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Vegetables A-Z: black salsify

Posted on Posted in Gardening tips, Vegetables A-Z

Scorzonera hispanica


Sow it directly to its regular spot, when the soil temperature reaches at least 15 °C (59 °F). It germinates for a long time and irregularly. Watering with yarrow tea can help. Be careful the soil doesn’t get dry during germination process. Seeds that are older than one year don’t germinate well so buy new each year.

Distance between plants

At least 40 cm (15 in) between rows and at least 5 cm (2 in) between the plants in a row.




Up to 20 plants per person.

Time of planting

May. It germinates in up to three weeks.


Fertilize with home compost.


Except for the germination period it doesn’t need it. It is more important the soil drains well.

Black salsify’s good neighbors

Beans, kohlrabi, lettuce, leek, watermelons.

Black salsify’s bad neighbors


Diseases and pests

It is not demanding to grow. Remove grey mould by spraying with gentle jets of water and horsetail solutions. However, if you have problems with voles in your garden, black salsify is hard to cultivate.

Black salsify’s torage

Pull it from soil with a spading fork carefully not to break it. Store in the fridge up to a week, in a container or sealed plastic bag. Cover with straw in fall to pick in winter. It can survive winter and bear flowers the following year, which have to be picked regularly to prevent root weakening.


Use peeled long and crumbly roots and young leaves for green salads. It is easy to digest. It contains inulin and other glucosides that decrease blood sugar levels.


It is a relative of lettuce, which has to be followed in the rotation plan.


It grows in basic soil as well and is easy to cultivate. Its relatives come with different colored roots, from white to various shades of brown.

  • Suzi Adam

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