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Ready to plant perennial greens in your garden?

 
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Let's Grow Perennial Greens!

One of my first blog posts was all about how perennial vegetables can save you time and energy. This new blog post is building off that one but focuses on just perennial greens.

In many ways perennial greens are the easiest of the perennial vegetables to add to your garden or even replace traditional vegetables with. But a lot of them can have strong flavors and be spicy/peppery making them a bit much for a lot of people.

But luckily there are a lot of mild perennial greens.

In this week's blog post - 11 Perennial Greens You Will Love to Grow I cover 11 perennial greens broken into 2 groups:

- Spicy, Tangy, or Bitter Perennial Greens
- Mild Perennial Greens

In the future I may add more perennial greens to these 11 but for now this list will have to get you started.

To start this week's great conversation - are you growing any perennial greens? If so which ones? Please leave a comment below.

Featured Mild Perennial Green - Scorzonera / Black Salsify - Scorzonera hispanica



Before writing the perennial greens blog post I was not familiar with black salsify. But now I'm really excited to try it out. I like that it is dual purpose - has a carrot like root but also very mild edible leaves. According to my research it is a great substitute for lettuce!

Have any of you grown it?

The one downside is that if you harvest it for its root then the plant is killed - just like harvesting a carrot. But it is nice to have the option of using it as a root crop. I like plants with multiple harvests!

Here are some basic info on scorzonera / black salsify:
- Can be harvested the first year you plant it (leaves or roots)
- USDA Climate Zone: 4-9
- Sunlight Requirement: Full sun to partial shade
- Plant Size at Maturity: 3 feet high and 1-2 feet wide
- Purchase: Seeds

Adding Perennial Greens to Your Garden


Miner's lettuce is one of my favorite perennial greens - here it is mixed with some annuals to make a great salad.

That first blog post on perennial vegetables proved to be one of my most popular blog posts. That proved to me that you all are very interested in perennial vegetables! This post is the 1st of 7 new posts all about perennial vegetables that will be coming out between today and the end of August 2019. I will update this post and my first perennial vegetables post with links to all the posts as I get them online.

As I mentioned I believe that perennial greens are the easiest perennial vegetables to add to your garden. This is especially true of the mild ones since you can just eat them like lettuce, Swish chard, spinach, etc. They might need a bit longer or a bit shorter cooking time but they should be easy to use in a salad.

Of course 2 of the perennial greens are woody plants - a tree and a shrub. So those might be a bit harder to add to your garden but you could plant them as a wind block along the north side of your garden.

So are you growing perennial greens in your garden? I did not list every perennial green - which ones have I left out that you enjoy? Please reply and share your answers below. Also, don't forget to check out my blog post mentioned in this thread. If you are one of the first to leave a comment on here you might even get a surprise in the form of pie or apples

Also, if you want to learn more about perennial vegetables in general I would check out the awesome book Perennial Vegetables by Eric Toensmeier which covers over 100 perennial vegetables (yes that link is an affiliate link). I own the book and reference it a lot. Your local library may have it if you don't want to purchase it.

Thank you!

Perennial Vegetables Series

- Plant Once with Perennial Vegetables
- 11 Perennial Greens You Will Love to Grow
- 11 Perennial Root Vegetables for Your Garden
 
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Thanks for the timely post, I'm getting my seed list ready for this spring.  I hadn't heard of black salsify before and it's hardy in my zone!  I have sorrel and lovage which are quite strong to make a full salad from.  Do you have personal experience with black salsify?  Can you make a salad from it and enjoy the results?
 
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Great post. I look forward to adding several of those soon.

Currently treating as perennial greens: wood sorrel, broad leaf plantain, dandelion, curly dock, mellow, rose of Sharon hibiscus bush leaves, tree collards, violet flowers/leaves, clover leaves/flowers.

I typically add the young leaves and flowers to salads. I use the late season leaves in soups.
 
Daron Williams
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Mike Jay wrote:Thanks for the timely post, I'm getting my seed list ready for this spring.  I hadn't heard of black salsify before and it's hardy in my zone!  I have sorrel and lovage which are quite strong to make a full salad from.  Do you have personal experience with black salsify?  Can you make a salad from it and enjoy the results?



I don't at this time but everything I read described it as a very mild green that could be used as a lettuce substitute. You should be able to make a salad from it. I want to grow some this year in my new kitchen garden. If you end up growing it please share how you liked it!
 
Daron Williams
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J Davis wrote:Great post. I look forward to adding several of those soon.

Currently treating as perennial greens: wood sorrel, broad leaf plantain, dandelion, curly dock, mellow, rose of Sharon hibiscus bush leaves, tree collards, violet flowers/leaves, clover leaves/flowers.

I typically add the young leaves and flowers to salads. I use the late season leaves in soups.



Thank you! Great list of other perennial greens! :) Thanks for sharing!
 
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I hadn't realized scorzonera was a perennial green even though I tried growing some last year with seeds that were given to me.  I guess I was just thinking of it as a root vegetable.  Perhaps thankfully, it didn't do that well and mostly got overrun with bindweed.  I say perhaps thankfully in the hopes that since I didn't try harvesting it there might be something remaining that survived to emerge anew in the spring.  We shall see!  I'll certainly try starting some more of the seed this year as well.

I'll add a couple other perennial greens to the list.  First is grape leaves.  I get tons of these from both wild and cultivated grape vines on my property.  I really need to work on more recipes to utilize them.  

The other is daylily shoots.  Around me these seem to be among the very first green things to poke up from the ground in the spring.  I generally  harvest some for a few meals each spring.  Mostly I use daylillies as a great perennial food source later in the year for buds and flowers.  Sometime I need to harvest some of the tubers to try them as well.
 
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Hi Daron,

Another great post.  i love perennials for obvious reasons. Perhaps I can repeat my success with other perennials like i had with my multiplying raspberry bush that I had mentioned in one of your earlier threads.  I am thinking of creating a whole new bed for just perennials starting with rows of raspberries, blackberries and big plot of garlic.  Plus I am going to plant a large batch of Comfrey.  I am waiting for my comfrey root cuttings to come up now.

Thanks for the ideas.  I now have some more seeds to order and get under the lights.



 
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J Davis wrote:Great post. I look forward to adding several of those soon.

Currently treating as perennial greens: wood sorrel, broad leaf plantain, dandelion, curly dock, mellow, rose of Sharon hibiscus bush leaves, tree collards, violet flowers/leaves, clover leaves/flowers.

I typically add the young leaves and flowers to salads. I use the late season leaves in soups.



I didn't know that Rose of Sharon is edible.  i mean I know our deer love it, but that isn't a great gauge, they love most everything except garlic and wild leeks.

So you use the young leaves and flowers from the rose of sharon in your salads.  Can't wait to try it when they bud up.  We have 8 or 9 healthy size plants.  Too cool!

Thanks Davis!
 
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HOSTAS!

My mom planted these things everywhere, and I never liked them because they didn't look like a native plant and so seemed incongruous (kind of like a palm tree next to a hemlock...). I vowed to never grow them on my own land.

...Then I found out you could eat them!

They not only suppress weeds under fruit trees and grow in the shade, their shoots and flowers are edible! (since they are in the lily family, it makes sense).

So, now I've been taking divisions from my mom, and planting them under my tree. When cooked, they taste like a bitter lettuce mixed with asperagus. Not bad!

======================

Other perenial veggies that I love:

Sorrel (great for adding to smoothies and salsas for a lemony flavor. Sheep and wood sorrel, I think, have a much milder & sweeter flavor than French Sorrel).

Lovage (this is FANTASTIC in soups. I don't really like celery, but lovage is delicious in soup. I like the flavor a lot more than celary, and it's perennial!).

Nettle (It's delicious. It's mild and packed full of nutrition. My whole family--including my kids--loves it. I have to restrain them, since too much isn't good for one's kidneys. But, it's so yummy! It's definetly my favorite vegetable!)
 
Daron Williams
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David Huang wrote:I hadn't realized scorzonera was a perennial green even though I tried growing some last year with seeds that were given to me.  I guess I was just thinking of it as a root vegetable.  Perhaps thankfully, it didn't do that well and mostly got overrun with bindweed.  I say perhaps thankfully in the hopes that since I didn't try harvesting it there might be something remaining that survived to emerge anew in the spring.  We shall see!  I'll certainly try starting some more of the seed this year as well.

I'll add a couple other perennial greens to the list.  First is grape leaves.  I get tons of these from both wild and cultivated grape vines on my property.  I really need to work on more recipes to utilize them.  

The other is daylily shoots.  Around me these seem to be among the very first green things to poke up from the ground in the spring.  I generally  harvest some for a few meals each spring.  Mostly I use daylillies as a great perennial food source later in the year for buds and flowers.  Sometime I need to harvest some of the tubers to try them as well.



I'm looking forward to trying out scorzonera - I think the plants that don't do as well will get harvested for the root crop and the stronger ones will get left for seeds and for leaves. Please share if yours come back in the spring!

Thanks for mentioning grape leaves and daylily shoots - both are great though I will admit I don't know many recipes for grape leaves. If you find some please share.
 
Daron Williams
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Ralph Kettell wrote:Hi Daron,

Another great post.  i love perennials for obvious reasons. Perhaps I can repeat my success with other perennials like i had with my multiplying raspberry bush that I had mentioned in one of your earlier threads.  I am thinking of creating a whole new bed for just perennials starting with rows of raspberries, blackberries and big plot of garlic.  Plus I am going to plant a large batch of Comfrey.  I am waiting for my comfrey root cuttings to come up now.

Thanks for the ideas.  I now have some more seeds to order and get under the lights.



Thank you! I really like perennials too and I'm really trying to add as many as I can to my garden. It just seems like a great idea to me to replace the annuals that I can with perennials. Should create a much more resilient garden!

Rose of sharon was new to me too in regards to being edible but I did find it in that book I mentioned in my first post. I will have to try it out one of these days.
 
Daron Williams
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Nicole Alderman wrote:HOSTAS!

My mom planted these things everywhere, and I never liked them because they didn't look like a native plant and so seemed incongruous (kind of like a palm tree next to a hemlock...). I vowed to never grow them on my own land.

...Then I found out you could eat them!

They not only suppress weeds under fruit trees and grow in the shade, their shoots and flowers are edible! (since they are in the lily family, it makes sense).

So, now I've been taking divisions from my mom, and planting them under my tree. When cooked, they taste like a bitter lettuce mixed with asperagus. Not bad!

======================

Other perenial veggies that I love:

Sorrel (great for adding to smoothies and salsas for a lemony flavor. Sheep and wood sorrel, I think, have a much milder & sweeter flavor than French Sorrel).

Lovage (this is FANTASTIC in soups. I don't really like celery, but lovage is delicious in soup. I like the flavor a lot more than celary, and it's perennial!).

Nettle (It's delicious. It's mild and packed full of nutrition. My whole family--including my kids--loves it. I have to restrain them, since too much isn't good for one's kidneys. But, it's so yummy! It's definetly my favorite vegetable!)



Great comment - thanks! Ya, hostas were a surprise to me too when I found out they were edible. Do you know if all hostas are or just certain types? It is great to have another edible shade tolerant plant to add to the list

Good to hear about lovage - I don't like celery either so I had been nervous about growing lovage. I think I will have to give it a try Do you know - does it die back in the fall/winter in our climate?

I love nettles! I can't wait till I get a nice patch growing at my place!

Sorrels are fun and I really want to get some growing on my place - both the French sorrel and wood sorrel.

Thanks for sharing!
 
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J Davis wrote:

rose of Sharon hibiscus bush leaves


"Rose of Sharon" is one of those names given to many different plants. J Davis mentions specifically that his edible one is a hibiscus. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rose_of_Sharon )
Do make sure you've got your ID's correct when you try eating new things! I have heard that at least some plants in the Mallow family which wikipedia also says is one of the 'Rose of Sharon' are also edible, but I've hesitated to try the one in front of our house, as I just can't tell how many of them are edible???
 
J Davis
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In questions of I.d. and edibility (is that a word?) I refer to eattheweeds.com

And mallow is great in soup too, makes it thick like gumbo.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Daron Williams wrote:Great comment - thanks! Ya, hostas were a surprise to me too when I found out they were edible. Do you know if all hostas are or just certain types? It is great to have another edible shade tolerant plant to add to the list

Good to hear about lovage - I don't like celery either so I had been nervous about growing lovage. I think I will have to give it a try Do you know - does it die back in the fall/winter in our climate?

I love nettles! I can't wait till I get a nice patch growing at my place!

Sorrels are fun and I really want to get some growing on my place - both the French sorrel and wood sorrel.

Thanks for sharing!



As far as I could find out, all varieties are edible. Some supposedly taste better than others, though. They're used as a food crop in Asia, so I'm assuming that the more "pretty"/variegated/ruffly varieties are less-likely to taste good, as they're bred for appearance. This link says Hosta fortunei tastes the best (https://scottishforestgarden.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/hostas/).

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!
 
Mike Jay Haasl
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Lovage dries nicely in our solar dehydrator.
 
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wonderful news
 
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This is a very good and informative post.  Always something to learn.  Thanks for sharing!
 
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I would love to grow a lot more perennial vegetables. I have the mediterranean herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme, mint, etc.) and I have a large rhubarb plant. I like foraging wild vegetables, like stinging nettles. But I think it will be nice to have some 'wild greens' close to my kitchen, in my own back yard. Maybe even the ones considered 'weeds'...
 
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We eat the tree collars all year round. We grow and sell an amazing purple tree collard. Check it out Sundial Seed Co. Pruple Tree Collards
 
Daron Williams
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Thanks all! I'm very happy that people are finding this thread and post useful!

Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:I would love to grow a lot more perennial vegetables. I have the mediterranean herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme, mint, etc.) and I have a large rhubarb plant. I like foraging wild vegetables, like stinging nettles. But I think it will be nice to have some 'wild greens' close to my kitchen, in my own back yard. Maybe even the ones considered 'weeds'...



Herbs are a great place to start and it is great that you are already foraging wild vegetables. Some of those would likely be happy growing near your kitchen. Plus there are a fair number of perennial vegetables that have been historically cultivated that you could grow - rhubarb as you mentioned is one of them. Several in my blog post would fit this category and my first perennial vegetables post has some others that you might like.

Thanks for the comment!
 
Daron Williams
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luke allen wrote:We eat the tree collars all year round. We grow and sell an amazing purple tree collard. Check it out Sundial Seed Co. Pruple Tree Collards



Nice - thanks for sharing!
 
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More than two-thirds of my garden is planted with perennials. I have about a third of a hectare of "potager" and my big problem in the spring is finding space for summer annuals and veg.

Here is a small selection of some plants that haven't been mentioned already. I've enclosed photos, so that you can actually see things growing in a real garden rather than in a catalogue.

"Le Chou perpétuel" Perpetual cabbage Daubenton (Brassica oleracea var. Ramosa) totally unaffected by frost and with three or four plants, there's always enough to add to a stir-fry.




Asparagus keeps on giving for years and years if it's fed well. Our oldest crowns must be at least ten years old.




Artichokes, this plant is about five years old and produces beautiful big heads. Behind the are some hops, "Fuggles" which are also perennial and the new growth is delicious - they look and taste just like asparagus with a slightly earthy taste.




Horseradish is a pain in the eyes to grate but the result is fantastic and worth crying for.




Malabar Spinach (On the right) is a climber and will take shade and grow into trees and fences. . It's great in salads (not too much because it's a bit glutinous). It can be cooked like normal spinach. Our plants are about eight years old.




Walking (Or Egyptian) onions. Great in the middle of winter for some fresh onion topping they're bigger than chives (Which are also a fantastic perennial) and even snow doesn't phase them.




Liquorice is easy to grow, although you have to wait a while to harvest the roots but in the meantime, the flowers are lovely.




Apios americana, another climber, nitrogen fixer which has roots that taste nutty, sort of potato but interesting. The flowers are fascinating.



There's also scarlet runner beans, bear's garlic (Ramps), Jerusalem artichokes and hundreds of others......






 
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Thanks for getting this topic going. I want to note that miner's lettuce is not perennial. Often it self-sows from dropped seed, but none of the individual plants live more than a year. It is a great salad green, and if you have a shady, moist fertile spot under trees you could manage a patch that self-sows. Adapted to growing in cold winter soils--it will sprout and grow in soil just above freezing. Eliott Coleman's used it in Maine for unheated winter hoophouse production of salad greens. The flavor is good enough to sell to restaurants, rare for a wild green.

At Quail Seeds, we have miner's lettuce seed from wild stands (domestication would cause genetic changes toward dependence).  We also have seeds for several perennial vegetables--perpetual spinach, perennial arugula, perennial scallions, 2 kinds of sorrel, rhubarb, erba stella, and Caucasus Mountain Spinach, which is an exciting one--mild-flavored perennial vine hardy down to zone 3. Quail Seeds
 
Daron Williams
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Jamie Chevalier wrote:Thanks for getting this topic going. I want to note that miner's lettuce is not perennial. Often it self-sows from dropped seed, but none of the individual plants live more than a year. It is a great salad green, and if you have a shady, moist fertile spot under trees you could manage a patch that self-sows. Adapted to growing in cold winter soils--it will sprout and grow in soil just above freezing. Eliott Coleman's used it in Maine for unheated winter hoophouse production of salad greens. The flavor is good enough to sell to restaurants, rare for a wild green.

At Quail Seeds, we have miner's lettuce seed from wild stands (domestication would cause genetic changes toward dependence).  We also have seeds for several perennial vegetables--perpetual spinach, perennial arugula, perennial scallions, 2 kinds of sorrel, rhubarb, erba stella, and Caucasus Mountain Spinach, which is an exciting one--mild-flavored perennial vine hardy down to zone 3. Quail Seeds



Hello, thank you for sharing but in warmer climates like mine miners lettuce is a perennial. I have ones that I planted over a year ago that never died back over the winter and are growing strong. Several of these were ones I salvaged from wild sites in late winter that were already large and clearly were not new seedlings. Those have now lived through at least 2 winters. In colder climates they are not perennials but here in zone 8 they are and from my research down to zone 6 they can be perennial but in zone 5 and colder they are annuals. Though the exact cut off point is not clear.

The USDA for example on their site lists it as both an annual and a perennial. Just depends on the climate zone it is growing in. https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=CLPE
 
Daron Williams
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Thank you Irene for sharing those pictures and info! Really great to see all the perennial veg you have growing at your place!
 
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About miner's lettuce: Thanks for the info.....I have seen the other plants in the Claytonia genus, like Siberian Beauty and Candyflower as perennials, but not C. perfoliata. The issue in California is not the winter, but surviving the summer. I'm realizing I've never seen it go perennial and survive the summer because I've never watered it, or seen it in an area with enough soil moisture to live past June. They are shallow-rooted, and around here they always reseed and die in May or June. So many California "annuals," actually could live longer if water were available.  

With that information, I will add it to our perennial vegetables page, and lovage as well. Perennial Vegetables

 
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Sunchokes are great, and easy. If you can digest them. Some people have the enzyme that enables you to digest the unusual starches in them, some don't.
Native people who used camas as a staple usually put it through some sort of process to make digestion easier. (And camas is a great possibility for a staple food if you have a seasonal wetland on your property.)
Does anyone know if the same sort of strategy can be used for sunchokes, or how to do it?
 
David Huang
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Sunchokes grow fabulous here for me... and I most certainly do not have the enzyme that allows me to digest them easily.  That was a major, and I might add extremely explosive, disappointment to discover with my first harvest.  For years after that I never even bothered harvesting them, because I just couldn't eat them.  I've since learned a couple tricks for those in my situation.

First, don't harvest them in the fall!  At that point they will have the most inulin, the part that is difficult to digest.  If you wait until spring, just before, or maybe even just as they start to sprout more of this complex starch will have been broken down into simpler sugars that are easier to digest.

The second trick I've found is to cook them a LONG time, as in I may have them cut up into smaller pieces and simmering in a pot for a day or two, at least during the daytime.  I don't leave them simmering unattended at night.  I do wish I could eat them raw as they are wonderful that way, but I just can't.

Since they come in such abundance I have also taken to dehydrating them after the long cooking for preservation.
 
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Nicole Alderman wrote:HOSTAS!

My mom planted these things everywhere, and I never liked them because they didn't look like a native plant and so seemed incongruous (kind of like a palm tree next to a hemlock...). I vowed to never grow them on my own land.

...Then I found out you could eat them!

They not only suppress weeds under fruit trees and grow in the shade, their shoots and flowers are edible! (since they are in the lily family, it makes sense).

So, now I've been taking divisions from my mom, and planting them under my tree. When cooked, they taste like a bitter lettuce mixed with asperagus. Not bad!

======================

Other perenial veggies that I love:

Sorrel (great for adding to smoothies and salsas for a lemony flavor. Sheep and wood sorrel, I think, have a much milder & sweeter flavor than French Sorrel).

Lovage (this is FANTASTIC in soups. I don't really like celery, but lovage is delicious in soup. I like the flavor a lot more than celary, and it's perennial!).

Nettle (It's delicious. It's mild and packed full of nutrition. My whole family--including my kids--loves it. I have to restrain them, since too much isn't good for one's kidneys. But, it's so yummy! It's definetly my favorite vegetable!)



I did not know hostas are edible!!! How do you prepare them?

I have a bed of hostas by the front porch that I really need to divide. If they are edible, I just might plant them under orchard trees!! I have been trying to decide what edible I want to grow there and this would be a good option.

One thing I love about hostas is that the bees love them. Anything that feeds the bees is good in my book. Feed the bees, and they feed us!



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Bee on hosta flower
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Bee on hosta flower
 
Jamie Chevalier
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I think that dehydration after long cooking was one of the strategies that indigenous people used for these inulin-containing crops. But I'd never heard of the spring harvest idea. Thanks for the post, they both sound very do-able.
My main use of sunchokes is as a decoy. They are gophers' favorite food, so I have them on the edge of the garden to keep gophers from coming any further.
 
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Yes to perennial arugula! It's small, and the leaves are very small, but it's perennial for me in my unheated greenhouse that goes down below freezing every night for two months of winter. It produces much less for the space than annual arugula, but it never gets as spicy hot as annual arugula always does in my dry sunny climate.

Annual arugula (aka rocket, Eruca spp) seedlings look like the cabbage-mustard family, but the flowers are white and quite different from cabbage-mustard family. Perennial arugula (aka Sylvetta, wild rocket, or Diplotaxis spp) seeds and seedlings are much tinier than cabbage family ones and look different, but its mustard-yellow flowers look just like the the cabbage family. It self-seeds abundantly and can become weedy.
 
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Jamie Chevalier wrote:About miner's lettuce: Thanks for the info.....I have seen the other plants in the Claytonia genus, like Siberian Beauty and Candyflower as perennials, but not C. perfoliata. The issue in California is not the winter, but surviving the summer. I'm realizing I've never seen it go perennial and survive the summer because I've never watered it, or seen it in an area with enough soil moisture to live past June. They are shallow-rooted, and around here they always reseed and die in May or June. So many California "annuals," actually could live longer if water were available.  

With that information, I will add it to our perennial vegetables page, and lovage as well. Perennial Vegetables



Great point about the summers - I had not thought about that. In my area our summers are dry but no where near as hot as California so that could easily be why they are perennial here. But very good point!
 
Daron Williams
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Joshua Michael Holtzapple wrote:Best bang for your buck in a temperate climate.  These are hands down the simplest way to grow more of your own calories.

#etsy shop: Sunchokes https://etsy.me/2DlvYQP



For those that can digest them I think sunchokes are great too! And in a few weeks I will be publishing a new post all about perennial root crops - sunchokes will for sure be on that list
 
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Rebecca Norman wrote:Yes to perennial arugula! It's small, and the leaves are very small, but it's perennial for me in my unheated greenhouse that goes down below freezing every night for two months of winter. It produces much less for the space than annual arugula, but it never gets as spicy hot as annual arugula always does in my dry sunny climate.

Annual arugula (aka rocket, Eruca spp) seedlings look like the cabbage-mustard family, but the flowers are white and quite different from cabbage-mustard family. Perennial arugula (aka Sylvetta, wild rocket, or Diplotaxis spp) seeds and seedlings are much tinier than cabbage family ones and look different, but its mustard-yellow flowers look just like the the cabbage family. It self-seeds abundantly and can become weedy.



Nice and great comment! I need to expand my perennial arugula :)
 
Jamie Chevalier
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Perennial arugula is the hands-down favorite for honeybees in my garden. I have lots of flowers and herbs, and even lemon balm (whose Latin name, melissa, means honeybee) can't compare. You can hear them buzzing from clear across the garden. If you want to grow it as a bee plant, and you also want fresh leaves for use, I suggest having a patch of it and dividing it into two or three sections. Keep one part sheared back for producing bigger, more tender leaves for salad. Leave one to go to flower. With three you could have one in use, one recovering, and one flowering. Or, if you don't want to cozy up to the bees, have the patches in three separate places.
 
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If I may throw another climate in the mix...

Moringa
Chaya
Sweet potato leaves (!!!)
Mulukhiya
Lablab leaves


Those are all growing in my yard.
 
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What about Lamb's Quarters?  Are they persistent re-seeders or perennials?
I, too, am shocked about Hosta; I have a lingering memory from childhood of someone telling me how poisonous they are. LOVE this post.
 
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Susan Mené 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.  
 
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