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Garden Sorrel 250+ seeds edible vegetable garden salad green (Rumex acetosa).
Garden Sorrel is a perennial growing to 60cm with large succulent green leaves growing up to 20cm in length. The leaves have a zesty lemon flavour that is slightly sour; most commonly used as a salad green but also cooked like spinach or in soups, sauces and stews.
Garden Sorrel is a leafy green vegetable grown for its pleasantly tart, lemony flavour. It sometimes gets classified as an herb and sometimes as a vegetable. Either way, gardeners don't grow enough of it. Sorrel plants prefer the cool seasons of spring and autumn, quickly bolting to seed as the weather heats up. The two most commonly grown species are garden sorrel (Rumex acestosa) and French sorrel (Rumex scutatus).
Garden Sorrel plants have smooth, arrow-shaped leaves that grow from a center rosette. The plant will send up a tall flower stalk as the temperature warms, but it's best to remove this to promote leaf growth for a better harvest. The red flowers are rather insignificant whorled spikes, like rhubarb.
Garden Sorrel only gets about 30 to 45cm tall, although the flower stalks (if left on the plant) will get taller. It does spread out though, easily taking up 60cm in width. Sorrel is typically planted in spring and has a moderate growth rate; young leaves are ready to harvest in a little over a month.
Unless you want to save seed, cut off the flower stalks to the ground and remove any declining leaves. The plant should re-sprout with more tender leaves. Garden Sorrel will self-seed if you leave the seed heads on the plants. To keep your plants healthy and vigorous divide them in spring or early summer every 3 three to four years.
Garden Sorrel is not often bothered by pests, but aphids may settle in. Blast them off with water and thin the plants, to make them less attractive as hiding spots. You should not have any disease problems with your sorrel.
Plants will grow best in full sun, although a little partial shade will keep them going longer into summer.
Choose a spot with good drainage. Sorrel likes a slightly acidic soil pH; somewhere in the range of 5.5 to 6.8. Since sorrel is grown for its leaves, a soil rich in organic matter will give you lots of leafy, green growth.
Give your sorrel plants regular water; at least 25mm per week. Mulching will help conserve moisture and keep the leaves clean.
Garden Sorrel is happiest when started in a rich soil, but you should amend the soil each year with more organic matter and possibly side-dress with compost or granular fertilizer applied mid-season.
Is Sorrel Toxic?
While Garden Sorrel leaves are safe for humans to eat, the plant contains soluble oxalates that are toxic to dogs, cats, and horses. Ingestion of small amounts of sorrel typically causes gastrointestinal upset, but eating large amounts and/or frequent ingestion can cause twitching (muscle fasciculation), weakness, seizures, and arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats).
Newly seeded plants take 35 to 40 days to reach "baby" size and two months to fully mature. Garden Sorrel is ready to harvest when the leaves are about 10cm inches long. Tender leaves are best for eating, and if you harvest as cut-and-come-again, you will have a steady supply of young, tender leaves.
You can use sorrel fresh, in salads or on sandwiches, and you can also cook with it. The leaves tend to dissolve with long cooking, imparting their lemony flavour.
Fresh Garden Sorrel does not store well. It will keep in the refrigerator for a week or so, but the flavour and texture will decline. You can freeze or dry the leaves, as you would for any other herb, but the flavour will not match that of fresh leaves.
How to Grow Garden Sorrel in Pots
Garden Sorrel is an excellent choice for container growing. You should use at least a 6-inch pot, but 8 to 12 inches is ideal. One advantage of growing in pots is that you often keep the sorrel growing longer than plants in the ground because you can move the containers out of the sun on warm days.