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Ready to plant perennial greens in your garden?

 
pollinator
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I just learned about hostas this past spring and was excited.  I'd always loved the look of the plants but never planted any wanting instead to focus on food plants, esp. perennials.  When learning they were edible I ran out to the local greenhouse and bought 8 plants which I planted in an otherwise little used shady zone.  The last I looked they were all alive.  I look forward to trying to eat a few leaves this spring to see what they are like!
 
pollinator
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Location: South West France
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Hans, (Nice to hear your sister's spirit lived on, I hope you got seeds from the plant!) your post reminded me of another perennial plant, Nine Star broccoli. This is really worth growing. In my experience the heads get smaller each year but we usually get five or six good years before the plant is exhausted and keels over. The Cleavers (or sticky willies as we used to call them) climbing through the leaves are also edible and quite yummy.



Yukka or Yucca You can eat any part of this plant which is new growth. I've never tried the huge asparagus like flower shoot (That seems like such an indulgence) but the flowers taste good. These are too far gone to eat but what a beautiful sight. The fruit doesn't ripen in our climate, so I've never tried it.




Canna



I planted Canna to use the seeds as a dye but you can also use them for making jewellery, and for shot for catapults etc. They are incredibly hard.



You can also eat all parts of the plant, the new green shoots are OK, or you can cook and eat the roots (We did it only once.) Now we use them to make a sort of arrowroot used in cooking or for adding to deodorants and cosmetics. I usually give the awful job of grating them to somebody else!



Maybe this should be in your next post Daren about perennial root crops but it's difficult when plants are so versatile.
 
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Location: Suffolk County, Long Island NY
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Hans Quistorff wrote:

Susan MenĂ© wrote:What about Lamb's Quarters?  Are they persistent re-seeders or perennials?
. LOVE this post.


Lamb's Quarters are persistent re-seeders. They will generally grow until frost but they get thicker and tougher with age. if tips are harvested aggressively you can harvest from a plant for a long time but the tips will bolt to seed more rapidly on older plants.  So for productive harvest frequently disturb soil in a spot that will not get much heat and scatter harvested seed each week.
But this reminds me of broccoli.  I enclosed the garden into a greenhouse that my sister had planted in barrels before she died. In one of the barrels was a large broccoli plant. It would produce small Beansprouts that would open to a small broccoli head. I harvested from that plant for 4 years until it neglected to get watered and died.  



Thank you! Useful information!
 
pollinator
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Location: Longbranch, WA
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The Cleavers (or sticky willies as we used to call them) climbing through the leaves are also edible and quite yummy.  


When I learned their true name I started calling them cleaver weavers. To cleave means to stick to.  My original name for them was sticky wicked was less kind. I wish they had never been imported. They are also extremely prolific seeders with there Velcro hooks giving themselves the capacity to hitchhike to distant places. I have tried to eat them in different ways but never found them desirable. they start growing at the same time as the chickweed but do not die back with summer heat but instead weave their way through desirable plants you want to harvest so that they can plant their seeds on you to transfer them to anew location.
 
pollinator
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Hans Quistorff wrote:

The Cleavers (or sticky willies as we used to call them) climbing through the leaves are also edible and quite yummy.  


When I learned their true name I started calling them cleaver weavers. To cleave means to stick to.  .... I have tried to eat them in different ways but never found them desirable. ....


Those 'cleavers' (Galium aparine) are an 'ordinary weed' here (probably they originate from this region). They are edible, but only in the early spring (starting right now). That's the season they are soft & tender. So: harvest them now, or within a few weeks, when they're still small. Don't wait until they start blooming.  
If you harvest all of them you won't be bothered by the sticky weed later.
 
gardener
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Location: Olympia, WA - Zone 8a/b
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Great comments all and thanks for sharing all those suggestions! Some point I will update the article and add more perennial greens to it or just make a second one
 
Posts: 85
Location: Rainy Cold Temperate Harz Mountains Germany 450m South Facing River Valley
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I grow a black satisfy plant in every bed. It grows anywhere. The leaves are a bit thicker than lettuce but are mild and sweet till May when they get thread like fibres along the leaves. My ducks ate them to the ground in spring but the chickens leave them alone. The roots are very deep one foot if you treat it as a biennial. You can leave it in the ground for years and the roots grow larger without getting woody. It has pretty but few yellow flowers.not too many though, you could do better for the bee's to grow carrots. They are very early I see the leaves before I see my tulip leaves and harvest when they are the length of my small finger.  Hostas are also tasty but have threads in the leaves. They sprout like a rosette but if you put an upturned flower pot over them they will produce a shoot more like asparagus and you get a substantial harvest before they get too stringy to chew. My favourite perennial green is linden because you can get different harvests the whole year and it is up off the ground and great for bee's.
 
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Nicole Alderman wrote:

Lovage does die back during the winter, at least it does on my herb spiral. It also kind of gets brown and woody after it blooms, so I try to pinch off all the blooms to keep it green longer. It'll send up new shoots after it blooms, though, so it's not too much of a problem. I do wish it didn't die back during the winter, though, because that's when I like to make soup! I think this spring/summer, I'll try to dry some so I have it during the winter!



Try layering some leaves with salt, the lovage flavor infuses the salt and adds an extra herbal note to soups.
 
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Most perennials do die back in the winter--that is the adaptation that allows them to survive cold. Annuals just keep going and green until frost kills them, instead of taking refuge in their underground portion. Herbaceous perennials that are evergreen are very few, and usually in my experience are either from warm-winter areas or live as understory plants. Tiarella would be an example of an evergreen forest understory groundcover, which is sheltered from the worst winter winds and drying cold.

I used to collect wild lovage in Alaska, and dry it for use all winter. Good in pasta and meats as well as soup.
 
Taryn Hesse
Posts: 85
Location: Rainy Cold Temperate Harz Mountains Germany 450m South Facing River Valley
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You get more to harvest the more the host as are shaded
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Taryn Hesse
Posts: 85
Location: Rainy Cold Temperate Harz Mountains Germany 450m South Facing River Valley
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Here's some black salsify photos from the garden
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Three, two, one year old plant
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