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Anyone Growing Solomon's Seal?

 
E. Elkins
Posts: 22
Location: North Carolina, USA (Zone 7B)
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I'll be placing an order with Oikos Tree Crops in the near future, and I'm inclined to pick up one or more Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum biflorum) plants and give them a try. These are the smaller 2' to 3' variety, not the giant Solomon's Seal that Eric Toensmeier writes about in Perennial Vegetables. While they're often recommended as a shade-tolerant edible for forest gardens, I haven't seen a lot of information about expected yields, length of harvest season, etc. other than that they're generally considered to be a spring crop like asparagus. Does anyone have practical experience growing Solomon's Seal?
 
Charles Kelm
Posts: 170
Location: Western Washington (Zone 7B - temperate maritime)
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I would like this info too. I bought a plant last summer, planted it in the shade, and it really looks dead. I hope it comes to life in the spring.
 
Norris Thomlinson
Posts: 9
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I have the 2-3' tall solomon's seal. From my latest blog post:

"So far our asparagus is a very poorly yielding crop in terms of calories per space it takes up--only 280 calories from maybe 10 plants using maybe 30 square feet? Our solomon's seal gave 2/3 the calories from a similar area but growing in heavy shade on the north wall of our house, under timber bamboo, with lungwort, lovage, and wood sorrel in there as well. And we didn't even harvest as much of the solomon's seal as we could have."

Tastes as good as asparagus to me. Highly recommended.

It's normal for it to die down in the winter; not sure if there are other signs of death concerning you, Charles.

Norris
Portland, OR
http://farmerscrub.blogspot.com
 
E. Elkins
Posts: 22
Location: North Carolina, USA (Zone 7B)
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Thanks, Norris -- that's encouraging. How densely did you plant the solomon's seal at the outset? I know that they spread, but I'm not sure how quickly.
 
Norris Thomlinson
Posts: 9
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I think I planted a single 1 gallon pot, maybe divided into two divisions, which have filled out the area I described in about 4 years. I'd describe it as spreading pretty quickly.

Norris
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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I grow solomon's seal in a shady area under a Northern spy Standard self seeded apple tree. They grow well, but they do not tend to multiply, and I wouldn't eat them, cause then I wouldn't have them..

If you are in an area where they will multiply then you might be able to eat them..I do like them and having them around..but I planted the first one about 10 years ago and maybe have 3 or 4 or so now..that is all..(of course the deer bear and rabbits could be removing any multipliers??)
 
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