As many of you know, I love plants. I was a florist starting in high school and worked in the trade part-time for fifteen years. Then I graduated with my BS in Biology in 2015 and focused my personal research in botany. Finding out I was unable to eat most fruits and veggies, not to mention handle plants or enjoy their fragrance, was devastating.
While renting, I decided to be the champion of green onions in potted containers. Rather than throwing out the bases of the onions after using the greens with my sour cream, I'd plop them into the dirt and have a new plant. They even grew in water in a plain cup on my window sill when I was too lazy to go outside.
Now that I've moved into my own home with pre-built garden beds, I figured it was time to start gardening again! But my usual repertoire of leafy greens needed to be reconsidered.
On this page, I'll share photos and thoughts about what grew well and how I chose what to grow. Also, I'll include the varieties I purchased and of course at the end of three months, I'll share if I had a reaction or not!
Before buying any seeds, look at the list of no/low salicylate foods: https://low-sal-life.com/food-product-lists.
Check out my low-sal-life Instagram for all the photos and my gardening journey.
Borage flowers are edible - they are lovely and blue - and I have no idea what their salicylate content is. They taste like cucumber, so that may be a bad sign! I'm planting them in the garden - because let's face it, it's not all about me everytime! They actually make a good companion plant for vegetables and provide lovely blooms that attract bees! I've also been more interested in perennial gardens and intercropping. The idea is to mix plants up in the garden, rather than planting a whole crop in one bed. This creates a little more confusion for pests to find your veggies, and plants like borage can host other predator bugs to manage those pests. This plant reseeds well and grows easily, beware though, it can get a little bit out-of-hand.
Also called turtle beans.
Part of the challenge of a low-salicylate diet is managing how your plants respond to stress. Plants use salicylates for many reasons, and natural chemical defense is one of them. My bok choy sprouted easily and once I planted them outside, they were obliterated right away by cabbage worms. I have learned that putting a net over your brassicas (cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy) can help keep cabbage moths from landing and laying eggs on your plants. I'm hoping the netting will help! I'll keep you posted!
I purchased Burpee Bok Choy
I just read Malakar's report from 2017 that states Brussels sprouts are higher in salicylates than everyone thought. I already figured that! I can eat about 5 once a week, max. They have a lot of great vitamins so I do try to include them in my diet. I've noticed certain foods give me insomnia/nightmares (I used to have night terrors) and Brussels sprouts salicylate level is high enough to still give me a restless night's sleep. I'll eat them the night before mornings I need to wake up early because I always wake up around 4-5am when I eat them for dinner. Works for me - do what you must. :-) These also freeze well.
I planted the Ferry-Morse seed, variety Catskill.
The seeds I purchased were Golden Acre Cabbage - Serendipity Seeds
Heirloom Organic Tall Utah - Sweet Yards Seed Company
My celery took off really easily and all ten seeds I started germinated and developed well. Once I planted them outside, a cat got nine of them while digging in my planter. I will be replanting, and at least - I have one plant. I did put up a net which will not only keep the cats and critters out, but also keep harmful insects out.
Chayote is a low-salicylate squash that grows in warm areas as a perennial as a climbing vine. I am attempting to grow it this year - in my area we have harsh winters, so I will likely have to plant it every year.
I purchased my sprouted chayote in late March from an Etsy shop https://www.etsy.com/shop/GreenCountryt. It looks like they aren't available anymore, but definitely check again in early spring.
Information coming soon
I've yet to buy any seeds or plants for green onions because I just use the bulb/root left over from the pack I get at the grocery store and sprout them on my window sill. After a few weeks I'll plant them outside. In western Washington, where the weather was fairly mild, they survived in pots next to my house year round, including surviving some frost and snow. Anything more than 2 weeks long I'd be doubtful they'd survive. I think now that I'm in an extreme cold weather area, I might store them in my basement window wells - I think they should be able to survive!
Heirloom Iceberg Lettuce from Serendipity Seeds
Probably not a low-salicylate flower. They do have beautiful red blooms and have a peppery flavor when added to salads. The color and spice should be enough to stay away. However, it does make a good companion plant in gardens attracting aphids, cabbage worms, and whiteflies away from crops - especially cabbages and potatoes.
I'm trying a few of these out. I know onions are a medium salicylate, but it's all about dose for me. I can tolerate a very small amount and the extra flavor is worth it to me. They also store really well for a long time.
Sweet Spanish, by Serendipity Seeds
Burpee Walla Walla
White onion (little starts)
Information coming soon
Organic American Yellow Heirloom Rutabaga
When we bought our house, the former owners used to plant sunflowers in the front. When my husband asked if we'd continue the tradition, I said no (mostly because I didn't want to water flowers for decoration). But then I started thinking - I can eat those! So yes, I'll be planting sunflowers this year.
I can really only handle about 2 Tbsp of shelled sunflower seeds a day. And yes, I did the math, which comes out to 730 Tbsp a year, or 46 cups. One sunflower head produces 1,000-2,000 seeds! Thanks to someone on yahoo, 1/4 cup = 283 seeds, so one cup has 1,132 seeds, which means I need to plant 26-52 plants for a year's worth of seeds (if I didn't share, of course).
Of course, I have a short growing season and lots of birds, so we'll have to see how this first year goes!
I purchased Confectionary Sunflower Seeds.
Info coming soon
State White Runner Beans