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Anni: can we push an annual to perennialise

 
Lorenzo Costa
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Hi Anni, and all, I'm very eager to start planting perennial vegetables, and it will be the first thing I'll do after starting to prep my space.
Reading hot grow a forest garden Patrick Whitefield explains that he has tried with success in some cases to push an annual to perennialise. If I recall well he stated it was a matter of shading.
Have you mangaed to notice something like this in your gardens?

It's nice to read about perennial vegetables and how many there are, because we have to gain our knowledge on them again. in Italy we have a great tradition of using jerusalem artichoke, but we miss many other vegetables that I think in Great Britain you have been working on much more. we have wild onions, and many other wild plant that are perennials, wild apsaragus, but we have to start working on many more. I sometimes think what happens is when you have something you sort of get use to the fact it's there and don't go searching for more. And that is what we have to do instead.
My obsession is to read anything on nine star broccoli, I can't wait to get some seeds of tat and start planting.
In my vision I would like to grow perennials and sell them educating the clients to new flavours working with a friend thats a cook in a restaurant, I think there could be a lot to gain from that, and even for the clients. I'm obvioously speaking of bigger spaces on which I'll work but even starting small will help me. first for me then when I will have a surplus I'll think of selling.
I think it's nice that we speak about forest gardens, but I guess we could in your case speak about garden forest, it's not a question of semantics but of spaces. it's bit like what Eric Toensemier has been doing with his garden in the states. you can have different levels even if you work without the big tall canopies we associate when thinking of forest gardens. In a garden forest it's like the canopy could be a Jerusalem artichoke, not necessarily a plum tree.

Martin Crawford gives the definition that a perennial is a plant that lives for at least three years or more, the list could be very long and he gives the reader a very long one.
What I liked of your book is that you actually wrote about what you personally experienced, and have achieved, and what you liked as a flavour.

One last thing I want to share: thanks for telling the readers of your book all the new experiences you'll make will be on your blog. thats what very often great books miss out. When I read a book, and in permaculture often they are works in progress, it's very sad to read that in future editions we'll have the updates. You instead have had the simple idea of sharing.
Thank you
hope you'll keep on writing on permies.com
 
Anni Kelsey
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What I tend to do is to look at a plant and consider what its life cycle might be if nobody interfered with it. And then I often let it get on with that life cycle and see how it fits in with obtaining a yield if that is possible.

So, green plants may die in the winter or they may live. Many kales have lived (except winters that have been much harsher than our normal experience). Land cress, a not terribly significant plant is sold as an annual, but I have some in the garden that are two (possibly more) years old. They get larger each year and hotter as well, so I now cook the prolific leafy growth in later winter.

Onion family plants generally have a way of getting through to the next year. Obviously normal onions are starch stores and they flower in the second year, but I did raise one from seed, a red variety that split rather than flowered. But I lost it in a bad winter. I had been hoping I would be able to perpetuate proper onions from it. Leeks will divide at the base if you leave that in the ground and make baby leeks the next year. I have had them returning for a couple of years but then they have died.

Everything has a strategy for its future survival, either through seed production or some vegetative propagation. Conventional root crops like carrots, parsnips, beetroot will flower in the second year. I have kept some carrots for up to three years, but not tried eating them after the first year. I have cut them off an inch or two below the top of the carrot and replanted that part which usually regrows but I have used the resulting flowers to attract insects and also for seed production to start the cycle again. I am trying as many things as I can to see if I can get them to regrow properly but so far it is only scorzonera that I have been able to do this with. This is mainly because I don’t have a lot of time and space or success with growing more conventional vegetables!

I haven’t got Patrick Whitefield’s book to hand tonight or I would check exactly what he says about pushing annuals to perennialise. I will have a look when I can. I would try whatever seems to be a sensible idea and fits in with how you want to grow and your conditions. If it doesn’t work you haven’t lost anything but you have gained more knowledge.
 
Lorenzo Costa
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Hi Anni, I found the point I had read in Patrick Whitefields book, how to make a forest garden, at page 118 he speaks about the possibility of perennialising some brassicas, as spring cabbage. I recalled that paragraph and had a hard time finding it actually.
Anyway I ask, having read what Patrick wrote if using shade and not letting some annuals seed if you think it maybe possible to perennialise annuals a part from brassicas.
I'll try to push this possibility on my land. I hope to be able to give some news in future writing to you.
Thanks for answering and continue to dig your hands in soil.
 
Burra Maluca
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As far as I know, the original 'wild' brassicas were biennial/perennial and have been selected to be annual, or at least raised as annuals. With these, we just have to 'deselect' as they are basically just allowing themselves to revert to normal. I suspect that other species wouldn't be quite so easy.
 
Lorenzo Costa
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I guess too Mother tree ( I love the name hope you don't mind me using it), I know it may be difficult but as Anni wrote let's try who knows. the nice thing of permaculture is that we exercise the art of trying, stretching knowledge to the limit to see, observe.
I'll continue looking for different species of perennials or annuals that where perennials and eventually annualised and take them back to their original cycle.
the nice thing is that we have authors like Anni that share ... and of course permies wher we all share
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Appart from shade, there is heat in winter!
I even have 2 years tomatoes!
And 3 years peppers...

Then there is biology and let the annuals self-seed, they are usually very good at this.
I wander why my cilantro, coriander, does not self-seed...

I have parsley and carrots everywhere, and more, but this one...
 
Dale Hodgins
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My chard, mustard, celantro, lettuce and potatoes have self seeded. Thick areas like this, will be thinned by transplanting and picking. Much of it will survive the winter.
20141016_132538.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20141016_132538.jpg]
 
Anni Kelsey
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To Lorenzo
Anyway I ask, having read what Patrick wrote if using shade and not letting some annuals seed if you think it maybe possible to perennialise annuals a part from brassicas.
I'll try to push this possibility on my land. I hope to be able to give some news in future writing to you.

I'm really not sure, but it's always good to experiment.

Nice photo Dale, I love all those free plants!

Anni
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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