Perennial vegetable gardening can save you a load of time, money and effort. These are vegetables that are planted once and the harvest continues year after year.
They need less work when growing them. Perennial vegetables are much more nutritious. They are easy to grow compared to annual crop and depend less on water due to having time to establish larger root systems. They are more economical and have many ecological benefits.
It is amazing how many different perennial vegetables there are for the gardener to grow to feed their families. From Globe artichokes to ground nuts the list is endless. Learning what can be grown as a perennial can set your garden up for future harvests at no cost or effort.
Benefits of perennial vegetables
Extend the harvest
Perennial vegetables crop mainly during the colder months of the year. They are fantastic at stretching out the growing and harvesting seasons by balancing crops and allowing the gardener to harvest during times that would otherwise be lacking.
Help Build The Soil
Since the ground is not tilled during the growing period, they help foster an intact and healthy soil food web. This encourages habitat for fungi and other beneficial microbes.
Perrenials can help build the soil structure. Their roots push further into the soil creating pockets that air and water can pass through. Essentially a perennial bed becomes a no-dig bed and receives all the benefits as if you were practicing no-dig.
Perennial Vegetables and other ornamental garden plants are very sturdy and strong plants. As they get older they become more resistant to pests, weeds, and droughts.
Harvesting perennial crops on a regular basis can prevent them from going to seed. This makes perennial crops high yielding for the amount of effort required by the gardener and thus preferred over annuals.
Performs Many Gardening Functions
Due to their beauty, perennial crops tend to provide more than food to the gardener. They can be used to enhance the landscape. They can be incorporated within perennial borders of flowers and ornamentals to provide structure.
Some perennials can fix nitrogen in the soil over time; They can be used as a fertilizer by other plants. A prime candidate for this would be Comfrey. Some perennials are climbers that can get quite large and be used by the gardener to produce shade for leafy vegeatbles such as lettuce.
Perennials Vegetables Grown in Gardens
With so many perennial vegetables available, the gardener is spoilt for choice. Finding a place in the garden for the following, could provide you years of produce without the time and effort of sowing and planting annuals.
Some of the most common perennial vegetables to grow are as follows:
One of the most nutritious of greens, the Kale plant really packs in the nutrients. It comes in many varieties and colours. Some are more bitter than others but are a perfect vegetable to grow in order to provide a sustained supply through the colder months of winter.
Some of the varieties you could grow are
- Curly Kale
- Lacinato Kale (Dinosaur Kale, Tuscan Kale, Cavolo Nero)
- Ornamental (Salad Savoy)
- Red Russian
- Chinese Kale
- Siberian kale
- Rebor Kale
My absolute favorite though is the Toscano kale, it is considered to be one of the toughest kale to grow, however, it’s flavor and vitamin and mineral content is better than other kales, thus it’s the best.
As you can see from the table below Kale contains a huge amount of you’re daily intake.
|Vitamin / Minerals||% of Daily Intake|
Kale can be planted out throughout the year. Consider planting it out by late summer so that it has time to establish before winter sets in. The plants are very hardy and can take frosts and snow. It is really a great perennial to grow in your garden.
Garlic is best planted in September. Although can be planted right up to the beginning of spring. By planting it in the fall, it has time to send down a good root system before the winter sets in.
It will send up a small shoot just through the surface of the soil and sit like this all winter long. Frost does not affect the garlic. In fact, It requires around 30 days of temperatures below 5 degrees to vernalise.
This simply means that the cold temperatures can help the bulb to split and form cloves later in the year.
During early summer the garlic will throw a flowering stem, This is called a scape and can be eaten. It is a favourite in garlic scape pesto.
Elephant garlic have huge bulbs and cloves, but despite smelling and looking like a huge garlic bulb, they are more closely related to leeks.
They are very mild in flavour but are a fantastic addition to soups, stews and gravies.
Horseradish is grown for the roots. They are akin to parsnips and send a taproot down very deep into the soil. It is used as a side-dressing for beef and as an accompaniment for other dishes.
Horse radish could be mistaken for Dock leaves as the tops of the plants look very similar. It puts out huge tops but this plant can be a real bully in the garden.
Due to the root system working down so deep it is very difficult to remove the plant entirely and it often grows back. When harvesting remove as much root as possible and only leave small sections to grow back.
4. Globe artichokes
There are two varieties of Globe Artichokes. They are classified by colour, either green or purple. This plant grows huge and requires a good deal of space.
Provide an area approximately 6 square feet due to the sheer size of the plant. They can be grown from seed or cuttings. This plant will take a couple of years to establish before harvesting can begin.
Globe artichokes are a favourite of bees as the purple flowers that they produce are large and vibrant. They produce large amounts of pollen so are an ideal addition to your garden to help bring in beneficial insects.
Lovage is a herb that can grow as quickly as weeds. The great thing about this plant is that every single part of it is edible.
Although the plant looks like celery, It is more closely related to carrots. But these plants don’t stay the size of carrots. It can get to the dithering heights of 6 feet tall.
The bottom of the plant thickens as it grows getting more slender as you reach the tops. The plants seed are as big as the plant and can get as large as half an inch in size.
Seeds can be sown indoors 6 weeks before the onset of winter or left until spring and direct sown. This plant requires its roots to remain damp and if you allow it to dry out the plant may die very shortly after.
The main pest of this herb is the leaf miner and it can decimate the leaves.
Packed full of minerals and nutrients, watercress is a delicious salad crop. It is also perfect to add to soups as it has a sharp, peppery and tangy taste.
You will usually find it growing besides streams and lakes, But you don’t need your own stream to grow this awesome vegetable. If you can keep the soil moist and put it in a lightly shaded area, this plant will thrive without the water.
You can also grow this in containers of water at home. or even in small pots placed on the kitchen windowsill.
This is a cut and come again salad. You can harvest watercress when it has grown to maturity, but be mindful not to cut to low so it allows the plants to throw new side shoots and continue to provide you with future harvests.
7. Egyptian onions
Egyptian onions, Otherwise known as walking onions is an amazing plant. Unlike normal onions where they produce a bulb at the soil surface, Egyptian onions grow bulbs at the head of the plants.
They taste very similar to shallots and not as strong as standard onions but more pungent than shallots.
This plant can propagate itself by bending the top of the plant to touch the soil surface. It then sends out roots and becomes a new plant. Walking onions are given this name because they can travel a distance of over 2 feet in a single year.
The best time to sow walking onions is between late summer and fall. This means you can harvest them the following year. Providing you leave some of the onion in the ground, it will continue to multiply and provide harvests for years to come.
When I mention to people about Daylilies as a perennial edible, I get some strange looks. These are beautiful flowers that are completely edible.
Usually grown as an ornamental in borders across the globe, they are not thought of as a food product. The young closed flower pod can be eaten in the same way you would eat a green bean.
They are fantastic added to salads when harvested at this stage. This is because they are very sweet and tender when young.
Day Lilies are tough plants. They do not care in what soil type they grow, so it is a plant that can take a spot in anyone’s garden regardless of their soil conditions.
They can even be placed in a shady area, so you can make the most of space you would otherwise struggle to find and edible to grow. One added benefit of this plant is it is also drought tolerant.
9. Good king Henry
This perennial is very much liked and known due to the sweet taste of its leaves, flower buds as well as its shoot. It grows very well in partial shades and it is among the spinach family. The spring is the best time to harvest this crop making it easier to sprout for more years. The seeds of this plant used as grain while the flower buds are same as broccoli. Its leaves eaten like those of spinach.
The Indian potato, this perennial is six feet high and hangs on a trellis. Its beans are edible; it also has large tubers which are also consumed. The fall is the most suitable time to harvest this kind of plant. During harvesting some left in the ground so that it can continue to grow over the years. They have a nutty flavored potato taste; this makes many people to love them.
11. Jerusalem Artichokes
This perennial vegetable known as sunchokes. They are in the sunflower family but their underground tubers are edible. The tubers can also eaten either raw or after cooked.
Due to its nature, sunchokes tend to grow very tall hence advisable to plant them along the edges of the garden. Harvested during the fall, but not all as some left, to continue growing. They have bright yellow flowers which attract insects. The insects are responsible for keeping the pest away from the garden.
12. Ostrich Fern
It has an ostrich plume hence its name. They have a long height and they also curve. This perennial vegetable changes its shape during the different seasons. They need very low maintain ace. They are also resistant to pest and diseases. During the summer this vegetable tends to unfold its leaves only to go dormant during the winter.
They grow very well in full shade and also moist areas. The fiddleheads which came out during the spring used as vegetables. For a beginner gardener, one advised buying the ferns when they are rhizomes.
This vegetable requires low maintenance cost. once planted, it never stops growing. It can survive in many climatic conditions as long as it is not dug up. The soil should be well fertilized. This prevents the quality from depreciating over the years.
14. Berry bushes
Berry bushes include the raspberries, blueberries and the strawberries. They loved all over the world by gardeners. They grow in average soils as long as there is plenty of sunshine.
They are used as deserts and provide a good colour to oneâs dinner table. The sweet-pie blackberries grow with thorns hence protects other crops from pests. The berry bushes can also grow well in containers.
This is known and grown vegetable around the world by many gardeners. They take a couple of years to mature and be ready to harvest. For a beginner farmer one advised to plant the crown of the already matured asparagus.
Due to its many and variety of colors, they are not only eaten but also considered ornaments in the gardens. The colors include red, green and then pink. The plant takes couple of years to be ready to harvest. The leaves are toxic hence only the stalks are edible in this plant. The Canadian Red Rhubarb is the one with a rich taste and has a very much stunning color that is admirable.
This plant is also known as the wild creek. Found in the native eastern North America regions. Known to grow in moist areas like the underneath of trees. They are found in the deciduous forest
Because of the moist. Ramps eaten by many people as salads and they are very delicious.
18. Scarlet runner beans
Due to its colors, considered by many as an ornament. The beans, flowers and leaves are very nutritious. Their tuber is also edible. They produce varieties of beans each years and this can go on for almost twenty years. This thus makes the plant to consider very special thus planted in many gardens.
19. Sea kale
It has white flowers with gray-blue leaves. This makes it to be grown to provide beauty to the garden. Related to the cabbage because of its massive leaves which are edible. Its top is almost the same as that of a broccoli. Their seed produces oil and then its stalk and roots are edible. They leave provide vitamin C after steamed.
This plant has a lemony taste when added to food; the main foods are sauces and soup. They grow well when low attention put to them and low maintenance considered. It has a heavy root system that makes it hard to divide and grown again. Early spring is the best time to harvest this plant as it becomes bitter after spring. It also wilts very fast after its harvest thus advised to use it and fast.
This is a very hard perennial plant that wilts very fast. Hence once harvested they must consumed fast. They have a vigorous growth and need low maintenance when growing. The gardener required to divide them as the years go by. Chopped and added to salads to make it tasty and delicious.
22. Three-cornered leek
This is considered but the bulbs transplanted during t April. In month of May, flowering begins thus this is the right time to harvest. The leaves harvested during the autumn period. This plant requires low maintenance but takes a little time to et be ready for consumption.
Grape loved by many gardeners because of the long production time taken. Grapes can produce to about fifty years depending on the seasons. Though they take a couple of years to be ready for harvest they considered as long time investments. One advised to sample out the right varieties of grapes put them in trellis and then wait for the maturity. They need high maintenance but the work is all paid after maturity.
This native plant is green and also pear-shaped. It is found in native Central America. Its fruit only begins to appear after about six to nine months. It also only grows in the USDA zones eight, the time when the weather is freeze free. The fruits might not be mature at zone eight but still one can use the tender tips as vegetables. The roots begin to get starchy after almost two years and can harvested. The vines grow to almost forty feet thus need strong trellis.
It has been grown in the northern Argentina and Colombia since time immemorial. Its roots are sweet tasting thus loved; it has a resinous and floral flavor. This is due to it having inulin that provides the sweet taste for the roots. The garden grown must be gentle frost. The plant can be grown using cuttings and planted in a well dug bed in the early spring. It is also a vigorous grower.
Also known as sedum this vegetable grows for about two to three feet. The stems have fleshy leaves which are succulent. This leaves increases during the summer and autumn seasons with flower clusters. The tall sedums are grown for the distinct form and the colorful flowers. The leaves are also shaped in shades of copper and dark purple which are very colorful. Hence the perennial plant is grown as an ornament to beautify the gardens over the centuries.
27. Sweet rocket
This is a beauty plant that has white, lavender and purple flowers which are very fragrant. It is grown in Europe and Asia. The flowers appear during the months of April and July. The leaves serrated and dark green. They grow to a height of about sixty centimeters and 1.2 meters. They can grow anywhere as long as the conditions are favorable. The leaves added to salads same to the seeds as they contain almost fifty percent edible oil.
28. Sea celery
This is a perennial plant found in Australia and New Zealand. It has toothed leaves and an aroma almost like celery. It has tiny white flowers that occur in clusters. Both its stem leaves are edible. The dried leaves used as spices while the as flavors in soup. Cultivated as a vegetable for a long period of time.
29. Sea beet
The plant is found in Europe, northern Africa and also Asia. Its leaves have a good texture and they are sweet when cooked or raw thus edible. It grows to a height of about 1.2 meters and its flowers start appearing during summer. The soils must be well-drained and moist. The plant cannot grow in an area with a shade. High sodium content cannot prevent its growth as it can tolerate.
30. Salad Burnet
The plant is grown because it can be used as both food and medicine. it can be to control hemorrhaging. It has a cucumber flavor. It grows well in full sun area and also a partial shade place. It has a height of about 12-18 inches when mature. The plants take one hundred days to mature. The leaves are the fast to harvest and are edible.
31. Scurvy grass
They are low and rounded plants. Their height is about 5-20 centimeters tall. Its leaves are smooth and rounded and also spoon shaped. It has white flowers that have four petals. It has medicinal value. The leaves are enriched with Vitamin C that cure deficiency diseases like scurvy. The leaves are used as salads because of the strong acrid taste.
32. Runner bean
Also known as a butter bean, runner bean is among the legume family. It is found in Central America. It has red flowers and the seeds multicolored. The variety of colors makes them to be grown as ornamental plants. The pods of the bean are edible while young and they are fibrous. They grow to a height of about three meters. They are supposed to be cooked well as they are toxic.
33. Perpetual spinach
The perennial plant has a high yielding and also very nutritious. The months of March and July are the best during planting of the spinach. It grows well in soils that have high manure content hence fertile. The plant does not take too long to mature and harvested.
34. Mashua or Anu
This plant is grown in the Andes. It has edible tubers which are eaten either cooked or roasted as vegetables. Its mature height is between two to four meters. It has bright colored flowers hence sometime grown as ornament. It has a strong flavor when eaten.
35. Lambs lettuce
This planted is grown for the leaves because they are edible. The flavor is nutty with a dark green color. Served as the salad greens. It is grown and eaten in Britain and America. It grows to a height of 15.2 cm. it grows in harsh conditions and planted as a winter green. It has nutrients such as Vitamin C.
36. Land cress
The plant is peppery green. It requires low maintenance when growing up. It matures fast in moist soils and partial shade areas. It has a flavor that is almost the same as that one of watercress.
Is a perennial plant in the carrot family. It has feathery leaves and the flowers are yellow in color. It has a high aromatic flavor. Its bulb-like stem is edible as a vegetable. The fruits and leaves are also edible. Its flavor has anise though not strong enough.
They are about two inches in length, with a crunchy texture and the flavor is sweet.. The plant has high levels of sugar thus a carbohydrate. It has medicinal value as its tubers used to treat cold symptoms. It tuber eaten raw or boiled.
It has bright blue flowers; others have either white or pink flowers. It has many varieties which are used as salads. Some varieties baked or ground and used as coffee substitutes. It has medicinal value in that it contains inulin. A fiber that controls weight and improves gut health.
The plant is also known as artichoke thistle. Found in the Mediterranean regions and it is in the sunflower family. Grows well in dry climates to a height of about 0.8 to 1.5m with spined green leaves. Cardoons used to produce enzymes used for production of cheese. It has very bright silver foliage thus grown as an ornamental plant.
41. Black salsify
Used as a root vegetable in the sunflower family. It has yellow ray flowers. It has a tap root that grows to up to one meter long. It has a high content of proteins, fats and potassium . Eaten with peas and served liked white sauce.
The plant has is a leafy vegetable used its bitter and a flavor that is peppery. It is thus used as a salad vegetable. It has flowers whose petals are white and has purple veins. The plant eaten raw in salads or mixed with other vegetables
43. Bamboo shots
The shoots of these plants are edible. Grown in Asia. They harvested in the summer and the shoots are then removed due to the texture and a sweet taste. It produces up to 2.5 kilos of shoots per harvest.
This is a name given to the curled shoots of ferns. It is found in New Zealand. Also called the hen and chicken fern. The fronds are edible thus eaten as vegetables.
45. Solomons seals
Grown in North America, the plant has white flowers and black seeds pods that are adorable. Grown in partial shades, the plant is grown as an ornament because of the dazzling flowers.
Basics of growing vegetable gardens.
The best vegetables which are sweet, juicy and with flavor are those planted by oneself. Gardening can be very daunting in the beginning, but once one gets into it, it becomes rewarding. Here are the tips to guide one achieve high yields.
Picking the right location
Plant in a sunny place, most vegetables grow well and faster under direct sunlight. The more amounts of sunlight, the higher the yields and also the taste is better.
Plant in a good raised soil, nice loamy soils is suitable for the plant roots to penetrate. The soil must enrich with nutrients and have a good drainage capacity.The environment must be stable. The right environment should be free of acidity, floods and drought. This makes the vegetables to grow to a required size and amount.
Tips on growing vegetables in gardens
1. Spacing the crops,
The spacing must take into keen consideration. This is because plants that are close to each other tend to compete for sunlight and water. This makes them be prone to diseases and pest hence the maturity is not good.
2. Quality of the seeds
The seeds used for planting should be researched. Only the highest quality taken. This is because the yields must be high and of a good quality.
3. Plants in Triangles
The crops in rows but the yields are not good. Triangle helps the plants spaced and also many seeds planted.
4. Grow climbing plants
The crops that grow vertically saves on space and time. Harvesting and management are faster and easy.
When growing climbing plants, sturdy structures are required to support them. The video below will show you how to build the most popular structures cheaply.
The right timing during planting and harvesting leads to high yields. So the farmer advised to check on this.
6. Stretch the season
Done by adding few weeks to the crop. This helps the gardener to have a successful season. Done by keeping the air around the plants warm by mulching.
7. Pick compatible pairings
This is the interlining of crops that are compatible to each other. These crops are like corn, beans and squash. Depend on each other for successful growth.
8. Round out the soils
Considered as changing the shape of the beds. Raised beds are space-efficient when the soil rounded to form an arc. This increases the planting area. Crops like lettuce and spinach planted on edges of beds and grow to high yields.
For centuries perennial vegetables as seen, loved by gardeners and considered the best. Most of the plants planted only once and they reproduce for years.
Some plants are even used for medicinal purposes by many people. They not only provide food but also a sense of beauty and admiration to the gardens.
Thus most gardeners should consider the perennial vegetables. For the huge and a variety of benefits that come along
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Remember folks you reap what you sow!