• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Perennial answers to Annual questions  RSS feed

 
                        
Posts: 40
Location: Berkeley,CA
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My intent in starting this thread is to get everyone's input on the best perennial replacements/substitutes for common(or not so common) annual vegetables.  I have grown to love perennials that can fill the roles of traditional vegetables because they are beneficial for everyone involved.  I have to do less work for the same reward and the soil and the life it houses remains undisturbed and is allowed to grow and regenerate.  If you could include the scientific name, if you know it, and what zone/climate you are growing it in that would be much appreciated.  I am currently growng in Oakland, CA (what can I say other than I'm an urban farmer at the moment) where the summers are in the 80's usually and the bay keeps most of the frost off of us in the winter, although we've gotten quite a bit this year as far as California goes.

A Couple Of My Favorites

-Tree Collard Greens(?): Wonderful perennial alternative to garden collards.  We have had a 6' x 6' patch growing for about 4 years now and every week in the spring and fall we get almost a dozen bunches of firm, sweet, spicy collard greens.  grown from cuttings as they don't set seed, not as pest prone as annual greens.  Does anyone know the latin name for them?

-New Zealand Spinach(Tetragonia tetragonioides):  If you live in a hot climate and are in need of an edible ground cover the you would love this vegi.  It can run wild if uncontrolled as it is a runner/creeper, but the abundance of remarkably spinach-like leaves which are slightly tart when raw are worth it for me.  Easy to grow and propigate. but likes quite a bit of water to thrive, perfect for under a water spigot or some such.

I hope to take some pics in the next few days and offer up some more food for thought.  Cheers

 
richie Walsh
Posts: 16
Location: Zone 7 Dublin. Ireland
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi.

I'm also planning to fill up my allotment with as many perennials as I can this spring. Last year when I started renting I had already a rubarb Rheum x hybridum patch from the previous renter, and I planted sunchokes Helianthus tuberosus and asperagus Asparagus officinalis

This year I plan to plant Lovage Rheum x hybridum which is a very strong flavored celery replacement and makes a great base for any soup. and nine star broccoli and tree kale (sorry don't know the latin) as perennial cabbages.  Then perpetual leek Allium ampeloprasum var porrum Which I've heard that in a few years I will be over run by leeks if I plant every offset, but I will never have to plant onions again, and treating some of my garlic as a perennial rather than an anual, which I've been told will give me smaller garlic, but it will do wonders for the soil.

I'm not sure how any of this will work in your climate, but I hope you get some Ideas from it.

Another question to anyone out there is if they have perennial lettuce and how could I get my hands on some?
 
Guy De Pompignac
Posts: 192
Location: SW of France
1
 
ronie dee
Posts: 619
Location: NW MO
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for starting this thread. I am always on the lookout for a decent plant like this.

Day Lily must have been a staple of every old homestead - I usually find an old house foundation where ever i find a patch of Day Lilies. The tuber is excellent raw or cooked and the buds can be put in salads raw, fried or put into soups. I have no clue if the large leaf can be used - I hope someone knows.

The winter onions and stiff neck garlic keep coming back year after year once well established. At first you need to keep replanting the above ground seed bulbs and weed the patch. Harvest a bunch of the onions and leave one  plant in place and move one onion over a bit.  The above ground bulbs of the garlic should be planted all in the bunch just like it comes off the garlic. If you plant each little seed bulb separate, it is very hard to care for. You can plant each seed bulb from the onion separate.  After a while the garlic will need very little care.  The winter onions will need to be weeded some.

Some seasons I can harvest green 'chives' off both plants all winter or most the winter. You could push tree leaves around them and blanch them for a January treat. I dug up some garlic in the dead of winter and the whole thing can be eaten. The onions bulbs below ground are not good all winter. The seed bulbs could be started indoors for chives during heavy snow winters.

(Northwest Missouri)
 
                        
Posts: 40
Location: Berkeley,CA
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ronie a really interesting option on the onion front is Egyptian walking onion(Allium proliferum) aka topset onions or tree onions.  They grow bulblets on the top of their stalks that actually germinate and start growing while still on the living plant which weigh the stalks down enough to make it bend to the ground and 'plant' the bulblets.  Really interesting plant and the chives it makes are quite spicy and good. 

MMMM lily bulbs, good idea.  it's been a while since I have eaten a lily bulb. thanks, tiger lily's are edible as well

I was gonna mention sunchokes, thanks richie.  nothing can be easier to grow than sunchokes and if there is I would like to know about it   Good multipurpose crop too because animals love the tubers and since you pretty much just have to harvest them they make easy fodder.  In addition to that they are mighty pretty in bloom.

Tree kale and Tree collards are one in the same I think and I can't find a proper latin name for them either. hmm
I am interested in more info on these perpetual onions of which you speak.  You talked about planting their offsets so is it more akin to elephant garlic? which is in the leek family.
 
richie Walsh
Posts: 16
Location: Zone 7 Dublin. Ireland
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here is a pretty good article about the  the perennial leek

http://slowlivingessentials.blogspot.com/2010/07/perennial-leeks-most-generous-vegetable.html

Im picking up a few from a farm in spring.




 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would love to have a start of the perennial Tree Collard greens...PM me and I'll send you info if you have seeds or starts you can part with in the spring..

I am always trying to find edible perennials..i would eventually prefer that most of my edibles be self planting (getting old, nearly 60)..

Right now I have been putting in a lot of fruit and nut trees, fruit bushes and vines, perennial herbaceous plants, etc.. I've also attempted winter overing and getting to self seed some of the more hardy annuals but between my husband pulling them  (head injury and deer eating them in the winter)..I'm not getting alot of success with getting the biennial esp to seed..

I have had good luck with a few plants growing from stumps left in the ground though, esp kale and cabbages..

I have really good crops of rhubarb, horseradish, mult onions, herbs, and i have a lot of edible flowers growing like crazy all over my property, esp daylillies by the tons !!

 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9742
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
184
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Elephant garlic (a leek) is a perennial here in Central Texas. I also grow the native wild onion Allium canadense and walking/egyptian onions.
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
we grow Russian red kale as a short lived perennial (4-5 years). every spring i get greens, every summer i get blooms to attract pollinators, every fall i get seeds( by the thousands), every winter i get greens. it repeats after that.  when the plant flowers and goes to seed it re sprouts from old growth nodes. i actually find that i get better harvests from the older plants because they have 5-10 shoots, they are more drought tolerant( WAY drought tolerant after the 2nd year ) perfect for forest gardens.

i also like different perennial onions, as you can keep coming back daily to cut some onion greens, and about once a month a little harvest of green onions.
 
Paula Edwards
Posts: 411
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It seems that perennials are mainly greens and onions, some roots you can bandicoot. In the nightshade family there are some perennials, but short lived and they are only perennial in warmer regions without frost. I think you need both perennials and annuals.
 
                        
Posts: 40
Location: Berkeley,CA
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Of course one needs to have both annuals and perennial in a system, especially if you are trying to be self sufficient.  It's just nice to have a base of perennial plants as a reliable source of food, fodder and organic matter that you don't have to work so hard to get.

Wow soil,  you can keep a red russian kale alive for up to 5 years?  I have overwintered them and had them for a solid two years, but never 4-5.  Bravo.  Where  are you growing?  Any tips?

Brenda,  I would be glad to give you a few cuttings of the tree collards in the spring.  In the fall we cut them back quite a bit as we are a nursery we propagated them to sell, but they should be more than ready in the spring to take a few more.  I will pm you sometime this week and get your info or you can do the same if you beat me to it.  What are mult onions? maybe we could do a trade.

You bring up a good point, ediblecities, that most of the perennials seem to be greens, roots or onions which got me thinking.  Does anyone have experience growing pigeon pea(Cajanus cajan)?  It's a perennial legume that is extensively grown in india and the Caribbean that apparently is super drought tolerant and can live for 5 years or so.  It is something that I have been meaning to try since I live in sunny California, but I don't have much info on it yet.
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
all i do is let the plant do its thing, then once its bloomed, and set seed i cut it back. this stimulates new growth ( which most of the time is just barely coming out) i still toss seeds out every year of course and not all of them make it to perennials. but those are the ones i save seed from. the 2nd year is by far the best producing though, third is good. 4th you can tell the plan is old.
 
Terri Matthews
Posts: 469
Location: Eastern Kansas
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My parents in San jose, California, have perrennial bell peppers. By planting them on a sunny spot right up against their house the bell peppers get enough warmth to not freeze. Usually not, anyways, they occasionally lose a couple of them.

They also have an orange tree NEAR their house: they say the secret is in variety selection, numbers of hours of sunlight, and a wind break (which is their house).

And they have had artichokes in their regular garden for 40 years.

Lastly, my Fathers pride and joy is trellised everybearing blackberries, which gives him fresh berries for his cereal for 8 months out of the year. He says that blackberries are full of antioxidents, and he freezed the excess in a tupperware container for when there are no ripe berries: that way he can have some every day.
 
                  
Posts: 10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you for starting this thread, Does anyone have experience growing perennial vegetables from seed?

I want to start some perennial veggie beds this year, but it is difficult to find plants, so I thought I would look into which ones could be started from seed.

I've seen a video about sea kale (Crambe maritima) that looks easy to start from seed.

Any others that you know of??
thanks!
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9742
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
184
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Some perennial vegetables from seed:

Garlic chives
Chives
Welsh onion
Asparagus
Good King Henry
Lovage
French sorrel


Some of these are available from this supplier:  http://jlhudsonseeds.net/
 
Terri Matthews
Posts: 469
Location: Eastern Kansas
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Artichokes
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
88
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I like using celery occasionally, but growing the annual European plant is a PITA.
Perennial picking celery (Apium graveolens) doesn't have big, crispy stalks, but it's got the celery flavour and is draught-tolerant.
I consider potatoes a perennial since I've always got some I mised popping up. I havn't (yet) had any of the dread diseases 'experts' predict.
Rocoto chilli (Pubescens) mainly originates in mountainous Peru, so is perennial in fairly cold climates. Yummy, not insanely spicy fruit and doesn't cross with it's promiscuous cousins!
 
Brian Bales
Posts: 90
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Well I've lurked long enough. Love this board and you folks are responsible for a whole slew of new projects. I've been hunting down perennial and tree crops for my BOC orchard soon to be BOC forest garden. I've got seed for sea kale, good king henry and sorrel ordered. I already have beds of asparagus, rhubarb and artichokes growing happily. I also lucked out and found an interesting little seed company with some unique perennials. http://everwilde.com/index.html May Apple, most of the plant is not edible but it produces a tasty lemony fruit. New Jersey Tea which was a popular tea during the civil war and my favorite find the Ground Plum. Now from what reasearch I have come across the ground plum is an endangered plant native to Tennessee. It only grows naturally 3 places in tennesee woodlands so it really does need to be preserved. Now what is so great about it? Well its a legume and nitrogen fixer which grows like a ground cover or small shrub and produces a fruit the size of a small plum but tastes like a pea. I plan to grow it as a border around my fruit trees.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9742
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
184
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Bountiful Gardens is offering a collection of perennial vegetable seeds; Asparagus, Perpetual Spinach, Rhubarb, Artichoke, Seakale, Good King Henry, Welsh Onion, Sorrel:  http://www.bountifulgardens.org/prodinfo.asp?number=LAY-6610
 
Brian Bales
Posts: 90
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Does anyone have any tree collard roots they might be interested in parting with? I really would like to add these to my garden but pickings are slim. The only source I have found is Bountiful Gardens and they are backordered till august.
 
travis laduke
Posts: 163
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I NEED tree kale
 
William James
gardener
Posts: 1015
Location: Northern Italy
23
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I just fell in love with Sorrel.

I think early dandelion leaves, sorrel, and wild chives would make an excellent salad you could eat in my area from about March to April. For free.

Sorrel is okay to eat a couple times a week, right?

William

 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
289
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here is a nice overview of some common perennials:

http://skagit.wsu.edu/mg/2008AA/102408.pdf

Although it is put out by WSU (Washington State), most of these will grow anywhere.

 
money grubbing section goes here:
The $50 and Up Underground House Book by Mike Oehler - digital download
https://permies.com/wiki/23442/digital-market/digital-market/Underground-House-Book-Mike-Oehler
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!