as digging them up – then I had to peel the thin roots. By the time they were ready to cook, I hated salsify for the work it created.

Since it was our first taste test, I simple cut them up and roasted them with a bit of oil. They don’t taste like oysters, or have a strong flavour at all. They do, however, have a really interesting texture that was quite pleasant. I didn’t mind eating them and my significant other was keen that I grow them again. I’m willing if there is a way to grow grow salsify that reduces the labour in harvesting them. Any ideas? Sandy soil in a bucket perhaps?


0 thoughts on “a sample winter harvest

  1. Roots are generally ready to dig once they reach about 12 inches in length. So after around 4 months, dig up a couple and see if they are ready to go. If your soil is loose, you may be able to pull them up by their leafy tops. With more compact soil, this may end up breaking your salsify. In that case, use a shovel or garden fork to gently dig them up. from: http://www.gardeningblog.net/how-to-grow/salsify/

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