IN PRAISE OF PERENNIAL VEG (Part 1 of a series)

Volunteer Marjie is writing us a series of blogs on some of the perennial veg we are growing in the garden Part two here

Why perennial vegetable growing? Well as the name suggests, they’ll come back year after year, there’s no need to sow, prick out and transplant annually, and generally require less in the way of maintenance i.e. watering and feeding…

So in the first of a series, let me introduce:

Skirret (Sium sisarum)

skirret flowers, about to open

This starchy staple was around well before the potato arrived on our shores and you’ll find these growing in the garden already. They are a delicious root vegetable, tasting somewhere between a carrot and a parsnip. Sweet, but definitely savoury. The roots are long and knobbly, and need a good scrub before cooking. The tops can be eaten too.

Best planted in moist, free draining and fertilised soil. Keep well watered. Take the flower heads off to promote stronger root growth unless you plan to save seed. Keep skirret in the ground until you need it. After harvesting the largest roots in the clump the plant can be divided and replanted.

One drawback to the skirret is that the roots can be woody. This is sometimes due to irregular watering, or occurs in younger plants. Waiting another year for the plant to mature might be the answer.

Click this link for more information, and some recipes!

Text by Marjie Spence, photo by Facilitator Helena Simmons

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