Perennial vegetables - Adding to resiliency

Lnorris
By Lnorris on Thu, May 23, 2013 - 12:51pm

One of the things we have been working on over the past year is to increase the number of perennial vegetables that we are growing. I got interested in perennial vegetables about three years ago and have been adding to our garden each year.

I started with Sorrel. Profusion Sorrel from Richter's Herbs. This particluar variety does not go to seed and as long as you continue to harvest it will produce until frost. It has a tart lemony flavor and has been producing nicely in a sunny, damp location. It's great in omelets and you can eat it raw, too.

Last spring I found ramps in our local grocery store and bought some to plant. I had tried from seed in the past with no success. The plants re-emerged this year and I am anxiously waiting their return next year as they will spread and multiply in the shady spot I planted them in.

I was able to grow lovage from seeds this year. It's a perennial celery.  From the description it's supposed to add good flavor to stocks and soups. 

Two new additons this spring were rhubarb and asparagus. We will need more plants to harvest enough to make both worth growing.  

This is part of what we have been working on to improve our resiliency as perennials once they are etablished will provide a reliable crop for years to come. When I have more time, I will add more details about what we have been planing, building and re-purposing this year.

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15 Comments

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
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Posts: 1988
yes, perennials rock

Let us know how the lovage works as a celery substitute. We have asparagus so far. You left artichokes off the list, of perennial veggies, although I don't like the way they taste.

Lnorris's picture
Lnorris
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Posts: 105
I haven't had good success

I haven't had good success with artichokes in zone 6. I am trying them again this year. Although part of that is our dog who ate them and I'm not kidding, right down to the root. Obviously, she doesn't share your dislike of artichokes.

Don35's picture
Don35
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Posts: 43
perennial Veggies Book

Eric Toensmeier book Perennial Vegetables is a fablulous book. I've planted many and am thrilled with the results. Highly recommended! I have asparagus, lovage, wild ginger, several perennial onions, giant soloman seal, ostrich ferns, sunchokes, and more! Less work and more veggies!

Woodman's picture
Woodman
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rhubarb

For the 23rd season I've lived in my house, two rhubarb plants established by the previous owner have emerged again; pretty amazing, and great for pies!

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
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perennial onions

Right, I forgot the perennial Egyptian walking onion bed we established last year. Litterally, these are the last onions you will ever have to buy! Nice green tops, smallish white bulbs with purple exteriors (flat on one side) but prolific and they make their own onion sets. The white flowers give way to purple sets (onion bulbs)

They get their name from the fact that the heavy clusters of new bulbs (sets) are atop the green stalks and the stalks fall over so the new onions plant themselves. I saved half the sets in case we had a super-hard freeze where 6 inches of pine straw mulch would not insulate them, but they overwintered fine here in the Carolina midlands.  I understand they are hardy to USDA Zone 3.

BSV's picture
BSV
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Perennial vegetables

Those are good suggestions. Now that my keyhole garden and my hugelkultur beds are completed and planted, my next project is a Food Forest. Due to our alkaline, rocky soil here in Central Texas, and in particular on my ranch (we live on a limestone ridge), it's not feasible to grow nut trees as the canopy layer. Fruit trees will have to serve in that capacity (they handle the soil conditions pretty well). Due to local conditions, my food forest will have just three or four layers. My understory layer will be blackberries (they do well pretty well here; blueberries and raspberries do not) and that brings me to the perennial vegetables.

I've been wondering what would tolerate the shade created by the fruit trees and the blackberries. I hosted my fellow local Master Gardeners recently on a field trip to our place, and I put the question to them. Only a few possibilities emerged, so I was happy to read this thread -- it has given me some ideas to try out, and I will share the results with other interested gardeners in this area. Thanks for the ideas.

saxplayer00o1's picture
saxplayer00o1
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Getting rid of the weeds

I'm sure there is a thread here on this one, but here's one of those weeds that we can't seem to get rid of.

If we can't get rid of it then maybe we should be growing it.

 

earthwise's picture
earthwise
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Posts: 848
It's good stuff
saxplayer00o1 wrote:

I'm sure there is a thread here on this one, but here's one of those weeds that we can't seem to get rid of.

If we can't get rid of it then maybe we should be growing it.

 

Definitly. We've started using this in soups and on salads as well as other uses. We feed it to our sheep, goats and chickens. It used to be the bane of our gardens now we let it grow out to a usable size before we harvest. Who said TNSTAAFL

Nervous Nelly's picture
Nervous Nelly
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Posts: 209
Purslane, Pusley

I don't think I've ever seen this weed in my area (Quebec). My "Edible Wild Plants"  book has it listed. Sometimes the photos are not so good. I'll keep an eye out this summer.

The perennial onion ( egyptian walking onion) is this wild or you bought the bulbs? I'm just fascinated by the way it propagates. The onion must be ripe to pick when it hits the ground?

I started perennial arugula 2 years ago. The taste is stronger the the annual one. Mix in salads or make 

pesto. yes

Last year on vacation we visited a reconstructed 1600 pilgram village in Plymouth, Mass. and in their gardens they had perennial arugula. Quite a few "bad weeds" were introduced by the pilgrims in North America.

NN

 

Don35's picture
Don35
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Posts: 43
CM, you might research,

CM, you might research, perennial onions, wild ginger, hostas (eat the early shoots like asparagus and the tubers), giant solomans seal, etc. I have asparagus, horseradish, ramps, and wild ginger in shade and/or partial shade.

jgritter's picture
jgritter
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Posts: 273
Pigweed

Along the lines of if you can't erradicate it, eat it,  What can people suggest about "Queen Ann's Lacy/ Wild Carrot" and "Pigweed/Amarinth"

John G

featherjack's picture
featherjack
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Posts: 51
Resource for "if you can't eradicate it, eat it"

About the best resource I know of for such questions is Plants for a Future. Searching on Wild Carrot yielded two hits: Latin names Daucus carota and Trachymene glaucifolia, both Apiaceae or Umbelliferae. (Already this is more information than I knew before. cheeky)

As an example, PFAF gives Daucus carota an Edibility Rating of 2 out of 5, which they define as "reasonably useful plants". They give it a Medicinal Rating of 3 out of 5; "could be grown as standard crops".

In addition, they include a TON of other info: Common Name, Family, Synonyms, Physical Characteristics, Edible Uses, Medicinal Uses, Known Hazards, Habitats, Range, Cultivation details, Propagation... and footnotes.

Have fun!

 

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
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Posts: 1988
wild carrot and...hemlock

Be very, very careful about your plant identification. Wild carrots (Queen Anne's Lace) look almost exactly like poison hemlock.

Personally, I avoid them when I forage. I mean, I went berrying twice this week but would never pick and eat wild carrots. Too much of a risk when there is so much else out there that's easy to identify. If you want to try wild carrots though, watch this video.

Just remember, "The queen has hairy legs." (see the video to see what I mean)

Nervous Nelly's picture
Nervous Nelly
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Joined: Nov 23 2011
Posts: 209
Wild carrots

Easy to identify. They leaves smell like carrots. There is NO mistake. 

Thrivalista's picture
Thrivalista
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Posts: 60
HemLock is HairLess

In addition to looking for hairy legs on the queen, HemLock is HairLess. That phrasing, emphasizing the second syllable in the two compound words, helps me remember which is which. And the flower heads are very different shapes before they get big - Queen Anne's flowers emerge in furled clusters, reminiscent of - maybe a lacy drawstring pouch in shape? Hemlock flower heads start out already flat on the top and grow wider, rather than unfurling. The leaves are also different, but harder to describe.

If you study the two plants side by side, they really are distinct. I try to keep some of each around for showing others who are interested in learning the differences. And to reinforce my own learning.

That was a fun vid tip on the carpenter ants! I hope we never have to become insectarians, but...

 

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