Perennials to add to my zone 8b SE (muggy, hot, not too dry) garden from Eric Toensmeier’s Perennial Vegetables
A-C (by family!)
Arrowhead Sagittaria water plant, cooked like potatos, nutty earthy flavor
Onions- A. cepa aggregatum; potato or multiplier onions, A. ampeloprasum; Perrenial Leek, A. fistulosum; Welsh onion or scallion, A. cepa proliferum; walking/topset/Egyptian onion, A. tuberosum; garlic chives already have, A. ursinum, Ramson (eurpean ramps).
Water celery Oenanthe javanica grows in water, strong flavored, beware related poisonous species.
Taro Colocasia esculenta and Xanthosoma spp. roots shoots and leaves likes it wet. Roots like potatos but boil out calcium oxalate.
I have Edible hibiscus Abelmoschus manihot in my woodedge area. Hairy leaves a bit scratchy on the tongue to eat, very tart and tasty (but following Army survival advice only swallowed a small amount, especially after the second bite was burning tasting with the stiff hairs- will try a whole leaf tomorrow). Not mucilaginous (slimy) as Toensmeier warns of them when cooked, quite nice actually.
Since my goal is to not buy lettuce or feel like I ought to out of lettuce season (all summer here), eating a few leaves of this and of Malabar spinach and French sorrel (if I haven't already killed off my new plant of it) will be adequate for me and my kids.
Brenda- bloom where we're planted! The book lists so many things that are tropical- maybe 15% or more with only the tip of FL, and HI, for them. The book is not quite a US book, more an Americas book.
Yeah, the zone 4 perennials are pretty limited and include a lot of dig up and replant like potatos which are not definite.
We get a few nights of frost, less than 30 most winters. And only a few days in a row. I only started gardening when I lived in the south (and in Southern England- also zone 8 for coldness!) but everything I try to do here is so different from what my grandparents and parents did in zones 4 and 5.
Brenda I don't think so when I can't grow cherries or hazelnuts.... I sure wish the bigger nurseries like Starks would list the chill hours for their fruit and nut trees. Guess they never have to worry about the topic.
And then I grumble because I can never get bananas to ripen when I've had a hand develop on my tree. We always want what we can't have.
Don't wait for them to ripen. Go ahead and take them off when they are at their full size and still green. Peel, slice and fry or roast whole with the peel. You can also boil them. Boiling is better without the peel but you don't have to slice them up. Delicious! They are not weet and are more like a potato flavor. They eat bananas like this in the Spanish speaking Caribbean all the time, and in some parts of West Africa which is where the Spanish speaking Caribbean gets it from. Enjoy.
what zone are you in? I am in cold zone 8 heat zone 8-9 http://www.ahs.org/pdfs/05_heat_map.pdf (about 120 days/year over 85F) and the bananas freeze to the ground every winter but I have a kind that's supposed to fruit in less than a year, and my first year with this one it fruited because I had bought it in Nov and overwintered it in the house before planting it outside. It also fruited last year but not this summer so far- colder and rainier than usual.
A friend says hers fruited the year they poured all their rabbit manure on it. I don't have enough manure but put as much compost on it as I can spare, and was tempted to fertilize it with my dog manure (hey the fruit's pretty far from the ground...) but the banana plant is near my swimming pool so I think it'd smell bad for us when we swim.
Anyway thanks for the tip- we'll have green banana I guess like plantain next time we get the chance.
Also I now have another type of banana which makes- a few miles south of me but maybe several degrees warmer- small very seedy sweet bananas. Not sure of their utility though- the ones I picked (and actually some of my plants grew from seeds) were only useful to suck some sweetness off the seeds before spitting out the seeds, as if they are just seeds with a bit of syrup on them. Might cook them for their sweetness.
Cold zone 8a, Heat zone 8 or 9. I'll have to buy some compost to throw on there. I use bokashi inoculated kicthen waste but only used it once on the bananas. I use the compost tea from it all the time. I don't have too much access to manure. I think my bananas also get partial sun. By the way I didn't know some bananas had seed? I though they just suckered out from the bottom and you grab the pups and replant them. That's how I got mine. Yeah ours almost freeze down to the grown. THey actually die off and then you cut them down to where they are still green inside in the spring after the frost. They take a while to bounce back, and I've seen some bananas around here (not edible ones however) that don't need to be cut back at all, they just pop right back out when it gets warm enough. I might need a different type of banana tree to get a consistent crop hunh? Thanks a lot.
I have a neighbor who had bananas on her bananas trees (I think it was October or Nov). She says it is not consistent however and it just depends on how hard the winter was and maybe some other factors that we have not figured out yet. I am in Augusta, GA. I got some of those trees from her but have not seen bananas yet. I've seen some other banans around here develop a bunch (although the bananas were very small) and then it got cold and they froze off. I met another woman across the river (augusta is right along the savannah river) in South Carolina. She was selling brazilian banana trees at the farmers market. She says she's gotten a crop from them for the past 3 years or so. So I don't know what the deal is really. I just grow, tend to the soil and hope. By the way if you get some good sized green bananas on your tree don't despair and don't wait for them to ripen. Fry them or roast them up green. Don't peel if you roast and peel if you fry. They are delicious! What type of banana tree do I have. To be honest I don't know. They resemble the Manzano kind and my wife says that in the Spanish speaking Caribbean they call them 'Rulos'. I talked to a guy at the Savannah Bamboo Farm and he says that there is on that will consistenty bear fruits down here (8a-8b, maybe 9a further down on the extreme edges of the coast). He said it was called Viento Cojo. I haven't done any more reseach on finding it however. I know Spanish but I don't know if it has some weird archaic spelling where Cojo might be Coho. I hope I've helped.
Jenn what you said about nurseries not listing chilling hours..makes a lot of sense..
i guess there are a lot of things that would be better listed in those catalogs..then just the outrageous descriptions..we need INFO not necessarily just outrageous claims.
maybe one day people will realize it is better to be honest with their claims and descriptions and helpful with their clients..and tell us what we really need to know..rather than selling us things and us having to put up with the fact that we were led to believe they would grow here..and won't.
Bloom where you are planted.
Brenda I figure up in Stark Bros and many otehr tree nurseries' territory THEY don't need to know the chill hours since they get enough for almost all fruits. However for customer service they should look up and print the best known info- I know they can not themselves up there do tests for it.
Just saw your post when looking for more info on perennial vegetables for my zone 8b here in Texas. Have had great success with malabar spinach. Just started growing New Zealand spinach.
Want to experiment with many more perennial vegetables.
Have you heard of hog peanut? It's a nitrogen fixer and has tubers like peanuts and peas that you can eat. Isn't a perennial though. Would be interesting if I could make peanut butter with it...
Need to get a copy of that book. Off his website, here is a list of ones that should grow here. I'm sure there are more
what are some good perennials for canning and long term storage?
i prefer eating fresh stuff but my mother is getting into a canning mood and im trying to think of some good perennials to suggest she grow for canning purposes...
I noticed you mentioned one of my favorites, Fuki (Fuki Petasites japonicas sweet coltsfootleaf stalk and flowerbuds nuisance to cook? Aggressive plant.)
The full grown plant is a pain to cook from what I hear, but I love it in the spring.
I live in Sendai, and right after the big earthquake it popped out of the ground in my parents' garden.
We feasted that night on tempura from the garden.
Right as the flower pokes out of the ground, before it opens at all you cut it off (just the very top part and maybe a half cm of the stem).
Then batter it and deep fry. In Japan we call this style of cooking "tempura".
Usually we make tempura with other kinds of vegetables, mushrooms and for meat, shrimp.
A little salt and it is ready.
The fuki has a "Piney" taste something like hops.
re:above, the banana indicated for the southeast united states is the "Veinte Cohol", a filipino variety that if planted around april 10th in the southeast, will produce a bunch big enough to ripen indoors by the end of october, making it field crop worthy for a large portion of the southeast, and on the south/west side of a house would produce quite reliably well into zone 7b.
I should be offering tissue culture-grown specimens of this variety some time later this year.
Quick question, we are looking forward to planting lots of perennials including air potatoes and winged yams. We are in South Alabama and our neighboring states of Florida and Mississippi have these black listed, but it seems they were planted as ornamental plants and no one is eating them. Anybody close by have any experience with either one? Is it as invasive as claimed? I don't want our food forest overtaken, but I also don't want to leave out a great food source if it is easily reined in by using it as a food source instead of a "pretty."