This blog post is on growing and harvesting agretti salsola. Agretti salsola may seem a very strange term to many of you not unless you are Italian. I got to know about this vegetable commonly known as land seaweed or monks beard I believe from a gardening book by James Wong. I like reading his books because he grows unusual edibles and I like to try different types as much as I can. It’s also called a monks beard.
It’s basically cooked as a side dish or added to seafood to make spaghetti vongole. or just simply cook with some olive oil and chopped garlic. This is typical of Italian cooking just using a few simple ingredients.
Growing and harvesting agretti salsola
To grow this vegetable it is fairly easy. Just grow it from seeds as in the UK I find that it is not sold in the supermarket, farmers market or speciality shops. The seeds can be found easily online places like eBay. It is quite easy to sow from seed. Sow it from early April to late August. Earlier if it sow and grow undercover like indoors or greenhouse. The seedlings germinate easily after days. They are slow to get growing but once they are exposed in good growing conditions they grow fairly rapidly.
Good growing conditions are a sunny spot and well-drained manure soil. They do need regular watering as well.
Harvest them when they are young as once matured the stems are tough to chew on. it is best to cook from freshly harvested stems. Possibly one of the reasons it is not easily available in supermarkets as the shelf life is relatively short. However it is an easy to grow vegetable.