Sorrel: sowing cultivation maintenance and harvesting

Common sorrel (Rumex sorrel), of the family of Polygonaceaeis a perennial plant grown as condiment plant for his edible leaves which are eaten raw or cooked. Their very tangy flavor is due to the presence of ascorbic acid. From a nutritional point of view, Sorrel is very interesting. Low in calories, it is rich in water and fiber, but also rich in trace elements, minerals, beta-carotene, vitamin C and provitamin A. To meet the needs of a family, two feet are sufficient . Any gardener should therefore be able to find a little corner for it in their vegetable garden, especially since growing Sorrel is easy, this plant being undemanding in care. Let’s do a check in.

Sow Sorrel

We can sow Sorrel from late winter through spring, depending on the climate. In regions where winter cold persists, sowing takes place under cover, whereas elsewhere, direct sowing is done. The method to follow is as follows.

  • Draw lines separated from each other by about 40 cm,
  • Make a hole every 25 cm,
  • Sow in pockets, i.e. place 3 or 4 seeds in each hole,
  • Cover the seeds with a thin layer of loose soil,
  • Water moderately in very fine rain.

Thereafter, it is very important to water regularly, always in rain, but moderately so that the soil remains slightly moist. L’thinning must be done as soon as you wake up. Only the most vigorous seedlings are kept.

Note that it is not necessary to sow a lot of Sorrel seeds because this plant grows fast and has the ability to multiply spontaneously. Each foot grows back in the same place year after year, so it is possible to be satisfied with two or three plants, which is more than enough to decorate the recipes intended for family and friends. The goal is not to let yourself be invaded!

If you want to skip the sowing stage, you can buy common sorrel seedlings in pots in any garden center. In this case, planting can be done in autumn or spring.

Growing common sorrel

Common sorrel, also known as greater sorrel, Vinette or meadow sorrel, has a preference for very fertile, fresh, loose and light soils. It is preferably installed in partial shade so that it can benefit from a certain coolness in summer. very tolerant, it grows well in the sun too, but this type of exposure makes its leaves bitter. It is possible to growing sorrel in a pot in order to place it on the terrace or the balcony, in a soil rich in humus.

Maintain Sorrel

Once planted, Sorrel grows without the need to devote all of one’s free time to it. Easy going, she just needs a few little touches.


The earth must be able to remain fraîche. For Sorrel grown in the ground, it is mainly in the event of long-lasting drought and of course when the summer temperatures are high that it is crucial to water this plant.

Potted sorrel must benefit fromregular watering because the substrate does not stay wet for long. As soon as it is dry on the surface, the watering can should be taken out. Placing the pots in the shade allows the soil to dry out less quickly in summer, but this does not dispense with frequent watering.


And hoeing monitoring must be carried out all around the sorrel plants so that weeds have no chance of developing.


A contribution of manure or of mature compost is to be carried out during the winter to support the vegetation the following year.


Sorrel grown in pots or trays must be repotted every yearat the very beginning of spring, in order to replace the old soil with new, more fertile soil capable of meeting the needs of the plant.

Remove flower stalks

It is not recommended to let the Sorrel bloom and above all we take care of don’t let it go to seed. This is essential to reduce the risk of being invaded by them, but above all it allows the plant to keep all its energy to produce leaves since it is for the purpose of consuming them that it is cultivated.

Pests and diseases

Outside of slugs and snails fond of tender sorrel leaves and aphids likely to invade this vegetable garden plant, no parasitic attack is really to be feared.

Some precautions are therefore taken to prevent gastropods from progressing in this growing area. A little sand on the ground or very dry ashes are solutions that work well against the invasion of molluscs, as do Ferramol baits, but be careful, these represent a potential danger for humans and animals. It is therefore better to abstain when it comes to fighting against gastropods to save the edible products of the vegetable garden. Even simpler and without any danger, the manual collection of slugs and snails is very effective, but this means regularly devoting time to it, especially after a good shower.

If the Sorrel is colonized by aphids, the plant can be sprayed with a homemade preparation such as a garlic decoction. Black soap diluted in water also works well like fern manure or even peppermint. But since prevention is better than cure, we can avoid infestation by planting plants around the periphery of the vegetable garden that attract ladybugs, the tawny telephore or hoverflies, perfect aphid predators. We also install plants that keep them away. Among these natural repellents, thyme, mint, dill, basil and chives have proven their worth.

In contrast, common sorrel displays a great disease resistancewhich is much appreciated.

Harvest Sorrel from the garden

In the first year of cultivation, the harvest of Sorrel leaves should only begin a good dozen weeks after sowing because the plant must be given time to develop. Subsequently, we perform the pick up as neededbut always taking the leaves that measure at least ten centimeters in length. They must be consumed quickly, at the most within three days provided that they have been kept in the vegetable drawer of the fridge. Long-term conservation of Sorrel leaves is however possible if one opts for their freezing.

Delicious in a cream sauce to accompany salmon, sorrel can also be eaten as a velouté and can be used in omelettes. It goes perfectly with veal, fish in general, poultry. It flavors tabbouleh, raw vegetable salads, pies and quiches… As its taste is very pronounced, it is always used with parsimony. There are a thousand and one recipes for putting it on the menu, but we take absolutely care of do not cook it in aluminum or even cast iron utensils because these metals lead to its blackening. It is also advisable to do not steam the sorrelthis method of cooking making it very bitter.

Excellent for health, let us know, however, that Sorrel is contraindicated in many cases because it is rich in oxalates. We avoid offering it to people prone to urinary stones, to those who suffer from gout, that is to sayuratic or gouty arthropathy, to rheumatics, as well as to those who are prone to iron and calcium deficiencies.

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