We’re growing samphire. This salt water loving veg (it grows in estuaries and along shorelines) has gone from zero to hero in the past year and demand is expected to outstrip supply next year, with a whopping 500,000 servings predicted to be sold. So, I’m not taking my chances, I’m going to grow it.
I’d never heard of samphire until this year and now I can’t escape it, which is fine because it’s absolute delicious with a distinctive crisp and salty taste. I’ve seen it at just about every food fair and farmers market and it keeps popping up at restaurants.
DT Brown have started selling the seeds, so the decision has been made and I’ll be planting it into a Chilligrow as well as standard pots, to see whether the Chilligrow plants outperform the standard pots. We think it should because the plant must not be left to dry out and the Chilligrow provides plants with constant access to water. We’ll let you know how we get on.
Samphire is fascinating, it has adapted to thrive in tidal creeks and estuaries, water accumulates inside its stems, handy considering it gets soaked with saltwater for several hours twice a day, and its leaves are like small scales which reduces the amount of water it loses.
How to grow samphire
The seeds germinate well in moist compost, they are best started indoors in spring. I can’t wait so I’ve ordered some samphire plants from Victorian Nursery http://www.victoriananursery.co.uk/vegetable_plants/samphire_plant/n
Samphire grows to about 30cms tall and it best grown in pots, prefers dampish compost and should never be allowed to dry out. This is why we think the Chilligrow will be handy.
Samphire needs to be watered with salt water. Add 1 teaspoon on proper sea salt (containing no anti-caking agents or iodine) to every pint of water every time you water.
The best news about growing samphire is that it is a cut-and-come again crop. It’s quite slow growing though and should be left a month or so between each ‘harvest’, so I’m going to grow one Samphire plant in each of my 3 Chilligrow pots.
When buying seeds don’t buy Rock Samphire by mistake, this is a completely different plant, which tastes very different.
Here are a few links to some delicious recipes http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2007/jun/30/features.weekend