Marshal samphire has been elevated in recent years to a culinary delicacy now grown commercially all over the world to meet popular demand by chefs and up market restaurants and supermarkets.
Because of their unusual requirements, marsh samphire can be an interesting plant to grow, and is available from suppliers in the UK as young plants or as seed. To grow them successfully from seed at home, a few guidelines outlined here may help.
How to grow
In March, sow the seeds onto tissue paper in a petri dish or other lidded container, which has been moistened with fresh water rather then the saline water the adult plants need.
To initiale germination, the seed needs a cold, dark period at 5 degrees C. This is called cold satisfaction and it's achieved by placing the seeds after sowing in a fridge for 30 days or so.
After this, bring the container into bright light and a daytime temperature of 25 degrees C and 15 degrees C at night.
Once the tiny plants have appeared, water with half a teaspoon full of sea salt dissolved in a pint of rainwater. (FYI table salt is toxic)
When the roots have developed, transfer the seedlings 2-3cm apart into a seed tray containing a sharply draining compost such as fifty percent sharp sand. Use a small paintbrush to lift the tiny seedlings off the tissue to avoid damaging them.
Water the seedlings from below with the weak salt solution as before, adding half-strength high potassium fertiliser to the water twice a month and grow in full sun.
Plants can finally be potted up individually when large enough to handle, using the same sharply draining compost and watering using one teaspoon of sea salt to one pint of water. Food with high potassium fertilizer as before.