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Author Topic: Perennial vegetables  (Read 777 times)

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Perennial vegetables
« on: December 11, 2019, 12:32:41 pm »
Does anyone grow perennial veggies?
 
I noticed @nin that you mention it as one of your interests. 
What perennials are there?  Obviously stuff like rhubarb, asparagus and perennial broccoli, but what else? 


I would like to have some more established veg but I'm wondering if it would mean less work or more.  For fruit bushes and so on I find we simply don't manage to keep them weed free - in fact our rasps have gone totally wild and we have to fight thistles and nettles to crop them, although they still produce heavy crops of fruit.  We have a huge problem with couch grass, which has meant that we have been unable to go the 'no dig' route we would like to.  I am fiercely anti-chemicals so that is not an option, and couch is so rampant that it grows under and seemingly even through concrete, and seems to grow its roots down through the bedrock  :furious:   :rant:   So any info and advice would be lovely  :) :garden:
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nin

  • Joined Feb 2019
Re: Perennial vegetables
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2019, 02:11:09 pm »
https://www.incrediblevegetables.co.uk/shop/   This website is great for perennial veg the stock changes throughout the year and it’s packed with Info.

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Perennial vegetables
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2019, 05:21:00 pm »
At least I am not alone in having a raspberry patch that has gone feral... phew. I find  the other fruit bushes are fine with black plastic (removed in the winter for adding manure as a mulch, but put back so less weeds grow) works but not for the rasps.
I have been looking at a few youtube videos on permaculture, but it I am not too sure about it all....

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Perennial vegetables
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2019, 11:48:39 am »
@Anke  Rasps are quite mad - mine even pop up in the polytunnel!  We have tried weed suppressing fabric of various kinds before including black polythene, but none of them go well with terriers!  Even the giant heavy duty tarp we use to cover the spare veg patch each year, rotating, has been shredded at the edges by the dogs, after mice.  They are both very elderly now so the time will come when they are either too old to dig, or they are no more, so then I can use fabrics again to suppress the weeds. Thistles, couch and nettles will still come through though, depressingly.


I had a look at the link and the only thing I can see me growing and eating is the dwarf Jerusalem artichokes.  I have grown the usual kind but at 8 feet tall they really don't do well up here - too windy.  The dwarf ones though look worth trying, and being bright red should be easier to dig up.  Quite pricey though, plus P&P on top of that, for three wee tubers.  I shall think on it, and probably get some  ::)


I too looked at various sites online, including you tube, but I didn't find anything I couldn't grow as a better crop using annuals and biennials.  T&M used to sell seed for 'Nine Star Perennial Broccoli' but I don't see it now and never tried it before.  The other perennial brassicas look more like animal feed, except one sold by another company - I might try that too.


Thanks for the link @nin .  Can you give any recommendations for specific perennial crops that you have grown with success?
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Perennial vegetables
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2019, 11:58:57 am »
I just found nine star perennial broccoli seeds but it was the last one (ebay) and I bought it!  It sounds massive but I'm sure we'll have room.
The dwarf Jerusalem Artichokes appear to have gone out of stock since last night - ah well, you win some, you lose some!
« Last Edit: December 12, 2019, 12:11:48 pm by Fleecewife »
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

pgkevet

  • Joined Jul 2011
Re: Perennial vegetables
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2019, 12:36:54 pm »
Perpetual spinach?
If on could keep things frost free then some theoreticals: peppers, cutting down the runner beans and they should regrow from the tubers, same for green onion and possibly leek. Would PSB keep going? Then you have some edible perennial flowers, wild garlic leaves and chives.edit - add vine leaves

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Perennial vegetables
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2019, 01:01:13 pm »
No chance of keeping anything frost free here.  We have tried a heater in the greenhouse which is inside the tunnel, but no success.  The only place which is mostly frost free is most of the house, but even that depends on what the weather chucks at us, with windowsills being particularly at risk.  It also means we have only a short growing season, with seeds having to be started off in pots indoors in a propagator.


For spinach - that's one of the very few veg I dislike. To use a basic Scots phrase - it gies me the boak! (it  makes me feel a little squeamish)  :eyelashes:   I am trying white chard this year, as a change from the red and coloured but that doesn't survive a hard frost.


Oddly, we do sometimes get runner beans which regrow in spring in the tunnel, and we get lots of volunteer tomatoes, most of which I remove in case they carry blight. I have let some carry on and have had some wonderful sports as a result. The year before last I grew various peas and beans for drying, and last year loads of the peas popped up again - they did really well but unfortunately they grew in what had become the garlic bed, so our garlic crop was not so good (shaded out).


Please keep the suggestions coming.  I'm kicking  myself about not ordering the Jerusalem artichokes  :rant:
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Perennial vegetables
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2019, 02:29:45 pm »
I have to say I have given up on Jerusalem artichokes - the mice always get them before they even come up...
I am preparing an area for asparagus (weed fabric doubled up down now and putting a layer of cardboard underneath as soon as I have enough, all left for another year), and am looking at a few different fruit trees, like more plums (as they only fruit once in a blue moon), mirabelles and a couple of pears maybe.
I am not sure about perennial kale - I would have thought the leaves  get shredded by caterpillars and no point having it under netting all the time. Kale is also not a summer thing for me.

nin

  • Joined Feb 2019
Re: Perennial vegetables
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2019, 03:27:18 pm »
@Anke
Thanks for the link @nin .  Can you give any recommendations for specific perennial crops that you have grown with success?

I have tried artichokes both sorts and I find the only issues with Jerusalem are supporting them and digging enough out so they don’t take over.
Walking onions are fun  , good king Henry is supposed to be easy , I had good king Henry many years ago before I gardened and it didn’t go well for me, but thats prob more to do with my experience at the time than the plant.
I keep chard plants year on year the white is strongest followed by the red the other colours just don’t seem to have winter vigour and I am currently inside the m25 so it’s fairly warm all year.
I have seen others with nine star and it seems fairly good.
I am in the process of selling up and moving one of the reasons is more room for growing , I want to plant a dedicated perennial veg garden as well  as a regular veg garden , I find the idea of experimenting with perennial veg as an extreme version of no dig inspiring.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Perennial vegetables
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2019, 12:23:29 am »
It's inspiration I'm looking for too, a slightly different way to do things.  I get the impression from online talk and you tube clips that perennial veg is more of a US thing, where they have many areas with a milder climate than we have here in Scotland.  I think weather will be the drawback to many things I could try, and I don't have the spare energy to fail, so I'll try the nine star broccoli first, also see if my white chard survives more than a year before I try anything else.
I love globe artichokes, which my Dad grew in Norfolk, but they simply don't survive the cold here, even inside the polytunnel, wrapped in fleece. 


Good luck with your perennial garden when you get it up and running - keep us informed of how it turns out.


@Anke I would love to have asparagus, but I fear any bed here being overrun with weeds. I would love to know in a couple of years if your bed is successful  :hungry:




www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

Briggsy from Gower

  • Joined Nov 2018
Re: Perennial vegetables
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2019, 10:24:43 am »
I have mixed feelings about perennial veg. The longer in the ground, the more likelihood of disease, pest damage or mice munching. A perennial brassica I feel would be particularly vulnerable.

Also, a lot of the offerings listed by permaculture enthusiasts tend to be low yield as they are trying to ape a foraging style of gardening. Great if you have LOTS of space and time.

Self seeding I tend to take advantage of, though it is pot luck whether the plants will be vigorous. I have not sown celery or dill seeds for years, I just look out for the volunteers and move them to where I want them to grow. I also have a lovely new dwarf fennel (I think it is a dill/fennel cross) which is great for salads, I just let them grow where they appear and harvest at 12". So maybe allowing some of your best plants to set seed and leave nature to take care of the rest is a version of perennial growing (if not technically the same!). One year I accidently got a 12" high pepper plant with 12" long red hot peppers (OOPs).

There are of course plenty of edibles out there for us to take advantage of with no effort at all. Dandelion, plantain, ground elder, nettles to name a few. All perfectly happy to propagate and maintain themselves with no effort at all for us humans.

I am curious about keeping chard going. Once it has flowered, do the flower stalks die back and new growth appear from the base? I'll leave some in this year and see what happens.


macgro7

  • Joined Feb 2016
Re: Perennial vegetables
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2019, 11:28:43 am »
For spinach - that's one of the very few veg I dislike. To use a basic Scots phrase - it gies me the boak! (it  makes me feel a little squeamish)  :eyelashes:   I am trying white chard this year, as a change from the red and coloured but that doesn't survive a hard frost.
Bare in mind that perpetual spinach is not actually spinach - it's a variety of CHARD. It's one of few things which keeps growing through snow! Or at least it doesn't die. One of my favourite greens to grow, at the moment I'm missing it's flavour , I wish I planted more when it was warm.
Growing loads of fruits and vegetables! Raising dairy goats, chickens, ducks, geese rabbits and a little boy on 1/2 acre in the middle of the city of Leicester, using permaculture methods.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Perennial vegetables
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2019, 01:19:19 pm »
 @macgro7  It could just be the name 'spinach' that makes me avoid it, but if the perpetual type tastes even remotely like the annual, or has the same texture (which chard does too) then I'll not bother.  I'm hoping the white chard is a little different so I'll persevere with that.  Various veg are offered as 'a spinach substitute' so are immediately off the menu.  If they even said 'a spinach alternative' I might try.  (In the 1970s I went on a diet - the Mayo clinic diet' - which relied heavily on endless cups of strong black coffee, and poached eggs on a bed of cooked spinach.  I think it worked by being inedible and I have been unable to drink coffee or eat spinach since.  Even eggs have to be from my own hens.  I ended up with a duodenal ulcer from that diet  :roflanim: )


@BriggsyfromGower I'm tending to agree with you and Anke about persistent pests and diseases with perennials.  We have managed to get club root down to a minimum here, so I'll put the Nine Star somewhere on its own for a trial period.  Chard seems to be fairly pest free.  Carol Klein says to cut all stems down to 2" above the soil to refresh it.  She says it resprouts very easily several times after that treatment. Maybe in the past I just thought mine was dead when if I'd left it to regrow then the sad frosted slush would have reappeared in spring as fresh healthy leaves  :idea:   :thinking:  ...or not.
You missed a trick by not doing some vegetative propagation from your amazing chilli.  You could have made a killing with 'stupendous hanging basket' chilli plants at £7.50 a shot.
I would like to get my revenge on our ground elder by eating it, but while we have a male dog I think I'll give it a miss! He's only 'wee', but still.  Nettles too - while they are still small and tender they are within his zone.  We used to eat nettles quite a bit when I was a child, waiting for some sporadic farming cheque to come in, and they are a wonder food, so I'll give them a go again  this coming spring, carefully sourced from somewhere the dog doesn't go  :dog:
« Last Edit: December 14, 2019, 01:22:18 pm by Fleecewife »
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

Briggsy from Gower

  • Joined Nov 2018
Re: Perennial vegetables
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2019, 09:29:04 am »
Thanks Fleecewife, will give the chard a second chance this year.

As you say nettles are a super food and should definately be given their place in the kitchen. I dry leaves as well and pop them into soups and stews in the winter.

Another one (though not native they do self seed like crazy so will keep themselves going year on year) is nasturtiums. You can eat leaves, flowers and seeds. They are a natural antibiotic and the seeds you can dry and grind up as a pepper alternative or pickle when still green as a caper alternative. They won't fill you up, but are super healthy!

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Perennial vegetables
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2019, 12:29:04 pm »
Oh yes, nasturtiums - we love them!  Which is just as well as our polytunnel is full of them every year.  We always have leaves and flowers in our salads (look out for earwigs in the horn bit at the back of the flower! - we love earwigs, but not to eat!) and I use the 'capers' in piccalilli.  This year I'm trying nasturtiums as  microleaves for the first time, growing them on a mat of old towelling, in a waste food tray on the windowsill.  I always grow various microleaves in the winter, for healthy vitamins and so on, plus a bit of fresh crunch.
Good idea to dry some nettles and add them to food during the winter - I'll do that this spring  :yum:
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

 

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