Nearly 40 percent of American households, that’s 33 million houses, grow some or all of their own vegetables.
If you’re intending to join them or you’re already underway with your self-sufficiency project, you need to start growing perrenial vegetables.
They’re super easy to maintain, they provide an annual harvest and they’re tasty too. Here’s what you need to know about perrennial vegetables.
Why Grow Perrennial Vegetables?
Before we look at what to grow, let’s take a quick moment to acknowledge the benefits of growing perrennial vegetables in the first place:
- They’re low maintenance. In today’s busy world, who needs more work? Perrenials are very deep rooted and withstand drought, pests, disease, etc. without much effort. Plant them and then leave them alone.
- They give you a longer harvest. Many perennials can be harvested in Spring, which gives a longer harvest season compared to your usual Summer and Fall crops.
- They’re good for the soil. Because they sit low in the soil, they provide a lot of trace minerals to the deep soil and this allow the overall ecosystem to thrive.
- They look great. They may have deep roots but many perennials also grow big and that can help enhance the look of your garden. You can also use them for edge crops to prevent soil erosion.
- They’re tasty. Seriously, grab your favorite vegan cookbook, some herbs (grown from a cool kit like these, in your urban kitchen garden) and with a few perennial vegetables you’ve got the makings of an amazing meal!
Which Perrenial Vegetables Should You Grow?
There are a large number of choices of perrenial vegetables and we’ve brought together some classics as well as some more unusual choices that can add a little adventure to your dishes.
You can’t beat the fire and spice of some grated horseradish on a Winter stew or in some cream with a roast, for that matter.
It’s very easy to grow and you just dig down to the root and harvest it when fresh.
Horseradish comes from the same family as cabbage, broccoli and Brussel sprouts but it is extremely hardy when compared to these three veggies.
It’s even pretty good in a potato salad if you want to add a little depth to the flavor profile.
It’s possible to grow Globe Artichokes as an annual plant too, but if you protect the plant throughout the Winter months, then you’ll get a perrenial that keeps on giving.
They look great and though they take a long time to grow, the taste is well worth the long wait.
It’s best to research the best variety to grow in your local environment as there are quite a few of them to choose from.
If you’re looking for a super-hardy perrenial then the Jerusalem Artichoke is your friend, it can deal with almost no water for months and still pop up again the next year without any effort.
They taste really good too though we recommend going sparingly with them, they can end up dominating the flavor profile of a dish if you use too much.
They’re not a substitute for your favorite starch, even if you’re tempted to make them so.
A word of warning, asparagus is quite chalenging to get right and you’re probably going to have a few failures before you hit the sweet spot that gives them enough sun and drainage.
It’s worth it, though, there’s no doubt that eating fresh asparagus from the garden is one of the most decadent of natural treats and the more you eat?
The easier it will become to grow. We recommend that you start with bare-root crowns rather than seeds too.
What a wonderful green vegetable sorrel is and it’s often criminally overlooked for the better known varieties of greens sold in supermarkets.
You may find it takes a little adjustment to get used to the bold flavors that sorrel packs in there’s a sort of lemony undercurrent that really adds a bit of oomph to it.
You can pick the leaves into June, until it blooms and then it’s best to wait for the next year.
The Brits eat rhubarb with custard but there are many, many delicious recipes for the roots of rhubarb.
The rule is simple, though, you don’t eat the first year’s harvest, you leave it alone and let the plant establish stronger roots.
After that? You’ll get 20+ years of harvests from your rhubarb crop. Just don’t eat the leaves – they’re poisonous.
Bunching Onions/Walking Onions
These are a form of onion which produces all the bulbs at the peak of the plant. You can, of course, either eat the onion or use it to grow more onions.
Why walking onions? Due to the top-heavy nature of this plant, when the bulbs are completely mature, the plant falls over and the bulbs grow where they land!
These leafy greens are an excellent perennial with a garlicky sort of taste (they are also sometimes called “bear garlic”).
You need to grow them from cuttings or bulbs though as their seeds are super challenging to work with.
Another very tasty, but unusual, green, you’ll need to bone up getting these wonderful plants growing as they’re are challenging but if you make it work?
You won’t regret it.
Day Lillies are a wonderful form of edible flower that not only look wonderful but add a new element to salads and other dishes.
They’re great as a garnish too!
Final Thoughts On Perennial Vegetables
Really, there’s no excuse for not growing perennial vegetables in your garden, they’re so easy to maintain and care for.
It’s like having a free source of food for no effort.
That they’re also super tasty and good for the soil and your garden as a whole is an added bonus.
Why not start growing some today?