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What means "perennial"?

 
Xisca Nicolas
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Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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When we speak about it...
When you, author, write about it...
What is perennial, the plant, or the garden?

A perennial plant lives more time than an annual or bisannual! This is the basic answer though not enough...

Some asked if self-seeded annuals are considered as perennial?
No and yes.

They are not perennial plants, nethertheless part of perennial gardens don't you think so ?

And what's about the root of a perennial plant that you eat?
It is the same as an annual, you have to sow it again.
Then a self seeded salad is more perennial than any root!
 
Mountain Krauss
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Location: Northern California
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I think in terms of self-sufficiency. Assuming the soil is fertile and healthy, can a plant sustain itself without me tilling, seeding, or fertilizing? If so, it's self-sufficient in my eyes and a welcome member of the farm. Perennials tend to be better at this than annuals, but as you note, there are many exceptions to this. Annual "weeds" are especially likely to be self-sufficient.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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I am glad I asked, as your answer surprised me, so great!
Quite good criteria, the limit is that you do not include watering.
We are many not to rely only on rain! (I am not the last in this...) :
At this, perennials are also better anyway!
 
Mike Haych
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Location: Eastern Canada, Zone 5a
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Annuals that self-seed are perennial.
 
Anni Kelsey
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I think it is about perennial plants and perennial gardens and best not to get too hung up on definitions. As Xisca says a perennial plant lasts for longer than an annual, but a self seeding annual can come back year after year without any work at all. I like both types because I get food for no work.

Perennial roots can look a bit like a contradiction in terms, but if a plant produces multiple tubers then you save / replant some and eat the others. If there is just one like a tap root then it might re-grow. My experience with scorzonera has been that it reliably regrows if you cut off the top few inches and replant (with a few leaves, reduced in size) and eat the rest. I am trying to grow other tap rooted vegetables like parsnip and daikon radish but have not had much success growing them in the first place. However I have just replanted my first parsnip and will see what happens. I am hoping it will regrow, but if it doesn't I know it will produce seed next year, probably lots and lots and then I will be able to broadcast the seed for new plants the following year. I will have so much seed there will be more chance of successful germination and hopefully I get more food for very little work. But we shall see.

 
Mike Haych
Posts: 225
Location: Eastern Canada, Zone 5a
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Anni Kelsey wrote:
Perennial roots can look a bit like a contradiction in terms, but if a plant produces multiple tubers then you save / replant some and eat the others. If there is just one like a tap root then it might re-grow. My experience with scorzonera has been that it reliably regrows if you cut off the top few inches and replant (with a few leaves, reduced in size) and eat the rest.


The only benefit that I can see of sunchokes over potatoes is that you can naturalize them and create a living larder as insurance against emergencies. The same applies to skirret, scorzonera, apios. There is no less work involved - you dig up and you replant. You disturb the soil just as much, maybe even more if your chokes are growing in wild-ish areas. On the minus side of the scale is the significantly smaller yield of these "perennial" roots compared to "annual" roots such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, turnip, Daikon radish, and parsnip. French fried chokes? Mashed chokes? Choke salad? Choke latkes? I dunnno...........

Why do I always hear sunchokes mentioned as a root vegetable by permies and rarely, if ever, potatoes, etc.? Could it be that the teachers aren't thinking enough about what they are teaching?
 
Mountain Krauss
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Location: Northern California
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Xisca, you make a good point about watering. In a perennial system, a plant should be self-sufficient with water as well. We only get 15" of rain annually, and we aren't very good at capturing water yet. We don't till and we mulch, which helps, but I'm just starting to build hugelkultur variants and brush dams, so hopefully we can capture more of this winter's rains.
 
Anni Kelsey
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Re Mike's comment about the work involved in growing things. There are different ways to grow and different amounts of work. Because my garden is so full of vegetables and other things there are (almost) no unwanted plants (weeds) which means no work at all during the summer months. The thing I am interested in is the amount of produce from the garden versus the hours of "work" put in and my experience is that I am happy with how that works out.

I agree with the point about potatoes. They can be a plant / replant vegetable just like many others. I don't often use them as in the UK our wet summers mean potato blight. I did try this year and although it was dry for a good while at the start of the summer we then had a very, very wet period and all the spuds got blight in no time at all.

Anni
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Anni Kelsey wrote:I like both types because I get food for no work.

...regrows if you cut off the top few inches and replant (with a few leaves, reduced in size) and eat the rest.
However I have just replanted my first parsnip and will see what happens. I am hoping it will regrow, but if it doesn't I know it will produce seed next year, probably lots and lots ...


Less work (to do more on other sides....) is the main point!

I got my 1st parsnips seeds and still did not try to eat any root, let's see if they taste ok with no freeze!!!
I have just seen that celery roots have "sprouts" on their side, so I wanted to replant these, let's see!

I have potatoes everywhere without growing any....
Most of my veggies self-seed here.
I love weeding extra growth of these non-weeds!!!
 
Anni Kelsey
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Xisca

Most of my veggies self-seed here.
I love weeding extra growth of these non-weeds!!!


I like it Anni
 
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