Add red veined sorrel to your planting list. In fact, don’t wait and plant it now.
The Best Kitchen Garden Edibles
The best kitchen garden edibles are also the best ingredients. That’s why you take the time to grow a food garden in the first place, right? If you’re not eating from your garden and loving what grow then it’s time to re-evaluate.
This is one of the reasons why I wrote Grow What You Love. Central to the book is a curated group of plants that are both the gardener’s and chef’s choice. They’re plants that are easy to grow, provide an abundance of flavor, and they’re also the ingredients found most frequently in everyday recipes.
Grow What You Love is a perfect go-to resource for anyone hoping to fine-tune an existing garden or begin a garden from scratch. Dive into the pages of the book and discover joy in the simple act of growing and transform everyday meals by growing a handful of ingredients that matter most. Such as…
Red Veined Sorrel
If I had an opportunity to add a plant to the book, it would be red veined sorrel which is also often called ‘Raspberry Dressing’ sorrel. It’s gorgeous, hardy, and thrives no matter where I plant it. In fact, I can practically ignore it and still it produces beautiful leaves that are wonderful in anything calling for a leafy green or a tangy herb.
French sorrel and common garden sorrel are cousins of red veined sorrel and grown much the same way. They’re equally as versatile, but are slightly more tangy than red veined sorrel and are bright green from tip to tail.
What’s wonderful is, these plants respond to harvesting. The more you pick the more they grow. One or two plants easily provides plenty of greens to supplement salads and other dishes for a family of 4.
They can also be grown as baby greens because they’re easy to grow from seed.
Grow Sorrel As A Cut-And-Come-Again Crop
Approach sorrel as a cut-and-come-again crop and grow it as a baby green. Here’s how.
- Prepare your planting area. I start out by giving the soil a boost and amend with worm castings and a modest layer of compost.
- Sow seeds 1 to 2 weeks before your last average spring frost or when soil temperatures are about 50F. Seeds can also be sown in late fall before your first fall frost for spring harvesting. To scatter sow, sprinkle seeds throughout your planting area, or take a little more care and place seeds 1 to 3 inches apart.
- Gently press seeds into the soil, ensuring seeds make good contact.
- Cover seeds with a 1/8 to 1/4 inch layer of soil, water, and watch them grow. Sprouts emerge in about 5 to 10 days.
- Trim outer leaves as they emerge, harvesting as needed, or treat them as an annual and wait until plants are 2 to 3 inches tall and cut them to the ground.
- At some point, plants will crave maturity very much like a teenager itching for a driver’s license. This is when you can move smaller plants around your garden where they’ll have more room to develop. Share extra plants with friends.
Read Succession Planting Tips: Get More From Your Plot for tips on how to grow sorrel for continual harvesting.
Grow Individual Sorrel Plants
Repeat steps 1 – 5 above, but instead of scatter sowing plant 3 seeds every 8 to 12 inches apart and be prepared to thin the smaller sprouts within each bunch. (But don’t toss thinned sprouts into the compost bin, instead, add them to your salad.)
As plants mature over the course of a year or two, they can become quite large, averaging 24” x 24” in size. It’s okay to move plants around if they begin to crowd each other. Just dig deeply around the root zone in order to capture the entire root system and then water plants with an added dose of liquid seaweed.
This is a plant that will have you visiting your garden each and every day for fresh greens to add to eggs, sandwiches, salads, summer rolls, soups, roasted veggies… honestly, the skies the limit with this one. Keep picking and eating and experimenting and you’ll discover the best kind of joy.
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