A half hardy annual grown for its succulent, leafy shoots. Considered a weed in the UK, purslane is popular in many ethnic cuisines.
A half hardy annual grown for its succulent, leafy shoots. All parts of the plants are edible; the young, tender tips can be used raw in salads, while longer, more mature shoots can be cooked and eaten like spinach.
Originating in Asia, purslane is popular in many cuisines including Lebanese, Mexican and Bangladeshi. A wild version, which is also edible, can be found throughout Europe.
Purslane is a warmth loving plant and can be grown undercover, but unless you need an early crop, growing the plants outdoors is perfectly fine. The first sowing should be made in May or June when the weather has warmed up. Last sowings for outdoor crops should be made in July.
We have developed a system for making 3 or 4 harvests from a single sowing. The trick is to leave behind enough stems to regrow after each harvest.
- Sow 3 or 4 seeds about 3 or 4mm deep in each cell of a modular tray filled with compost. Wait until 3 or 4 days after they emerge, then thin out the seedlings to leave one per cell.
- When their roots have filled the cells, transplant the seedlings to the garden, leaving 15cm between them each way.
- As soon as the main stem grows 15 to 20cm tall, harvest the top part, leaving behind a stump with 2 pairs of leaves.
- Once the main stem is harvested, branches at the bases of the leaves will begin to elongate. Harvest these when they are 10 to 15cm long, though this time, leave a stump with just a single pair of leaves.
- Repeat 2 or 3 times.
Alternatively, you can check out Joy Larkcom’s instructions for growing Purslane in her book, The Salad Garden.