In Production Today – December 2011

I think I have found an alternative to parsnip for the subtropics.

Yesterday I had fun cooking my first Hamburg parsley roots (Petroselenium crispum var. tuberosum). I haven’t grown this herb/ vegetable since I was fifteen and gardening in London. Hamburg parsley is a cool climate crop that, historically, was displaced in favour of the orange-coloured carrots being bred in Europe.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 I’m pleasantly surprised that it grows so well in the subtropics. Ironically Hamburg parsley is sown in May and harvested from November in London (where it’s now winter) and Brisbane (summer). The big difference is that in Brisbane Hamburg parsley can’t be stored in the ground – its roots rot in hot, damp soil.

Hamburg parsley harvest
Hamburg parsley harvest

I trialled this crop as Brisbane’s autumn and winter are too short and its spring too hot and dry to grow parsnip. In August we filmed Hamburg parsley being planted for ‘Gardening Australia’, so mine have matured in 18 weeks – fairly quickly. One thing I must do better next time: Hamburg parsley roots tend to fork if they aren’t watered well enough, so I must consider deeper daily watering in 2012.


Peeled, grated Hamburg parsley root (pictured) takes just four minutes to cook in boiling salted water. Just cover it with water.

Combined with quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa), ‘Banana’ and ‘Cayenne’ chillies and coconut milk, Hamburg parsley makes a tasty summer soup.

Next time I make it, I’ll add some lime juice, maybe a little sour cream, a touch of grated parmesan, and garnish with Hamburg parsley leaves…


This is what’s ready to eat in my garden this month. Radicchio is far more durable than endive, and while Italian flat-leaved parsley is more productive than triple curled parsley, it is shorter lived. ‘Red Gauntlet’ strawberries continue fruiting – they haven’t stopped since May.

The 300 sq metre food garden is currently producing more than we can eat. Please note that many of these home grown plant products can be highly perishable – huauzontle makes a brilliant spinach, but it wilts within minutes of being picked. Some crops can be damaged by adverse weather (eg mildew on squash). Others may only be available in very small quantities, unless marked with an asterisk *, but they’re all handy things to have in a 24/7 organic food larder…

Edible roots
* Cocoyam, Xanthosoma saggitifolia
Ginger, Zingiber officinale
Galangal, Alpinia galanga
Turmeric, Curcuma domestica
Hamburg parsley, Petroselenium crispum var. tuberosum

Edible shoots
Choko shoot tips, Sechium edule
Warrigal greens, aka N. Zealand spinach, Tetragonia tetragonioides

Edible shoots and leaves
Celery stem taro, aka Tahitian spinach, Alocasia esculenta
Celery, Apium graveolens
Chinese celery, aka smallage, Apium graveolens
Welsh onion, aka spring onion, scallion, Allium fistulosum
Purslane, Portulaca oleracea
Golden purslane, Portulaca oleracea
Scurvy weed, Commelina cyanea

Edible seeds

Edible leaves
Huauzontle, Chenopodium berlandieri
Green amaranth, Amaranthus viridis
Love-lies-bleeding, Amaranthus caudatus
Chinese spinach, Amaranthus cruentus ‘Red Calaloo’
Chinese spinach, Amaranthus tricolor
Chinese spinach, Amaranthus tricolor ‘Flying Colours’
Chinese spinach, Amaranthus ‘Mekong Red’
Parsley, Petroselenium crispum ‘Triple Curled’
Hamburg parsley, Petroselenium crispum var. tuberosum
Native lemongrass, Cymbopogon ambiguus
Native mint, Mentha satureioides
Golden sweetpotato, Ipomoea batatas ‘Marguerite’
Curry leaf, Murraya koenigii
* False cardamom, Alpinia nutans
Moroccan mint, Mentha spicata ‘Nana’
Chives, Allium schoenoprasum
Garlic chives, Allium tuberosum
Society garlic, Tulbaghia violacea ‘Variegata’
Kaffir lime, Citrus hystrix
Radicchio, Cichorium intybus
Queensland arrowroot, Canna edulis
Sweet basil, Ocimum basilicum
Sacred basil, Ocimum tenuiflorum
Cassava, Manihot esculentum
Variegated cassava, Manihot esculentum ‘Variegatum’
Dill, Anethum graveolens
Vietnamese mint, Persicaria odorata
Variegated four seasons herb, Plectranthus amboinicus ‘Variegatus’
Lemongrass, Cymbopogon flexuosus
Lovage, Levisticum officinale
Phillip Island hibiscus, Hibiscus insularis
* Aloe vera
Aptenia cordifolia
Chaplu, Piper sarmentosum
Dwarf rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Benenden Blue’
Fastigiate rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Miss Jessopp’
Shallot, Allium cepa var. aggregatum
Milk thistle, Sonchus oleraceus
Cobblers’ pegs, Bidens pilosa
Scurvy weed, Commelina cyanea

Edible flowers
Society garlic, Tulbaghia violacea ‘Variegata’
Zucchini, Curcubita pepo ‘Goldrush’
Squash, Cucurbita pepo ‘Button’
Chives, Allium schoenoprasum
Aptenia cordifolia
Daylily, Hemerocallis sp.
Banana, Musa x sapientum ‘Ladyfinger’
Banana, Musa x sapientum ‘Goldfinger’
Marigold, Tagetes patula
Scurvy weed, Commelina cyanea

Green banana, Musa x sapientum ‘Goldfinger’
Green banana, Musa x sapientum ‘Ladyfinger’
Garden strawberry, Fragaria x ananassa ‘Red Gauntlet’
Naranjilla, Solanum quitoense
Chilli, Capsicum annuum ‘Cayenne’
Chilli, Capsicum annuum ‘Banana’
Chilli, Capsicum annuum ‘Thai Gold’
Zucchini, Curcubita pepo ‘Goldrush’
Squash, Cucurbita pepo ‘Button’
Davidson’s’ Plum, Davidsonia pruriens

Cinnamon, Cinnamomum verum

Greater celandine, Chelidonium majus
Bulbine frutescens
* Aloe vera

Jerry Coleby-Williams
6th December 2011

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.