I did try to search but didn't find what i was looking for - I'm sure that's my fault as this must have been discussed many times.
I'd like a list of perennial garden vegetables, and to hear about folks' experiences with them.
Briefly about our place: we have about 4.5 acres up in the Welsh hills, the soil is very rocky and not fertile, we have 1.5 acres of grazing meadow, currently no grazing animals, are setting up a conventional fruit orchard and hopefully also an experimental food forest area along with firewood copses (alder and willow). And then we have the 'kitchen garden' where I hope to grow lots of veggies! 'Field vegetables' - ie potatoes definitely and then possibly other things - are in part of the meadow, so the kitchen garden is for stuff that needs more attention and is used more frequently. This is our first year on the land and I currently have three small raised beds and two large planting areas which have cabbages, caulis, assorted zuchinni and squash, peas, fava beans, climbing beans, salad stuff, jerusalem artichokes, and some others. The strawberries are there but will be moving, so currently th only perennials are the jerusalem artichokes. I'm also building another large bed/planting area which will be ready next spring.
I am thinking of planting some dwarf cherry trees, and globe artichokes. I also definitely want to plant lovage and more wild/perennial salad stuff like poached egg plant.
I have heard that runner beans can be grown as perennials in this climate, would love to hear if anyone has done this. I have previously failed with the perennial 9-star broccoli, but I could try again. I'm trying to establish a local variety of wild cabbage that, while not actually perennial, once established self-propogates well and if it takes would keep us well-supplied.
And I'd like a list/more suggestions of perennial veg to try. Fruit, as I said, is already in progress Thank you in advance for any hints!
Thank you Emily. I have looked at lots of lists online, though that one is longer than most so I'll have a good look at it. I love the PFAF site, use it lots
I'm really interested in talking to people about their perennial gardens, since I would really like to diversify. I have seen, and helped out at, lots of permaculture sites, but when it comes down to planning my own garden and thinking about space and what we want to eat, somehow we end up with so many annuals! Not that we're not open to culinary adventures, we'll eat just about anything, but I want to figure out a more perennial veg garden that I can really eat from on a daily and ongoing basis.
Definitely get a decent rhubarb patch going - we have about 8 crowns at the moment, but I'd happily expand that five times over. We never seem to have enough to cook and freeze which I'd love to do.
The globe artichokes should do well for you, I planted some last year, but only one plant made it (neglect and bad organisation on my part - not the fault of the plants) - that one has now thrown off two globes with more to come. I believe that are supposed to produce even more when they are more firmly established. The two globes we have had were very nice. They get big though, so space them out - perhaps plant them between the trees in your orchard? If you have a surplus it looks fairly simple to preserve artichoke hearts.
Our Jerusalem Artichoke patch has done well since we established it - it is on to it's third cropping year despite no deliberate replanting. I'm not sure how I will eventually kill it off, if I need to, perhaps thick cardboard layers and mulch?
We are experimenting with perennialising our runners this year - never done it in the past so this will be an interesting experiment. I'm basically planning on throwing a thick layer of woodchip and straw mulch over the bed once they die down.
Some obvious ones are the berry bushes - redcurrants, blackcurrants, gooseberries etc... and the cane fruits.
For alliums - look into "potato onions" and the egyptian walking onions. Chives are also a good bet - they keep on expanding year after year, more than we can ever use as I am allergic to all alliums
I'm sure there are more - I'll keep thinking.
Moderator, Treatment Free Beekeepers group on Facebook.
Hmmm... My ipad lost my first attempt so here we go again.
Near your kitchen door you want loads of herbs - i've been collecting interesting specimins over the last three years and it makes a big difference to our cooking. The obvious ones are thymes (lots of varieties with different flavours, we have a great lemon sage for fish dishes for example), sage, rosemary, chives, french taragon, parsley (biennial - let it flower and self seed), marjoram (clumps can be divided regularly - pretty and bee fodder).
Another perennial vegatable - sea kale. Every part of the plant is edible, roots, leaves, new shoots, flowers etc...
Moderator, Treatment Free Beekeepers group on Facebook.
oh yes, we have some rhubarb in, just struggling along. we've got soft fruit in, some in the orchard and some in the corner of the garden - just have to stop the two-year-old from eating the raspberries unripe now! luckily we're also blessed with a good patch of wild strawberries, they're like candy!
I'm curious if anyone on here has cardoon? And if so do you think it's worth growing if I also grow globe artichokes?
I have lots of herbs, edible and medicinal as I do a lot of herbal medicine (there's a lot of overlap between edibles and medicinals)
Ah yes, sea kale, thanks for the reminder. I tried this once and it didn't work but I will definitely give it another go. I'm a bit worried about how it will do in our soil - rocks and clay - since I think it likes sandy? but i'll see what i can do.
I'm so curious about the runner beans. The ones I have this year - assuming they actually grow properly! - I am planning to build a polytunnel over that bed, but I could leave some in there and see what happens.
S Carreg wrote:I think cardoon is mostly eaten as a stem and leaf vegetable - can you eat the stems and leaves of globe artichokes or just the heads?
I wouldn't get too excited about cardoon and artichoke in your climate. They are Mediterranean vegetables and don't do well in soggy climates. After a very rainy June, the last of my cardoons gave up the ghost. Now this was planted before I got into building hugelkultur beds, so maybe I can try again with them elevated a bit for better drainage, but I've got to do something to keep them from getting waterlogged. As far as winter hardiness, they seem to do fine down to 20F, although I don't know what they will do if they get a few inches of snow.
I've banged on about runner beans all over the forums here's a thread They are wonderful things, you can get a huge yield in some pretty average spots.
The vines grow very long; I lean long branches on my fence, pick the ones in reach for green beans and let the ones up high dry. When the vines die off I tip the branches over and harvest.
Birds love the tall branches too!
I grow Florence fennel as a perennial.
I'd definitely look for perennial onions.
Lovage grows massive, and is very strong flavoured. I couldn't imagine needing more than one plant. It's also not fussy and it lives in an unimproved area.
Many of my plants aren't actually perennial, but after initial planting, they self-seed forever. That includes silverbeet, broccoli, kale, chicory, parsley, chervil, cress, parsnips, etc, etc.
Salsify is a neat one - and you can plant it where it shows because the second year it makes lovely flowers and interesting seed heads (balls around 6 inches across!). You dig the roots after a frost and fry them in butter, they taste like good fried clam strips. They are biennial but they reseed very freely and you'll find them popping up just about everywhere, so they're practically a perennial.
Also sorrel is perennial. Kids love it - very sour.
I was just reading about watercress. In some areas it's perennial. What I read is you can just buy some at the grocery store and put it in water and it will grow roots and there, you've got a plant!
As far as grocery store plants, you can also buy horseradish and plant it. You can even cut it into chunks and plant them - like 3 - 4 inch pieces of the root, tho the crowns grow best. You can try to dig it up every year and the clump will keep getting bigger. It's delicious with slow-cooked beef.
You can get some garlic from the grocery store to plant, too. Separate the cloves and put them in every 6-8 inches in the fall. We had an exceptionally rainy season this year that rotted the onions out but the garlic I planted came out the size of softballs! It's a perennial in that every year you save cloves to plant for the following year. You can also divide up the bulblets on the top when it "blooms" to plant but they take 2 years to get to harvestable size. Since it grows tall it doesn't take up much space and can be interplanted with other crops (like strawberries where they say it is protective).
Violets are a nice perennial. Not too much food value but the flowers in a spring salad make it very pretty, and you can use them for an unusual jelly.
Hmm I've seen cardoon and artichokes in so many places in SW England and Wales! I will make sure I give them a spot with decent drainage.
I've never managed to grow garlic from the store - wonder if its irradiated or something? I have grown garlic before but dont have any going here as I wanted to get the soil a little better first, it's on the list for next year.
Great to hear about salsify. I've planted some for the first year this year. I had two rows come up and then overnight almost all disappeared and now there are just 5-6 plants, should I just leave them all to go to seed?
I am into the idea of leaving things to self seed, although this year I didn't think things through that well and currently have rocket (argula), mustard greens, red orach, and chard bolting in what are supposed to be nursery beds (so ideally, not full of seeds)... oh well.
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