John Evelyn, a 17th century gardener and author, wrote that sorrel imparts "so grateful a quickness to the salad that it should never be left out". Popular in France and England for centuries, this wonderful green is underused in the U.S., and unjustifiably so; its spring leaves can be used as salad greens, as a complement to fish, or mixed in with spinach or chard. Very high in vitamin C. Sorrel stays green even after frost, so you will have many months of harvests!
• Botanical Name: Rumex acetosa
• Days to Maturity: 60 days
• Family: Polygonaceae
• Native: Morocco, Europe, Asia, and Australia
• Hardiness: Hardy perennial in USDA zones 3–7
• Plant Dimensions: 18"–24" tall and wide
• Variety Information: Green, crinkled, arrow-shaped leaves with lemony spinach flavor
• Attributes: Good for Containers
• When to Sow Outside: RECOMMENDED. 1 to 2 weeks before your average last frost date, when soil temperature is at least 50°F, or sow in late fall for early spring germination.
• When to Start Inside: 4 to 6 weeks before your average last frost date. Ideal soil temperature for germination is 68°–86°F.
• Days to Emerge: 5–10 days
• Seed Depth: ⅛"
• Seed Spacing: A group of 3 seeds every 8"
• Row Spacing: 24"
• Thinning: When 2" tall, thin to 1 every 8"
• Harvesting: Pinch or cut off the young, outer leaves. Pick regularly to encourage new, tender growth, even if you don't need the leaves; sorrel can be frozen for later use. A few of the interior, small leaves can be harvested occasionally without harm to the plant.