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Most productive perennial vegetables?

 
Posts: 1
Location: Olympia, WA
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PNW: I grew a Akebia, or chocolate vine from seed. I got the seed from a garden on Queen Ann Hill in Seattle. I live in Olympia, WA so wet, colder a bit than Seattle. The Seattle Akebia had "fruit". It looks like big pods full of seeds in Seattle. With a gelatinous gooey opaque white can I call it fruit? It was sweet and delicious. I think they need a lot of sun to get the fruit, mine are partial shade. Otherwise the vines are beautiful, very hardy, don't entirely lose their leaves in winter.  My vine is 2 years old, and no fruit yet.  I'm going to start growing sunchokes. We  have 2 acres, of which one is forest, about 2 miles from downtown Olympia. So we are essentially in a town but have our own well water. I grew Orach for a leafy green that re-seeds, did well here.  I have a fig tree that does pretty well.
Also, kiwi both the fuzzy, and "hardy". The Hardy or grape, or Anna Kiwi (all names for it), took 7 years to harvest, but are they wonderful, the skin is smooth, pinching off tassle to eat. Can harvest when just barely ripe to ripen inside since the racoons and birds will eat them right away if you don't get them first. They drip down from the branches like grapes. We harvest, clean them, then freeze, and use all winter long.  Very little work required to grow, that's my kind of plant.  Apple trees doing exceptionally well, but they are very old so well established. I harvest  Spruce tips in spring and have made a tincture, and a balm. If you grow a wild cherry tree, you can take the bark and make an excellent tincture for respiratory problems. We had one already on the property. Chickweed grows fast in spring, and miners lettuce. Look for wild ginger, I have a patch that mysteriously appeared under the rhoddys, and are spreading like crazy, loving the shade. If you plant a Linden tree, the bees will love you. Also, the flowers harvested and dried make a wonderful tasting calming tea, popular in Europe. A very pretty, hardy tree to grow. You can find them in cities along parking strips everywhere.  We used strong black mesh deer fencing between poles, or can be stapled right onto branches around the property, as the deer eat everything, even rose bushes. Made a gate this year by attaching a pole to the mesh, then the pole into a pvc pipe in the ground down about 6 inches to hold the pole. When opening, lifting the pole up out of the pvc, moving it over to another pvc pipe that is set to accept the pole the distance of the opening.  Does this make sense? It's been a great way to have a gate!  Brenner gardens online is where I got the roll of fencing. I am brand new to this site, so this is my first posting.
 
Posts: 50
Location: New Hampshire, USA zone 5/6
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I’m surprised at how many people reported having trouble with ground nut. I put some in a small garden on the northwest corner of a building. The soil was terrible so I dug in about 2 gallons of my partially finished compost before putting the ground nuts in. They came up happily every year. I will say they seem to have a later season than many other perennials in my region. I loved seeing the beautiful almost pine cone looking flower. I just had to dig all the tubers up as the landlord decided they didn’t want anything climbing near the building. I’ve moved them to the west side of my house and look forward to seeing how hey do in this new location.

I haven’t yet tried eating any. If they do well this year I will probably try eating some. I’ll try to remember to take a picture of them when they are flowering which is usually late summer possibly even into autumn.
 
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Posts: 1626
Location: Maine, zone 5
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Jackie Frobese wrote:I’m surprised at how many people reported having trouble with ground nut.



Hi Jackie!  I was also a bit surprised as they do well for me here in Maine.  Maybe we're lucky to live in an area they like?  I'm placing an order with Oikos for the "Maine groundnuts" as I'd like some that produce beans as well.  My current strain doesn't seem to set seeds....maybe a triploid?
 
pollinator
Posts: 197
Location: Illinois USA - USDA Zone 5b
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S Tonin wrote:And Lamb's Quarters, which I can't get rid of no matter how hard I try.



I encourage lamb's quarters and have 2 areas of it that I use heavily each year. I actually feed it well-rotted manure and expanded production. I harvest it by the armload daily for my chickens. I have pondered harvesting and drying it for "hay" for them for the winter. Love the stuff.  
 
pollinator
Posts: 314
Location: Athens, GA Zone 8a
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Victor Skaggs wrote:Crosnes... a variety of betony (Stachys) with tuberous roots which are a bit minty, strange looking, but were a favorite in Colonial gardens (we're always aware of this connection being so close to Monticello). Get a patch of them going in a growing bed and they will spread and proliferate. When you dig them you always miss some, and any bit left in the ground will make a new plant.



I ordered some Crosnes ("Chinese artichoke," Stachys affinis) from someone on Etsy, and when they came I tasted one to be sure I was going to like them. YUM! I've now got them in a raised bed all by themselves and am glad to hear you say they will spread and proliferate. I read somewhere they can be left in the ground until needed and should survive in my zone 8a. The tuber looks like a little Michelin Man. I only ate the one raw because I didn't want to waste my planting stock, but I'm looking forward to trying them in stir fries, too.

 
pollinator
Posts: 1981
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Tyler Ludens wrote:I have Malabar Spinach but I think it is a tropical plant, isn't it?  Probably won't make it through the winter without special care.


Even in my zone11 they don't pass Winter... Considere them as annuals!
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Posts: 1981
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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David Huang wrote:No one has yet mentioned two of best perennial vegetables I grow so far, so I suppose I should.  They are daylillies and common milkweed.  I like both of these because they provide a steady supply of food over a long period of time.

With the daylillies I'll start harvesting some of the early shoots, which are among the first green things to poke out of the ground around here in the spring.  Then later it can literally be a daily harvest of either the large almost ready to open buds, or the daily flowers (I usually pick them in the evening as the sun is about to go down so I've gotten to enjoy them as flowers before having them as food).  I could also pick wilted flowers, that had been opened the day before, but find these tend to be great hang out spots for various bugs, so I leave it to them.  I understand the tubers are also edible, but haven't yet tried any.  I've been trying to get mine to spread and propogate more thus I haven't dug any up.  I've got the common, wild orange type along with several other varieties I bought and planted.  While I didn't do this on purpose it turns out that I made excellent selections for other types in that they don't all flower at the same time.  Instead I have a succession of various types flowering spread out nicely giving me a constant supply for months.  (Before anyone asks, I don't know the names of the types I bought anymore.)

With the common milkweed one does need to cook them, but despite what many wild edible plant books say you don't need any sort of complex double or triple boiling techniques to remove the "bitter" aspects.  If your milkweed is bitter, spit it out.  Common milkweed is NOT bitter!  Anyway, in the spring I can eat the shoots.  Later in the season I harvest the flower bud clusters, then the flowers, and finally the immature pods.  Again, this is a perennial plant that provides an abundance of food over a long period of time.  I let mine grow it's colonies in and around the garden beds where I'll plant other things around among them.  They certainly attract pollinators as well.



Can you please provide good pics or better even: the latin name?

For me, milkweed is euphorbia peplus and I do not consider it as an edible, as it Will be eaten by both rabbits and cuys… and Will kill them with very Little!

Many plants can have the same common name, and this important to know what we eat when we talk about edibles...
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Posts: 1981
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Casie Becker wrote:It won't help with you not liking artichokes, but I cooked the flower stalk as well as the actual artichoke and it came out just as tender as the artichoke heart, but there was a lot more of it.  Seems like by eating only the flower head our artichoke industry is ignoring 75% or more of the good eating on that plant.


YES!
Same for burdock by the way…. same familly, and the stem is perfectly edible.

And Roberto, about the edible leaves… well the stem of the leave is the edible part, and the french eat them very commonly, up to the point that there are special varieties that have been developped for their leaves, and the flowers are still edible but small….

About taste, it is all about the sauce béchamel, because of some bitterness.
They are eaten in autumn and you can get better tender leaves by letting them in the dark with soft cardboard or thick paper.
 
pollinator
Posts: 407
Location: Clemson, SC ("new" Zone 8a)
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Diane Kistner wrote:I ordered some Crosnes ("Chinese artichoke," Stachys affinis) from someone on Etsy, and when they came I tasted one to be sure I was going to like them. YUM! I've now got them in a raised bed all by themselves and am glad to hear you say they will spread and proliferate. I read somewhere they can be left in the ground until needed and should survive in my zone 8a. The tuber looks like a little Michelin Man. I only ate the one raw because I didn't want to waste my planting stock, but I'm looking forward to trying them in stir fries, too.



Thank you for cross-referencing the various names, including the full latin name!  Very useful.  I gave you an apple for your efforts : )
 
Diane Kistner
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Posts: 314
Location: Athens, GA Zone 8a
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Matthew Nistico wrote:Thank you for cross-referencing the various names, including the full latin name!  Very useful.  I gave you an apple for your efforts : )



Thank you! The one thing I didn't remember to mention is that there seem to be two different pronunciations of Crosnes: "Crow's knees" or "Crones." I think the French pronounce it "Crones." I can't decide which pronunciation I like the best because both are kind of cool. How do people here pronounce it?

 
Matthew Nistico
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Diane Kistner wrote:The one thing I didn't remember to mention is that there seem to be two different pronunciations of Crosnes: "Crow's knees" or "Crones." I think the French pronounce it "Crones." I can't decide which pronunciation I like the best because both are kind of cool. How do people here pronounce it?



I speak a very little French - though enough to enable communication that once got a wee college student version of myself out of Italy and back to the UK after missing the last train, even while bereft of Italian currency, and when I was otherwise less than 24 hours from missing my return flight to the US and being stranded in Europe, LOL! - so I can answer your question.  I believe the French town, Crosne, would be pronounced something like "crone," and so would then be the plant named for it.  The plural is still pronounced "crone" - the final "s" would be silent.  If you care to anglicize it, you can choose to pronounce the plural as "crones."

I support the reality embraced by linguists, yet denied by most English teachers in our Age of Print, that languages are dynamic, living, and ever-evolving entities.  Subsequently, I do NOT frown on localizing adopted words from other languages over time and repeated use.  Thus, after a century of American usage, I feel confident that the Indiana university should be pronounced "noter dame," even while the Parisian cathedral remains "Notre Damme."

This particular species of Asian betony, however, can hardly claim that history of English language usage.  Therefore, I for one plan to use the French pronunciation.  That is, when I am not calling it "Chinese artichoke," which seems a lot catchier than Crosne in the first place.

Getting back to the plant itself, I am very glad that this thread has brought it to my attention.  It seems perfectly suited to my climate and to my own food forest usage, and I look forward to giving some a try in the coming years!  At the moment I am rather short on productive ground cover species.  I have already checked, and the tubers are easy enough to be purchased online.
 
Diane Kistner
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Matthew Nistico wrote:I speak a very little French - though enough to enable communication that once got a wee college student version of myself out of Italy and back to the UK after missing the last train, even while bereft of Italian currency, and when I was otherwise less than 24 hours from missing my return flight to the US and being stranded in Europe, LOL! - so I can answer your question.  I believe the French town, Crosne, would be pronounced something like "crone," and so would then be the plant named for it.  The plural is still pronounced "crone" - the final "s" would be silent.  If you care to anglicize it, you can choose to pronounce the plural as "crones."



Oh my goodness, I did a similar thing, too! The year I went to Europe alone, when everyone "over there" knew Nixon was bombing Cambodia but nobody in the States did yet. I won't talk about all the spittle....

This has been a most enjoyable conversation. "Crone" it is. I hope you like this vegetable as much as I do, Matthew.

 
Matthew Nistico
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Matthew Nistico wrote:This particular species of Asian betony, however, can hardly claim that history of English language usage.  Therefore, I for one plan to use the French pronunciation.  That is, when I am not calling it "Chinese artichoke," which seems a lot catchier than Crosne in the first place.



Okay, if we are discussing linguistics, then I have a question for the permies: what is up with this apparent trend of naming any novel root crop an "artichoke"?!  Same deal with the Jerusalem artichoke.  Neither one has the first damned thing to do with an artichoke.  What next?  Will we start calling yacons "Peruvian artichokes"?  Although at least in calling Stachys affinis the "Chinese artichoke" they managed to get the continent right.  Jerusalem artichokes are North American!
 
Diane Kistner
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Matthew Nistico wrote:Okay, if we are discussing linguistics, then I have a question for the permies: what is up with this apparent trend of naming any novel root crop an "artichoke"?!  Same deal with the Jerusalem artichoke.  Neither one has the first damned thing to do with an artichoke.  What next?  Will we start calling yacons "Peruvian artichokes"?  Although at least in calling Stachys affinis the "Chinese artichoke" they managed to get the continent right.  Jerusalem artichokes are North American!



LOL! I'm getting such a kick out of this thread. ;)

 
pollinator
Posts: 160
Location: Southeast Arizona, Latitude 31, Zone 8A, Cold Semi-Arid, USGS Ecoregion 79a
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Lol, I don't think I could ever get used to calling crosnes Chinese artichokes. I stumble over explaining to folks, when I say "sunchokes," that they might know them as Jerusalem artichokes.

For what it's worth re: crosnes, I worked at the restaurant started by the chef and talked often to the farmer who together are credited with bringing crosnes from France to the States (in the '70s or '80s? I can't remember). Odessa Piper, who had done a little farming, started L'Etoile Restaurant in Madison, WI, which is still open and still purchases most of its ingredients from local farmers. The story is that she visited France and tried crosnes and loved them, so she stuffed some in her dirty socks and smuggled them back to Madison in her luggage. She handed them over to her friend Richard at Harmony Valley Farm (I can just imagine the look on his face) and he planted them. He thought for a few years recently that he'd lost them (i.e. couldn't find any coming up), but then discovered a hidden patch, and they returned to the big famous farmers' market around the capitol square in Madison.

I love those little crunchy grubs. I think of them as mint tubers, since they're Lamiaceae. I'd love to try growing them here in the desert, but don't know if they'd make it. I do intend to try sunchokes.
 
Matthew Nistico
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Beth Wilder wrote:Lol, I don't think I could ever get used to calling crosnes Chinese artichokes. I stumble over explaining to folks, when I say "sunchokes," that they might know them as Jerusalem artichokes.

For what it's worth re: crosnes, I worked at the restaurant started by the chef and talked often to the farmer who together are credited with bringing crosnes from France to the States (in the '70s or '80s? I can't remember). Odessa Piper, who had done a little farming, started L'Etoile Restaurant in Madison, WI, which is still open and still purchases most of its ingredients from local farmers. The story is that she visited France and tried crosnes and loved them, so she stuffed some in her dirty socks and smuggled them back to Madison in her luggage. She handed them over to her friend Richard at Harmony Valley Farm (I can just imagine the look on his face) and he planted them. He thought for a few years recently that he'd lost them (i.e. couldn't find any coming up), but then discovered a hidden patch, and they returned to the big famous farmers' market around the capitol square in Madison.

I love those little crunchy grubs. I think of them as mint tubers, since they're Lamiaceae. I'd love to try growing them here in the desert, but don't know if they'd make it. I do intend to try sunchokes.



What a fascinating story!  Thanks for sharing.

I of course have already announced that I've not yet grown these myself, but I did spend an hour Googling and reading about them earlier today.  I imagine that your Arizona climate will fit within their acceptable range so far as temps go.  But being a type of mint, as you say, they do prefer moister soil.  Sounds like you would have to do a lot of irrigating to get them to thrive in the open : (

Do you have any ponds or streams on your land?  If so, then perhaps you could establish them adjacent to the water.  Otherwise, maybe in a greenhouse?  Or perhaps in a series of pots that you kept next to your zone 0 - i.e. on a patio - and watered regularly.  A lot of maintenance, but might be your best bet.
 
Beth Wilder
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Thanks, Matthew! We do actually get mint to grow here: partially under a mesquite tree, and at the very beginning of the gravity-fed greywater dripline, which gets more regular water than the end. But after trying sweet potatoes in that bed last year we've decided that roots and tubers mess with our carefully placed mulched dripline too much (if it gets moved out of its carefully graded path, it won't flow), so we're planning a root and tuber bed in our new garden. It won't be irrigated except by monsoon floodwater, which is why I'm thinking crosnes wouldn't thrive there. But there are a couple mesquites bracketing the area we're thinking of, so maybe I'll try planting some in their shade and just seeing how they do.

There are some local native perennials here that we're thinking of encouraging for their edible tubers: Hog potato (Hoffmanseggia glauca, in the legume family), Flame flower (Talinum aurantiacum and other related species, not Delonix regia from Madagascar), and a tuberous morning glory whose particular species of Ipomoea I'm currently forgetting and can't seem to find online (not sure if this is technically perennial, but works as well for our purposes). Don't know for sure yet how well they'd yield if encouraged.

Another Talinum species, jewels of Opar (Talinum paniculatum), grows abundantly in the shady thickets near us, so we're encouraging that by us (again, I think technically an annual, but seems to self-seed easily). It has tasty, thick and juicy leaves, mild-tasting, a little tart. It's related to purslane (Portulaca species), which grows abundantly here in sunnier areas and which we're also encouraging. That's a good yielder, although neither of those greens are carbohydratey.

If you can grow mesquite (Prosopis species, especially glandulosa, pubescens, and velutina) where you are, it produces copious pods most years that are edible in all sorts of ways (I just finished a delicious mesquite and agave small beer) as well as good wood for cookfires, carving, etc. I see carob lauded in many permaculture books, but mesquite is our native carob. Ground pods apparently have the same protein and more carbohydrates, fat, and fiber by volume than white or whole wheat flour: https://extension.arizona.edu/sites/extension.arizona.edu/files/pubs/az1644-2014.pdf.

Opuntia species -- many kinds of prickly pear and cholla in particular -- are great perennial yielders for fruit as well as (in the case of prickly pear) pads and (in the case of cholla) buds. Cholla buds are packed with nutrition: "A two-tablespoon helping has as much calcium as a glass of milk, and the mucilage they contain is reported to help balance blood-sugar levels. They will readily absorb the flavors of whatever they are cooked with. Terrific in antipastos, chiles, salads and sautées, use them as you would artichoke hearts or asparagus tips." (https://www.nativeseeds.org/products/sxc005?variant=329197323) (Hey! It's artichokes again! But I think they're much more like the tips of asparagus spears. Also, that "mucilage" is easily overcome in cooking, and some stays behind in the soaking water when you rehydrate dried buds, and that water then can help bind gluten-free breads.) We're more or less constantly encouraging all our Opuntias and bringing them into our zones 1, 2, and 3, although one type (a pencil cholla with citrusy fruit that lingers on the cactus all year) seems to be suffering some tragedy of sand fleas or something right now that's decimated the largest specimen and is threatening others.

Actually, everything is suffering this late spring/early summer, with a long mild wet winter and cool spring causing unexpected plant life (lots of tansy mustard, for example) that brought in unexpected bugs (sand fleas, for example), followed by a later than usual monsoon start that's stressing the mesquite lands and all their denizens. But last year everything suffered from a hotter than usual May and June and an earlier than usual monsoon start seemingly sparked by hurricanes elsewhere, so... We just keep trying things and watching!
 
Xisca Nicolas
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I am French.
Crosnes is pronounced the same as the disease Crohn!
lol we have a lot of Ss that we do not pronounce… many consonants at the end of words are not pronounced at all. In substantives, the letter at the end is often a remnant that Will just give you an idea of the verb that matches.

Plants called "artichokes something" are all from the same familly and have a similar taste.

You can say the same for spinach… New Zealand spinach is tetragone.
The south African tree called "Natal plum" for the form and color similarity, goes by the wonderful latin name of carissa, why not use it?
Malabar spinach has such an easy latin name, so why not call it basella? You then have the choice between the alba and rubra, and I chose the second, meaning red, because I am attracted by violet pigments in food. It means for me that this is my body's choice for the kind of anti-oxydant she needs!
 
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Matthew Nistico wrote:

Matthew Nistico wrote:This particular species of Asian betony, however, can hardly claim that history of English language usage.  Therefore, I for one plan to use the French pronunciation.  That is, when I am not calling it "Chinese artichoke," which seems a lot catchier than Crosne in the first place.



Okay, if we are discussing linguistics, then I have a question for the permies: what is up with this apparent trend of naming any novel root crop an "artichoke"?!  Same deal with the Jerusalem artichoke.  Neither one has the first damned thing to do with an artichoke.  What next?  Will we start calling yacons "Peruvian artichokes"?  Although at least in calling Stachys affinis the "Chinese artichoke" they managed to get the continent right.  Jerusalem artichokes are North American!



"Jerusalem" is an English eggcorn for "girasole" (sunflower) and "artichoke" because someone thought it tastes like one. "Artichoke sunflower" isn't any more egregious than "pineapple" imo.
 
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Matthew Nistico wrote:

Okay, if we are discussing linguistics, then I have a question for the permies: what is up with this apparent trend of naming any novel root crop an "artichoke"?!  Same deal with the Jerusalem artichoke....Jerusalem artichokes are North American!



My friend and I have been calling them Helianthus tubers and it's starting to stick around here. ;)
 
Matthew Nistico
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Meg Mitchell wrote:"Artichoke sunflower" isn't any more egregious than "pineapple" imo.



Good point about pineapples.  Nothing to do with pine trees, nor with apples.

I have always wondered if that was not an eggcorn itself for "spiny apple," but I've never read as much; I'm just totally pulling that out of my ass, LOL!
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Sally Munoz wrote:My friend and I have been calling them Helianthus tubers and it's starting to stick around here. ;)


In France my father called them Hélianthe Ey-lee-ant
but he did not know that the tuber was edible! We had them for the flowers and as a border along the Street.

My father complained that he could not contain them and had to keep removing them from the veggie garden! And they all ended up in the compost after some drying!

In Tahitian, pineapple is called painapo… so you can tell that this was not grown there by their ancesters! Pronounce it like pineapple, suppressing the l sound and thus ending with a -o sound!
 
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Biggest producing perennials I can think of..

Starch/root crops:
Jerusalem artichokes/sunchokes
Sweet potato
Dioscoria yam
Cassava/yuca
Bananas (harvested green)

Leafy greens:
Malabar spinach (green stem variety)
Sweet potato (for leaves)
Tree collard
Moringa

Vegetables:
Choko/chayote
Fig leaf gourd

Herbs:
Perennial basil

 
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Location: Central Virginia
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Sally Munoz wrote:

Matthew Nistico wrote:

Okay, if we are discussing linguistics, then I have a question for the permies: what is up with this apparent trend of naming any novel root crop an "artichoke"?!  Same deal with the Jerusalem artichoke....Jerusalem artichokes are North American!



My friend and I have been calling them Helianthus tubers and it's starting to stick around here. ;)



Jerusalem artichoke is a mispronounced Italian term: girasola articiocco. Girasola means "sunflower", literally "turns to the sun". English speakers thought it was "Jerusalem". It was called "articiocco" because the sunflower is related to artichoke and the plants do have some similarity, especially when young.
 
Victor Skaggs
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Beth Wilder wrote:Lol, I don't think I could ever get used to calling crosnes Chinese artichokes. I stumble over explaining to folks, when I say "sunchokes," that they might know them as Jerusalem artichokes.

For what it's worth re: crosnes, I worked at the restaurant started by the chef and talked often to the farmer who together are credited with bringing crosnes from France to the States (in the '70s or '80s? I can't remember). Odessa Piper, who had done a little farming, started L'Etoile Restaurant in Madison, WI, which is still open and still purchases most of its ingredients from local farmers. The story is that she visited France and tried crosnes and loved them, so she stuffed some in her dirty socks and smuggled them back to Madison in her luggage. She handed them over to her friend Richard at Harmony Valley Farm (I can just imagine the look on his face) and he planted them. He thought for a few years recently that he'd lost them (i.e. couldn't find any coming up), but then discovered a hidden patch, and they returned to the big famous farmers' market around the capitol square in Madison.

I love those little crunchy grubs. I think of them as mint tubers, since they're Lamiaceae. I'd love to try growing them here in the desert, but don't know if they'd make it. I do intend to try sunchokes.



Crosnes were in the 13 Colonies long before their reintroduction in the 1970's. They were grown at Monticello, Williamsburg, etc.

I'm growing them now to sell in the farmers market, and to eat ourselves. As they are a type of betony, perhaps betony tubers or something similar would be a better name as English speakers have trouble with the pronunciation of French words (remember the TV commercials for Moulin Rouge where they said it, "moo-lon"... made me shudder and cringe, but then I'm an insufferable linguistic snob, or so I've been told when correcting peoples' pronunciation of Spanish and French words).
 
Victor Skaggs
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Xisca Nicolas wrote:

Sally Munoz wrote:My friend and I have been calling them Helianthus tubers and it's starting to stick around here. ;)


In France my father called them Hélianthe Ey-lee-ant
but he did not know that the tuber was edible! We had them for the flowers and as a border along the Street.

My father complained that he could not contain them and had to keep removing them from the veggie garden! And they all ended up in the compost after some drying!

In Tahitian, pineapple is called painapo… so you can tell that this was not grown there by their ancesters! Pronounce it like pineapple, suppressing the l sound and thus ending with a -o sound!



In Latin languages the common names of many herbs are like their Latin Genus designations... lemonbalm in Castilian is "melisa", sage is "salvia", mugwort is "artemisa", and so on. Makes them easy to remember!
 
Posts: 10
Location: Southeast Michigan, suburban, zone 6a
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Just so you all know. The link to Bountiful gGardens has not been good for a couple years. They folded.
 
pollinator
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Sundial Seed Co. replaced Bountiful Gardens (I don't know if it's some of the same people or what) and they carry the tree collards.  I haven't purchased from them yet, so I don't know how similar to BG the company is.
 
Sue Magyari
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Location: Southeast Michigan, suburban, zone 6a
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So right you are! And I checked. YES! They have purple tree collards, 3 cuttings for 16.00
 
Matthew Nistico
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Location: Clemson, SC ("new" Zone 8a)
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I have a candidate for a productive perennial veggie!  I don't know if it is the most productive of all the options out there, but I have had great success with Toona sinensis, AKA Chinese mahogany.  It is one of the few woody perennials with high quality leaves that can be grown reliably outside of the tropics.  Left to its own, it will become an 80' timber tree.  But I coppiced mine to encourage more and shorter sprouts, which I intend to repeat every year or two.  Toona sends up a lot of root suckers, and does so even more once the trunks are cut.

I planted several in a tight area.  This wasn't intentional: I would plant one, think that it died when young, then replace it the following year.  But over time I noticed that some of the ones I'd thought were dead seemed to be coming back.  With all of the root suckering from these multiple crowns, especially after I coppiced them back, I basically now have an expanding thicket of thin trunks instead of, in the strictest sense, a tree.  Whenever I want some leaves, I just bend one of the trunks down and snap off three or four or a half dozen of the little side branches, which are no more than 1' or 2' long and lined with leaves on each side.

Toona grows fast!  I coppiced mine in 2018, and the tallest trunks are now about 15'.  It seems very hardy now that it is well-established in my area.  I haven't noticed hardly any pest problems, nor does it look wilty whenever we get a stretch of several dry weeks in the 90's, which we get several times every summer here.  My toona thicket grows just under and to the east of a tall tree, so I would describe its sighting as somewhere between "sunny" and "partial shade," and it seems very happy there.  It's extremely productive.  In fact, I need to eat more of it, because so far I am only harvesting a very small percentage of the leaves each year - I would say up to 5%, whereas I'm guessing I could harvest up to 50% without stunting growth.

Traditionally, the sprouts of branches are harvested repeatedly in early spring when very very small.  These grow in little tufts at the tips of the trunks.  But I find it much easier to just pick branches full of mature leaves all through the late spring, summer, and up until they yellow and drop in the fall.  Each mature leaf is dark green and has a thick central rib.  Focus on the larger leaves - 1.5" to 3" or 4" - and grasp each firmly at its base with one hand.  When you've developed the right touch, you can strip the two halves of the leaf off quickly with the other hand, leaving the rib still attached to the branch.  Work up and down the branch in this manner, then repeat with a few more branches, and pretty soon you have a nice little pile of rib-less leaves on your cutting board.  Mince these up very finely and add to a variety of Asian dishes.  You can eat raw, but I always include while cooking the dish.

The leaves have a distinctly musky taste, something like a cross between leek and garlic.  I like to whisk up a couple eggs, add a handful of minced leaves plus a dash of fish sauce, and cook in a little sesame oil to make a cheese-less Asian omelette.  I also add the minced leaves to most any variation on fried rice or similar dish.  I've even added them to curries and Indian-style stir fries.  One traditional dish I found online makes a sauce of the minced leaves with sesame and pours it over tofu cubes.  Sounds nice, but I don't eat a lot of tofu.

I will be very eager to learn other permies' favorite toona recipes : )
 
pollinator
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Location: OK High Plains Prairie, 23" rain avg
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Pigweed, purslane, rose hips, amaranth seeds. Yucca fruit, cactus pads and fruit, juniper berries - haven't tried these yet. Pinon nuts, serviceberry, chokecherry.
 
Meg Mitchell
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New Zealand spinach is a perennial supposedly hardy to zone 8-11. I didn't have a lot of info about it when I planted it, just that it was perennial in "warm climates", and assumed my climate wasn't warm enough when it disintegrated in fall. I took the soil it was in and moved it elsewhere, leaving the roots in because I assumed they would compost down eventually. I haven't watered much back there and it doesn't get rain so I think these fellas are okay with some rough treatment after everything I've put them through.

I'm not a fan of it raw because it just tastes like a random leaf (does chlorophyll have a flavor?). You can cook it like regular spinach, I would personally flavor it a bit or mix with other greens. There's nothing offensive about the flavor but not much to write home about either. For soapmakers, you cannot use it as a substitute for spinach in spinach soap because it will react with lye, it doesn't have the magic protein that spinach has.
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