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Perennial Crops in the PNW  RSS feed

 
pollinator
Posts: 1703
Location: Western Washington
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I'm wondering what everyone's favorite perennials are for the pacific northwest. I have extensive experience cultivating annuals around here - but not to much with perennials. Of course I'm looking for the perfect plants. Ones that produce lots of food reliably and don't take much care. What are your favorite perennials to use here in the PNW
 
pollinator
Posts: 419
Location: Zone 8b: SW Washington
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Here's what I have or have seen in my neighborhood, that seem to be happy here in SW WA:
- Plums
- Raspberries (the native blackcaps have the best flavor)
- Blueberries
- Certain varieties of apple
- Blackberries and most other berry vines
- Hazelnuts (AKA filberts)
- Seaberries
- stinging nettle (native)

I have many, many other food plants in my yard but most are too young to say how happy they are here.
 
Landon Sunrich
pollinator
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Location: Western Washington
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Awesome - this is pretty much my list too. Except Seaberries that's a new one to me

Thanks! Keep um coming everyone!

Edit: Just making sure we're on the same page

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippophae

Seaberry?
 
Dave Miller
pollinator
Posts: 419
Location: Zone 8b: SW Washington
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Landon Sunrich wrote:
Edit: Just making sure we're on the same page

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippophae

Seaberry?


Yes, that seaberry. They seem to grow really fast.

I forgot to include Aronia (Chokeberry).
 
Posts: 387
Location: West Yorkshire, UK
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I used to live in Portland, and where I live now has a similar climate to Seattle; what I've got or what neighbors have:

  • Rhubarb
  • Blackcurrant
  • Almond (newly planted, though)
  • Daylily
  • Apple
  • Cherry
  • Plum
  • Pear
  • Asparagus
  • Nasturtium (an annual, but self seeds here like nobody's business!)
  • Lots of herbs, such as rosemary, mint, oregano, etc
  • Strawberry


  • And lots of edible weeds, as the above-mentioned nettle. My husband thinks it's too furry, but I really like it. Dandelion, lamb's quarters, and probably quite a few of your own natives, I should think (I only know the European/British ones).
     
    Posts: 337
    Location: PDX Zone 8b 1/6th acre
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    In addition to the list above, I have a number of neighbors with GIGANTIC grape vines running all over their place producing fruit like nobody's business. My grapes are too young to tell you my experience with them, but I expect good things if I can get them to survive this damn freezing rain.

    A few years ago I planted 6 shrubs under a spruce tree. 2 wintergreen, 2 lingonberry and 2 huckleberry. I didn't really water them properly and they had no sunshine, but in spite of that one huckleberry still lives. It hasn't really produced yet, but it's pretty damn hardy.
     
    gardener
    Posts: 1948
    Location: PNW Oregon
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    I would add


    - Walnut
    - Locus (black and honey)
    - Maples (feed and coppicing)
    - Willow (coppicing)
    - Mape
    - Oak
    - Garlic!! (sorry I get excited)
    - Walking Onions or Potato Onions
    - Potatoes
    - Peppers (if brought indoors -cheating I know)
    - Jerusalem artichokes
    - Sorrel
    - Garlic Chives (of course we're now into herbs)
    - Herbs such as - Mullein, Queen Ann's Lace, foxglove.....

    Some useful links are:
    One Perennial Herbs List
    Northwest Native Plant Guide



    - Grapes
    - Huckleberries

    - Rhubarb
    - Blackcurrant
    - Almond (newly planted, though)
    - Daylily
    - Apple
    - Cherry
    - Plum
    - Pear
    - Asparagus
    - Nasturtium (an annual, but self seeds here like nobody's business!)
    - Lots of herbs, such as rosemary, mint, oregano, etc
    - Strawberry

    - Plums
    - Raspberries (the native blackcaps have the best flavor)
    - Blueberries
    - Certain varieties of apple
    - Blackberries and most other berry vines
    - Hazelnuts (AKA filberts)
    - Seaberries
    - Stinging nettle (native)


     
    gardener
    Posts: 856
    Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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    Maybe add some weeds...
    Lamb's quarters
    Nipplewort
    Miner's lettuce
    Wood sorrel
    Chickweed
    Dandelion

    And some old herbs...
    Good King Henry
    Lovage
    Salad Burnet

    And for woody plants check out:
    http://www.burntridgenursery.com/
    http://www.raintreenursery.com/

    I've been hunting for good Skirrit! anyone grown it locally?
     
    master steward
    Posts: 2748
    Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
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    I just moved to Cully, Portland, and I haven't seen any lambs quarters. Anybody in Portland have a good recurring patch? (They are annual, but self seed readily. I used to eat a lot of lambs quarters in Wisconsin--I like them as much as spinach and they take care of themselves!
     
    Landon Sunrich
    pollinator
    Posts: 1703
    Location: Western Washington
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    Julia Winter wrote:I just moved to Cully, Portland, and I haven't seen any lambs quarters. Anybody in Portland have a good recurring patch? (They are annual, but self seed readily. I used to eat a lot of lambs quarters in Wisconsin--I like them as much as spinach and they take care of themselves!



    I've seen lots of lambs quarter in well cultivated fields (lots of tillage) in Washington
     
    Landon Sunrich
    pollinator
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    Jami,

    Foxglove as an insectiary I presume? or do you know something I don't. Wait... you're not one of those creepy twins from the X-Files that goes around poising people with digitalis are you?!
     
    Jami McBride
    gardener
    Posts: 1948
    Location: PNW Oregon
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    X Files.... yea, you've got me!

    It is a medical herb, used with caution of course... but I want it on my land so the animals can self medicate. As is mentioned all over permies, a few toxic plants scattered in with others is good medicine for roaming animals. Animals who can pick and choose what they feed on. And it's a nice looking plant that self seeds and takes care of it's self.

    But for those who are interested in human use I offer the following -


    Unlike many medicinal plants, which have a long history of uses, foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) was not an important medicine until the late 18th century. In 1776, William Withering was a physician with a large country practice in England. A lady was dying from a disease called dropsy, or edema, in which liquids accumulate in the body and cause swelling of tissues and body cavities. He left her, expecting her to die shortly, but he later learned that she had recovered after taking an old cure of a garden plant called foxglove. For ten years, Withering conducted experiments to demonstrate the uses of foxglove and discovered that dropsy is actually a symptom of heart disease in which the heart does not pump hard enough to get rid of urine. He showed that foxglove stimulated urination by pumping more liquids to the kidneys. Withering died before his results appeared in print, so he never got to see how foxglove, or digitalis, became a lifesaver for heart disease patients. Digitalis is very toxic and fatal with an overdose, so its potency was measured very carefully. Digoxin presumably binds to the membranes of the muscle cells and aids in the pumping of sodium and potassium ions. This then slows heart rate and also reduces heart size, which lessens myocardial oxygen demand.



    I would add that medical science has come up with synthetic replacements (medicine) to treat heart disease now days. Digitalis has it's dangers as a self medication, so I'm not recommending it for human use per say. It just one of the plants I like in the mix.



     
    Posts: 127
    Location: Orgyen, zone 8
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    This is a good topic for this time of year. There are lots of good replies here already (and I'm going to repeat a bunch of them), but here are my favorites which have done well at my zone 8 organic permaculture farm in western Oregon:

    Fruit:
    1. Apples: Spartan, Chehalis, Ashmead's Kernel, Goldrush, Gravenstein. These all do well in our climate and resist scab. Spartan is really delicious. I like the EMLA 7a semi-dwarf rootstock. It's easy to graft onto.
    2. Peaches: Indian Blood Free, Charlotte, Frost. These varieties all resist peach-leaf curl. Don't buy any peach varieties unless they're resistant, cause the trees will die without constant spraying and protection. Indian Blood Free is the most delicious fruit I've ever tasted. I grew my trees from seed and they produce a lot of peaches!
    3. Japanese Plums: Methley and Shiro are extremely productive and extremely delicious! No disease problems at all with these two.
    4. European Plum: Brooks. This one does really well, resists disease, tastes good, is self-pollinating and has lots of plums every year.
    5. Pear: Bosc. These are yummy and can be stored in the fridge till Christmas.
    6. Cherries: Surefire, Montmorency. These bloom late, are self-pollinating and resist disease.
    7. Blueberries: These all do well here, especially Ozark Blue, Legacy and Olympia.
    8. Evergreen Huckleberries: These are perfect for shady spots. Just mulch with wood chips and rotten logs, no other care needed.
    9. Strawberries; Hood is delicious, resists disease and is productive
    10.Raspberries: Autumn Bliss is great. My plants lasted 12 years and put out a lot of berries early in the season.
    11.Blackberries: These all do real well in the PNW. In fact, too well! Cascade Trailing is a wild species that produces fruit real early (in June) and does not get too invasive. . I let'em grow wild in the food forest along the fence.
    12.Figs: Desert King, Negronne. These both do well here. Some of the others seem to need more heat.

    Veggies:
    1. Tree Collards: There are two different varieties of these. Both do well.
    2. Asparagus: Connover's Colossal, Purple Passion. I prefer to grow asparagus from seed. I've always had zero luck with crowns of Jersey Knight.
    3. Leeks: Just harvest the tops, they become perennial.
    4. Egyptian Walking Onions; Easy and hardy.
    5. Parsley: Moss Curled: This plant is always around my garden, it self-seeds easily.
    6. Kale: Wild Garden Kales, Red Russian. Not technically perennials, but they self seed readily and are extremely hardy.

    You can get the fruit trees/plants I mentioned here from Raintree Nursery or Burnt Ridge Nursery. The veggies you can get from Territorial Seed Company, Wild Garden Seed or Bountiful Gardens Seeds. Good luck Landon!

     
    Posts: 3
    Location: Tacoma WA
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    Here is the list of Washington perennials sent out to our community garden:

    Allium ampeloprasum, perennial sweet leek
    Allium cepa aggregatum, shallot
    Allium cepa aggregatum, potato onion
    Allium cepa proliferum, walking onion
    Allium fistulosum, Welsh onion
    Allium tricoccum, ramps - semi
    Allium tuberosum, garlic chives
    Allium ursinum, ramson - semi
    Apios americana, groundnut - semi
    Aralia cordata, udo - semi
    Arundinaria gigantea, canebrake bamboo - semi
    Asparagus officinalis, asparagus - semi
    Asphodeline lutea, yellow asphodel - semi
    Atriplex halimus, saltbush
    Beta vulgaris maritima, sea beet
    Brassica oleracea, wild cabbage - semi
    Brassica oleracea acephala, ‘Western Front’ perennial kale
    Brassica oleracea acephala, ‘Tree Collard’, ‘Walking Stick Kale’
    Brassica oleracea acephala, tropical tree kale
    Brassica oleracea alboglabra, gai lon - semi
    Brassica oleracea botrytis, perennial broccoli, including ‘9 Star’ - semi
    Brassica oleracea ramosa, branching bush kale, including ‘Dorbenton’ - semi
    Bunias orientalis, Turkish rocket
    Camassia cusickii, Cusick’s camass
    Camassia leichtlinii, Leichtlin’s camass - semi
    Camassia quamash, camass - semi
    Camassia scillioides, wild hyacinth - semi
    Canna edulis, achira
    Chenopodium bonus-henricus, good king Henry
    Cicorium intybus, hicory
    Colocasia esculenta, ‘Celery Stem’ taro
    Colocasia esculenta, taro, cocoyam, eddo, dasheen
    Crambe maritima, sea kale - semi
    Cyperus esculentus var. sativa, chufa
    Dioscorea bulbifera, air potato
    Dioscorea japonica, jinenjo
    Dioscorea opposita, Chinese yam
    Diplotaxis spp., sylvetta arugula - semi
    Helianthus tuberosus, sunchoke
    Hemerocallis spp., daylily - semi
    Laportaea canadensis, wood nettle
    Levisticum officinale, lovage - semi
    Lycium spp., wolfberry - semi
    Abelmoschus moschata, musk mallow
    Matteuccia struthiopteris, ostrich fern - semi
    Nasturtium officinale, watercress
    Nelumbo nucifera, water lotus
    Oenanthe javanica, water celery
    Opuntia spp., spineless nopale cactus
    Oxyria digyna, mountain sorrel - semi
    Petasites japonicus, fuki - semi
    Phyllostachys spp., running bamboos - semi
    Phytolacca americana, pokeweed - semi
    Polygonatum biflorum var. commutatum, giant Solomon’s seal - semi
    Qiongzhuea tumidissinoda, running bamboo
    Rheum x cultorum, rhubarb - semi
    Rumex acetosa, French sorrel - semi
    Rumex acetosa, ‘Profusion’ sorrel
    Rumex acetosella, sheep sorrel - semi
    Rumex scutatus, silver shield sorrel
    Sagittaria latifolia, arrowhead
    Sagittaria graminea, Chinese arrowhead
    Sasa kurilensis, chishima-zasa bamboo - semi
    Scorzonera hispanica, scorzonera - semi
    Semiarundinaria fastuosa, temple bamboo - semi
    Sium sisarum, skirret
    Stachys affinis, Chinese artichoke
    Taraxacum officinale, dandelion - semi
    Tilia spp., linden - semi
    Toona sinensis, fragrant spring tree
    Tropaeolum tuberousum, ‘Ken Aslet’ mashua
    Urtica dioica, nettles - semi


    note: semi= semishade tolerant

    I hope this helps.
     
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    Charles Tarnard wrote:In addition to the list above, I have a number of neighbors with GIGANTIC grape vines running all over their place producing fruit like nobody's business. My grapes are too young to tell you my experience with them, but I expect good things if I can get them to survive this damn freezing rain.

    A few years ago I planted 6 shrubs under a spruce tree. 2 wintergreen, 2 lingonberry and 2 huckleberry. I didn't really water them properly and they had no sunshine, but in spite of that one huckleberry still lives. It hasn't really produced yet, but it's pretty damn hardy.



    Huckleberries will really only produce a decent crop when they can get sun. In full shade, their yield will be much much lower.
     
    Charles Tarnard
    Posts: 337
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    Jesus Martinez wrote:

    Charles Tarnard wrote:In addition to the list above, I have a number of neighbors with GIGANTIC grape vines running all over their place producing fruit like nobody's business. My grapes are too young to tell you my experience with them, but I expect good things if I can get them to survive this damn freezing rain.

    A few years ago I planted 6 shrubs under a spruce tree. 2 wintergreen, 2 lingonberry and 2 huckleberry. I didn't really water them properly and they had no sunshine, but in spite of that one huckleberry still lives. It hasn't really produced yet, but it's pretty damn hardy.



    Huckleberries will really only produce a decent crop when they can get sun. In full shade, their yield will be much much lower.



    That makes sense, and good to know. Thanks.

    I've since done some major trimming to that spruce and intend on keeping it in check for the forseeable future. It's not full sun, but it should get some in the morning and evening, plus I now have a drip line running from a rain barrel so it shouldn't want too bad for water any more. This is my first year really giving a damn at all, and I have no idea what I'm doing, so I'm just doing a lot of chucking stuff at a wall and seeing what sticks .
     
    Landon Sunrich
    pollinator
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    No where around here has full day full sun, but in my experience huckleberries will produce prolifically when given 4-5 hours of near full sun a day. The above comment defiantly stands as far as shade goes, if they are under a canopy they produce very little fruit, but they work great on edges especially edges that get good afternoon sun even if whatever is behind them is huge and very shady.
     
    Posts: 310
    Location: Seattle, WA, USA
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    Mache / corn salad self-seed profusely around my garden. It makes great salad in fall/winter/spring and is an excellent ground cover too. What's more, slugs don't like it!
     
    Posts: 310
    Location: Onalaska, Lewis County, WA
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    Here are a few favorites of mine in my shady yard. I have 3 HUGE deciduous trees and one evergreen that bring fairly complete shade to my site (7K sq. ft). I've gotten good at coaxing food from my shade-loving friends, which are:

    1. currants (Ribes) - much more shade tolerant than I would've thought. My white currants pout when they're located in (what passes for) full sun in my yard.
    2. wineberries (Rubus phoenicolasius) - canes are loaded with fruit by the end of June and they get 2 filtered hours of sun daily. These can be AGRESSIVE; they will sprout wherever they touch soil. They are heavily covered with soft-ish thorns (think moss rose), and canes bear fruit on two-year old wood, which then dies. It's quite easy to train to fences. Fruit is juicy and mild and ripens over a several-week window. Berries are covered with a mildly sticky texture which seems to deter bugs. Great for adding to oatmeal or yogurt, wonderful as a base for canned goods, and plays well with more assertively-flavored berries. An unsung treasure.
    3. tea - (camellia sinensis) - This grows well in our shady soil, but it needs more nitrogen than most camellias.
    4. white alpine strawberries (fragaria vesca or chiloensis) - these small beautiful fruit smells and tastes like pineapple. Spreads rapidly. The smell from these is heavenly! Great shady groundcover.

    The last ones I'll add to the conversation need a bit more sun:
    5. jostaberries (Ribes nidigrolaria) - a cross between black currant and gooseberry. Very hardy, fast growing and easy to propagate from cuttings without growth hormones, or layering. Great screen plant, too - late to drop leaves and early to leaf back out.
    6. gooseberries (Ribes uva-crispa) - the newer ones with bigger, sweeter berries are my favorite, like Poorman. Thorny buggers, but yummy and healthy. Not as easy to propagate from cuttings, but great from layering.

    Enjoy!
     
    Posts: 24
    Location: Whatcom County, Washington
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    Last year our Goumi (or was it an Autumn Olive…) underneath the cherry tree outproduced the cherry by about 1000 to 1. Likewise, the chervil underneath the black currant grew quite happily, being munched on all season, and self-seeded.
     
    He loves you so much! And I'm baking the cake! I'm going to put this tiny ad in the cake:
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