Work 30-40 cm of soil and ensure it’s rich organic matter. The looser the soil the easier it is to dig your salsify. We use the same soil recipe as carrots, 1/4 sand, 1/4 soil, 1/4 earthworm compost, and 1/4 well-composted manure. Blood and bone meal are added, along with seaweed fertilizer. Every year add 10-15 cm of compost to your bed.
Start by sowing seeds in spring as soon as the soil has warmed up. Sow seeds about 1.5cm deep in rows 30cm apart. Seedlings can take up to three weeks to appear. Once they have germinated, thin the seedlings out to leave 15cm between the young plants. Keep weeded.
Roots will be ready to lift from between September-November. You can leave them in the ground throughout winter where, just like parsnips, the flavor of the roots will improve with each frost. If you cover them with a fair bit of straw and row cover, you’ll allow yourself to harvest them during the winter months. If your winters are the kind where the ground freezes solid, lift what you need beforehand and store in boxes of damp sand to access them as required.
Harvest: This is where the exceptionally loose soil comes in handy. Since we take the time to make the beds for our root vegetables very lose our root vegetables can be harvested by hand. If your soil is a bit more compacted you can use a fork and work it back and forth to loosen the soil, then dig our the roots by hand. Since they are a long thin vegetable they do break easily which is why the loose soil comes in handy.
Use gloves so the latex in the skin doesn’t get too sticky. Peel the skin off the roots and boil for 10-20 minutes. Salsify is great in soups and stews.