|Skirret: normal plants on left, offset grown plants on right|
|One year old skirret plants - each skirret plant produces several offsets|
Skirret seeds are very tiny and germination is normally very simple. I am told that skirret seed remains viable for anywhere from 3 to 10+ years. While I normally get great germination I am told that germination rates can fall below 75% even with fresh seed. To cover against this I only sell the freshest seed I have and I put extra seed in the packets so you will easily be able to grow 20 or more plants. I have read that temperatures of 10 C to 22 C are best for germination but have never paid much attention to this.
I plant skirret seed either in pots of soil or in an empty garden bed with no weeds. I normally scatter the seed over the soil surface and water well. I don’t cover the seed as it is so tiny and the seedling may not be able to grow to the surface. I am also not sure if skirret needs light to improve germination. From here I never let it dry out and in a week or two I normally see seedlings start to pop up. If it rains the seedlings seem to germinate and grow faster, but that may be my imagination.
|Skirret offsets, they aren't big|
Once the skirret seedlings have a few true leaves and are large enough to handle you can transplant them where they are to grow. Even if seeds were sown in the garden they will still likely need transplanting as watering tends to move seeds and clump them together rather than leave them to grow nicely spaced. You don’t have to transplant them if you don’t want to as they will survive and still produce a crop.
|One dormant skirret offset, it doesn't have roots yet|
Skirret thrives in cool climates and loves water but it is a survivor that is remarkably adaptable. I grew it in a hot arid climate where it could not survive in the garden by keeping it in a pot of soil in a bucket that I would fill with water each morning and afternoon. Each year the skirret plants get larger, both taller and wider. Each year the skirret plants produce more offsets, more seed, and fatter roots.
|Skirret roots from two year old plants|
When the skirret dies down it is time to harvest roots. I have only grown skirret in frosty areas so don’t know if it dies down in areas of warm winters. Skirret roots do not store well once dug so I dig them up as needed. Any small ones that I leave behind or any that I miss will just be larger and fatter next year.