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Top Ten Perennial Vegetables in a Truly Temperate Climate

 
Glenn Underhill
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Location: NW Montana
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I have Eric Toensmeier’s Perennial Vegetables. I was dissapointed to find that most plants in the book are not suitable for zone 5 where I live.

What do you good folks recommend for a top ten list of perennial vegetables that grow substantial amounts of high calorie, good tasting food, aside from the obvious like asparagus and rhubarb? But things like camas, which require 9 hours of pressure cooking, would be less than optimal!

I appreciate all input, thanks.
 
Cj Sloane
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Why limit your self to vegetables? I was thinking along the lines of nut trees for high calorie/good tasting.
What about berries?
Grapes?

Sunchokes fit the bill but I can't personally comment on how they taste.
Same for cattails.
Sweet Potato is technically a perennial.
 
Glenn Underhill
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Cj Verde wrote:Why limit your self to vegetables? I was thinking along the lines of nut trees for high calorie/good tasting.
What about berries?
Grapes?

Sunchokes fit the bill but I can't personally comment on how they taste.
Same for cattails.
Sweet Potato is technically a perennial.


Thanks for the reply CJ, I've been to your permaculture page and your garden rocks!

I will be planting fruit and nut trees and berry shrubs, but we need vegetables, too. Fruit and nuts are good, but we can't eat them year-round cause even with a bountiful harvest, fruits won't store all winter AFAIK. And I'm trying to do it the permaculture way. I understand in a truly temperate zone it may not be completely possible because I am having difficulty finding info. So I'm trying to see if anybody is doing it and what is working. Maybe nobody is?

Seems like most of the plants that will work are tubers for some reason. Or leaves.

Sweet potatoes are annuals in my zone.
 
Cj Sloane
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I suspect most perennial vegetables aren't high calorie so you may need to focus on which variable is most important. Also what grows naturally in the forests in your area?

How about fiddlehead ferns, ramps, leeks?
 
S Bengi
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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Most of the perennial vegetable in zone 10 are low in calories, you will not be able to digg thru the snow and pick 2000 calories per person per day.
So you are going to have to stockpile your caloric food.
So why not just combine mineral(vegetable) with calories and store nuts.
You can also dehydrate your fruits/vegetables with a simple solar dehydrator http://www.permies.com/t/3562/cooking/Solar-Food-Dryers#77045
And lets not forget root vegetables, they can also be stored and if you dont harvest 10% they will reseed no work from you.
(Beet, turnips, parsnip, carrot, sweet potatoes, irish potatoes, yams, onions, garlic, etc)
Hazelnut only gets to 11ft and bears in 2 years about 20lbs+ per tree.
Here is a list of nut tree http://www.onegreenworld.com//index.php?cPath=2
 
Jordan Lowery
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I second storing up on things that last from the growing season. Preserving by drying, pickling, or curing. Add to that the nuts and possibly animal products winter should be no problem.

If you want fresh I bet most of it will be underground tuber like crops.
 
Cj Sloane
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I agree with Jordan & Bengi about drying. Bengi, are you in Europe? Zone 10 in US is super warm. You may want to show your location in your settings.

There are some fruits like apples that will store all winter (choose the variety wisely). I think persimmons stay on the tree for a really long time.
 
S Bengi
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No I live in Boston,MA close to you.
I was just making the point that even if all the veggies that grow in warm zones did grow in the cold.
You would still have to dig through the extra snow and except for root crops it would still be tiny amount of calories.
So you cant get away from storing/preserving your food.

And while I only mention dehydration because it requires the least amount of processing and actually reduces volume, there is alot of ways to preserve our bountiful harvest from a food forest. Preserve food by sugar(jam), yeast fermentation(alcohol), baking (cake/chips), lacto-fermentation, freeze, refrigerate, salt and various combinations.
 
Glenn Underhill
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Cj Verde wrote:You may want to show your location in your settings.

There are some fruits like apples that will store all winter (choose the variety wisely). I think persimmons stay on the tree for a really long time.


Thanks for the replies guys.

Hmmm, I thought my location was shown, I have it publicly visible and it shows under my name on all my posts! Must be something wrong with the software. Anyway my property is one hour west of Missoula.

Some things do grow wild in the area from what I have read. Camas, bitterroot, some other things.

Drying the fruit for winter is a good idea, Bengi. I don't know why I didn't think about that. I also have canned plenty of meat, vegetables and fruit, even butter, so that is possible as well.

I do plan to have chickens and goats (actually have them now), a couple pigs and a couple miniature cattle. So beef, pork and eggs are on the menu for the winter. I also plan to have persimmon, hazelnut, apple, cherry, plum, blueberry, raspberry, seaberry, strawberry and some other fruits and berrys - I haven't finished my list yet. I haven't had good luck with grapes in my area. I also want to grow corn and bread grains and sorghum. If I can get ahold of some perennial wheat or rye I will be ecstatic.

SO - my impression is that there is no top ten list of high calorie temperate perennial vegetables? And (in terms of permaculture) the objective is to grow perennial leafy or tubular plants which may not be high in calories but still rich in vitamins and minerals in addition to an annual vegetable garden (and of course the fruits and nuts). I was going to grow potatoes, beans, tomatoes, squash, things like that anyway, permaculture or not, haha.

Thanks folks.

 
Cj Sloane
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Glenn Underhill wrote:
Hmmm, I thought my location was shown


I can see your location - not Bengis.

I've spent a fair amount of time making a spreadsheet to see what I have for food storage and the trickiest thing is really fats (if you want high omega 3s). Carbs store well but I try to eat low carb. Protein is best stored "on the hoof."

However... if you raise & kill even one pig there is an awful lot of fat that is stable if you make lard out of it. Making lard is on my "to do" list this weekend. With lots of lard on hand, those low cal veggies become tasty hi-cal veggies (like say leeks cooked in lard).
 
S Bengi
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The closest I have came is winter squash. I have not planted on in over 3 years.
They readily reseed from compost or a few unharvested ones, are easy to harvest, naturally store for 6+ months.
High in calorie, vit and mineral, so buttery and even the seed are fantastic.

WINTER SQUASH RULES.
 
Glenn Underhill
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Cj Verde wrote:....lard is on my "to do" list...


Me too. I saw that Suzy Bean video and it inspired me to do the same...


S Bengi wrote:The closest I have came is winter squash. I have not planted on in over 3 years.
They readily reseed from compost or a few unharvested ones, are easy to harvest, naturally store for 6+ months.
High in calorie, vit and mineral, so buttery and even the seed are fantastic.


Sounds good I will do that. Are all winter squash that awesome or do you have a certain variety you like best? (Your zone is probably close to mine, although you probably get more rain.) Squash wasn't in my plans until I read Carol Deppe's book. My gramma used to make it and I haven't had it since I was a kid, but I did love it.

BTW I didn't mean I want to harvest perennial veggies in the winter, I just want them to survive the winter!
 
S Bengi
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To me perennial simple means that I can be lazy and I dont have to replant every year for the rest of my life, so this pretty much includes anything that self seed.
My boston garden https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AjpWBJwPQ0nMdEpjV1AwcVJ0dGFZbnVpVEw0RlFQR0E

Herbs: basil, chamomile, cilantro, cutting celery, dill, parsley

Vegetables: amaranth, arugula, beets, broccoli raab, carrots, collards, kale, lettuce, orach, mustards, New Zealand spinach, parsnips, pumpkin, radish, rutabaga, tomatillo, tomato, turnips, winter squash

Flowers: bachelor button, calendula, celosia, cosmos, nasturtiums, poppies, sunflowers, sweet alyssum, viola

Theses are maybes because they sometime go to seed the 2nd year and the cold might kill them before
beets, carrots, collards, kale (especially Russian strains), broccoli, parsnips and parsley.
http://www.permies.com/t/2225/plants/seeding-vegetables#21529 Zone 5
http://www.permies.com/forums/posts/list/40/2225#134890 Zone 3

My winter squash, are volunteer so I have no idea what cultivar they are. But I will try to find one that might work for you.
 
Merry Cox
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Location: Salida, Colorado Zone 4
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Perennial veggies that work here: (Salida , CO, 7,000 FT. arid)
Asparagus, Rhubarb, walking onions, lovage, horseradish, Jeruselem artichokes, nettles (cooked of course), safir celery, salad burnet, sorrel, prickly-pear cactus, dandelion (I know everyone hates these), purslane, good king henry, chickweed, balsamroot — Balsamorhiza,
Perennial Sunflower-Edible Root and Seeds, Jerusalem Artichoke

Trying: turkish rocket, groundnut, ramps, welsh onion, skirret,

Other useful perennial things :
Seasonings: French tarragon, chives, garlic chives, oregano, marjoram, thymes, sage, costmary, parsley (bi-annual)

Teas: lemon balm, mints, chamomile, fennel

Reseeders (if you let them): lettuces, arugula, carrots, parsnips, peas, cilantro, orach, dill, borage (flowers tasty), lamb’s quarters. Strawberry spinach

Berries and fruits: goji, raspberry, gooseberry, strawberries (alpine), nanking cherry, serviceberry (alnifolia,sp?), chokecherry, Netleaf Hackberry, currants,

Nuts: hazelnuts, burgambel oak (a cross that bears yearly),

Medicinals: red clover, valerian, self heal, Echinacea, comfrey, dandelion, hops, lavendar, lemon balm, hyssop, horehound, feverfew, calendula (reseeder), bee balm (reseeder), mullein (reseeder), plantain, rue


Resources:
Burgamble oak http://www.nuttrees.com
Netleaf hackberry http://www.forestfarm.com/product.php?id=5797
Turkish rocket:
http://www.eagleridgeseeds.com/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&category_id=26&flypage=flypage.tpl&manufacturer_id=1&page=shop.product_details&product_id=19&Itemid=3&vmcchk=1&Itemid=3

Sorrel, good king henry, orach, purslane, lamb’s quarters, strawberry spinach, chickweed, nettles: http://www.bountifulgardens.org



Nutty Groundnut, Jerusalem Artichoke, ramps, welsh onion, Balsamroot and much more: http://oikostreecrops.com
 
Josh T-Hansen
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that's a good book...
shout out to my t.rocket, g.nuts, and that good good lovage.
not all high cal but if that's all you looking for dough man then don't pass on the acorn and chestnut flour.
sea what i be kale'n on
 
S Bengi
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Butternut squash
 
Devon Olsen
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Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
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good thread i simply must subscribe to, also good to know that winter squash reseeds so easily, will definately be getting some seeds for that this year
 
Blaine Lindsey
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I'm loving me some winter squash too! you get to eat the fruit and the seeds of most, great combo. What about Einkorn, Emmer faro, or other ancient wheat species? full of nutrients, original safe gluten, great to sprout and mash and solar bake into raw bread + juice the young grass, and the straw makes great goat feed or mulch etc! + you can make rejuvilac with sprouting wheat berries that is basically a starter for fermentation to pickle veggies! takes some scything and processing though
 
Devon Olsen
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im planning to use older varieties of wheat from the kusa seed society, not einkhorn but definately older varieties with stalks growing up to 8ft tall, that should do me just fine, though some might prefer einkhorn, i just dont see a reason not to use older varieties of "modern" wheat that have bunching habits with multiple tillers per seed sprouted rather than just 2 or 3 of the really modern varieties
 
Glenn Underhill
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Blaine Lindsey wrote:...What about Einkorn, Emmer faro, or other ancient wheat species?...


Devon Olsen wrote:im planning to use older varieties of wheat from the kusa seed society, not einkhorn but definately older varieties with stalks growing up to 8ft tall, that should do me just fine, though some might prefer einkhorn, i just dont see a reason not to use older varieties of "modern" wheat that have bunching habits with multiple tillers per seed sprouted rather than just 2 or 3 of the really modern varieties


I'm with you guys. But does kusa have seeds to sell?
 
Glenn Underhill
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Josh T-Hansen wrote:that's a good book...
shout out to my t.rocket, g.nuts, and that good good lovage.
not all high cal but if that's all you looking for dough man then don't pass on the acorn and chestnut flour.
sea what i be kale'n on


Good suggestions, the acorns and chestnuts will take awhile though.
 
Glenn Underhill
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Cj Verde wrote:...How about fiddlehead ferns, ramps, leeks?


Ramps are on the menu. Fiddlehead ferns I will have to research...
 
Devon Olsen
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Glenn Underhill wrote:
Blaine Lindsey wrote:...What about Einkorn, Emmer faro, or other ancient wheat species?...


Devon Olsen wrote:im planning to use older varieties of wheat from the kusa seed society, not einkhorn but definately older varieties with stalks growing up to 8ft tall, that should do me just fine, though some might prefer einkhorn, i just dont see a reason not to use older varieties of "modern" wheat that have bunching habits with multiple tillers per seed sprouted rather than just 2 or 3 of the really modern varieties


I'm with you guys. But does kusa have seeds to sell?


i THINK SO, though i havent ordered from them yet, but they do have prices for their offers and they have an order form, so im really just waiting until have some cash to spend
would you like a link or can you find it via google or other search engines?
 
S Bengi
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Glenn Underhill wrote:
Josh T-Hansen wrote:that's a good book...
shout out to my t.rocket, g.nuts, and that good good lovage.
not all high cal but if that's all you looking for dough man then don't pass on the acorn and chestnut flour.
sea what i be kale'n on


Good suggestions, the acorns and chestnuts will take awhile though.


You can do hazelnut they love the cold and it only takes 2yrs after planting to harvest. You get 20+lbs of nut from a tiny 12ft tree.
http://www.onegreenworld.com//product_info.php?cPath=2_71&products_id=1135 If this one does not work for your site then look around for a more regional vendor
 
Blaine Lindsey
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After seeing the russian grain that Sepp has thats 8+ ft tall, id love to get some exotic grains like that myself! sounds like a precursor to corn! I love all kinds of berries! whether wheat berries, ancient corn, regular fruit berries, palm berries( coconut, banana, dates). Its good to know that Hazelnut grows so quickly, I found a few wild hazel nuts in the woods, might save them to sprout them into trees one day soon! I also found wild forest strawberry and collected their seeds!
 
Kris Minto
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Here are some of the hardy perennial which should do well in my area which is a zone 4 or 5 depended who you ask. I am planning on planting all of the below list in the spring.

- Broccoli 'nine-star
- Jerusalem Artichoke
- Sea kale
- Walking onions
- Lovage
- Groundnut

To my surprise I found this year that my annual broccoli and cauliflower I started from seed lasted until November until the real cold weather started. I likely could have timed it to have some fresh broccoli and cauliflower heads in October by simply starting them a little late in the season. It is likely they will not be as big because of the shorter growing season and they taste may be slightly different but it would still be something fresh later in the season that isn't a "survival" crop.

Kris
 
Crt Jakhel
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Chard lives for two years and reseeds (somewhat erratically) for us in zone 6a.
 
kai weeks
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This is grown in Sweden. Funny picture.




Borje Gustavsson with his 482-kilo (1068 lbs) pumpkin in 2005
 
Sam Cook
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I'm a truck driver so I'm gone a lot, in my neighborhood I can't have a garden "per say " how ever I can have a "flower bed" that goes out from the house up to 36" and it can be 12" deep, it can also surround the house, creating lots of little climate zones in my 7b S.E VA. Area, my question is what kinds of good fruits veggies and spices are "set it and forget it" type plants, keep in mind I'm away for 2-3 weeks at a time. Any ideas will be appreciated!
Oh! I will be using rain water catchment for irrigation, but! I won't be around to baby sit it!
 
Patrick Mann
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I get lots of squash and brassica volunteers from my compost. But since I grow many varieties, they are bound to be hybrids of unknown quality. I hate to devote lots of garden space to a big squash plant that might end up being good for nothing but chicken feed. And I wouldn't want to restrict myself to only 1 variety.
 
Paulo Bessa
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You should grow:

Protein: not so much choice, because most perennial beans are not perennial in zone 5. Three possibilities (but they are trees) include the honey locust, chilean mesquite and perhaps the siberian pea shrub (but I lack reports concerning the edibility of this one). Groundnuts are probably hardy in that zone and its tubers are rich in protein besides starch. Its a legume; I have never taste them but I am growing them for the first year. I also heard of the Illinois bundleflower tree, which could be a source of perennial protein. Mulberries apparently have edible leaves rich in protein. Annual-wise, broad beans and peas are the key.

Nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, chestnuts and probably almonds) could provide some protein and also rich in carbohydrate and oil calories. Also pecan nuts.

Roots will provide you perennial starch. Try things like chinese yams or skirret. Potatoes are of course a perennial. Then, perennial rye and perennial wheat can be perennial alternatives to the annual grain, another common source of carbohydrates, which is the top calory input in the western diet. Other perennial grains include the perennial wild rice (but you need water for that); there is also indian ricegrass and lyme grass, I have never eat them but I am growing them for the 1st time.

I guess this is already a LOT! You will already have a lot of calories if you grow all of these, and if you harvest and store them for the winter; protein, oil and carbohydrates.
 
jacque greenleaf
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Some tree and shrub leaves are edible, and can be preserved for later use. Grape leaves come to mind. I'm away from my reference library, but I believe littleleaf linden leaves can be used as fresh greens, as well as dried for tea.
 
Mary Saunders
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Favas over-winter in Oregon. They also put nitrogen in your soil, and they are pretty. If you are not allergic, these are good. I grow enough blueberries to put them in bottles in the freezer for throwing in cereal. I second about winter squash--so good and needing little seasoning, though it's nice to have some rosemary to go with.

Some things will be small, but grow well inside. I have grown basil in a bathroom window, and I gave away a stem of pineapple sage once, to a nursing student. She put it in a window, and it made incredibly beautiful roots, in addition to the nice leaves on top.

I bring citrus in and out. Grapefruit is especially wonderful when it decides to bloom inside in winter. The fragrance is anti-depressant.

Solviva was/is a project in Massachusetts, cold environment, where the author had a greenhouse heated with sun and chickens and grew all sorts of things, including high-end salad greens for market/restaurants. I re-visited the site recently, and it is still really interesting.
 
Glenn Underhill
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Many great ideas here so I have renewed hope it can be done. I moved to the property in April and have been so busy getting infrastructure (shelters, water lines, fixing broken things, etc) done I haven't had time or money to plant anything at all (or spend time on this forum) but hopefully next spring I'll be ready to start planting. Many thanks to all of you.
 
Have you seen Paul's rant on CFLs?
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