Samphire SALT OF THE EARTH

Kitchen GardenMarch 2020

Samphire SALT OF THE EARTH
Though hard to come by commercially, samphire is a crop that you can grow yourself. KG reader Tom Hall-Martell explains
Tom Hall-Martell

Samphire (Salicornia europaea) is one of the on-trend vegetables these days, being featured on fine dining menus and heralded by chefs on TV’s Masterchef and the Great British Menu.

Growing wild on salt water estuaries, it is only available for a few weeks of the year, harvesting is by foraging and its collection highly regulated. Commercial production appears to be from Israel or foraged in the UK and supply is unreliable. It sells for £15-£35 per kilo.

Due to my love of cooking and growing and the regular unavailability, along with the wish to reduce air miles and carbon footprint, I decided it must be possible to grow. Here I share my experiences of growing samphire over the past three years in a 6x3ft cold greenhouse in inland Somerset.

GROWING FROM SEED

Seeds are available from a number of seed companies. I tried for two years to germinate with no or limited success. What I did learn was that to germinate successfully the compost needs to be treated beforehand for at least one month with the watering mix used all year round.

This is per 5 litres of tap water or water butt water:

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March 2020