Perennial Vegetables, How to Grow Them

  • Editor: Melanie
  • Time to read: 8 min.

It is not uncommon for gardeners to grow annual vegetables such as cucumbers, tomatoes and the likes. However, we have a variety of perennial vegetables we can grow that’ll provide us with several benefits, including the harvest of edible parts. These vegetable plants of this variety can be quite beneficial so you should at least attempt to plant some.

This article contains a list of edible perennial vegetables you can grow in your garden.

Why Should You Grow Perennial Vegetables?

Below are some reasons why you should consider including some perennial plants in your garden:

  • You’ll get to harvest annually
  • They require low maintenance
  • The absence of tilling is beneficial for soil food
  • Perennial plants have a higher resistance to insects
  • Some perennial plants have deep roots which build the soil as well as foliage decomposition each year
  • Plants like asparagus live for long periods
  • Some perennial plants will look great in a flower garden
  • You have different edible parts and a variety of flavours with perennial vegetable

 

Things to Consider Before Planting

You should always do some research to learn more about the plants you intend growing in your garden and the same goes for perennial plants. While some vegetables might thrive best with full sunlight, some shade will do others good. Examine the area you’ll be growing the vegetables[1] before going ahead to plant. The state of the soil is also the plant; perennial crops usually remain at the same location for years and even decades so ensure the soil is healthy enough. You can add some compost and fertilizers to infuse more nutrients into the soil and take off weeds.

Perennial plants might require you to wait for some years before you begin to harvest. This demands that you be patient and keep caring for the plant. There are vegetables you can use bulbs, tubers or plants rather than using seeds; this route will be faster. In any case, water you plants properly as they develop. As time goes by, perhaps each year adding some compost, organic fertilizer and manure will be beneficial to the plant’s well-being.

Here is a list of some perennial vegetables you can grow:

  1. Asparagus

Asparagus is a great perennial vegetable to grow in your garden. It has a long life span so you’ll keep harvesting for years to come. The plant favours a sunny environment with a properly drained soil. Asparagus can be grown indoors from seed, but you’ll need to transport to the garden once frost doesn’t pose a threat anymore.

You’ll have to wait for about 3 years before you begin to harvest. To speed up the process, you can purchase a year old asparagus plant from garden centres during spring. This will limit your waiting period by a year, so you’ll have two years left for harvest to begin.

 

 

Before planting, you’ll have to prepare the beds. This translates to weeding and loosening up the soil to about 16 inches deep. An asparagus bed should have a width of not less than 3 feet and the length is totally up to you. There should be 18 inches of space between plants. How many plants you intend to grow will enable you to determine the bed length.

Apply some compost or manure to the soil. Put in the crowns 6 to 8 inches into the soil and cover up with soil one or two inches. Fill up the hole as the plant grows. Ensure the plants are watered diligently during the first year. Allow the plants to develop and mature. You can begin harvesting from the second year, but not a lot of spears from a single plant. The third year will bring you a large harvest and you will continue to harvest spears annually for up to decades.

  1. Good King Henry

Good king henry gives gardeners two seasons of harvest. In early spring, it grows thick shoots which can be snipped off and used. Next, we have the greens which everyone hopes to harvest when growing this plant. The leaves can be prepared for consumption by steaming or boiling. As the leaves mature, they tend to get bitter. Boiling will help reduce the bitter taste.

You can grow this vegetable from seed which can be purchased at seed companies. However, bear in mind that they aren’t the fastest to germinate. For the best outcome, sow seeds during the winter. Once the time is right, move the seedlings to the garden and space the plants about 12 – 18 inches.

They should mature in about two to three years and you’ll begin to harvest some vegetables.

  1. American Groundnut

This North American plant produces different edible parts for gardeners; this includes beans, its young shoots and the most common edible part, the tubers. To grow this plant, you’ll have to purchase tubers and you can get them from companies online. You can begin harvesting during the late spring.

 

american groundnut

 

Groundnut performs better with a lot of moisture. Its natural environment is right beside a water body, streams or rivers. Within a year, it can be about 8 to 10 feet. You’ll need to provide some support with a fence or any sturdy structure. The tubers need about 2 or 3 years to fully develop. They appear similar to bead neckpieces. You’ll have to boil the tubers before using them as an ingredient for any meal.

  1. Tree Kale

The tree kale goes by different names; tree collars, perennial kale, and walking stick kale amongst others. If you want to grow some nice tasting leaves for your salads and some other meals, then you’ll love the tree kale. For your tree kale to thrive, it should be planted in a sunny area. Also, fix up the soil with some a good amount of compost or organic manure.

You don’t need seeds to plant tree kale. You just need to get some root parts from your local garden centre or from a fellow gardener friend who has some root cuttings to spare.

In cold areas, tree kale can be planted in large pots and kept indoors till winter passes. This plant grows up to 8 feet high and about 4-6 feet wide. You’ll need to provide some support for a growing tree kale plant with a wooden platform or trellis.

  1. Sorrel

Sorrel is desired for the lovely lemon flavour it adds to salads and soups. Sorrel plants will do great in a well-lit area compared to having some shade. Before planting, you should enrich the soil with some compost. You can begin growing this plant from seed indoors, but ensure you pick a sunny spot or get a grow light. You also have the option of getting a plant if you don’t fancy growing from seed.

The plant usually forms huge clumps of green leaves. You can get some pieces from a friend with a clump preferably at the beginning of summer so they have ample time to settle in before winter comes. Every 5 to 6 years, it’s ideal you dig up your sorrel patch. You can also do so if you observe there’s overcrowding or a decline. Afterwards, reduce plants to smaller plants and place them at a new location.

Leaving your sorrel plant to self-seed will cause the plant to spread beyond your control, snip off flowers to prevent that. You can grow a variety known as profusion which doesn’t grow flowers. Besides, they have softer leaves and taste less bitter.

  1. Rhubarb

Rhubarb is one of the easiest perennial vegetables to grow in your garden. Its edible pinkish-red stems are added to a variety of delicacies, including stews, pies, cobblers, pies, muffins, and jam.

If you want to begin growing perennial plants, you should get started with rhubarb. This plant will excel in full sun, partial shade and isn’t so selective with soil type. In addition, you have fewer disease conditions and pests to worry about. To get the best outcome from the rhubarb plant, use a location which gets a minimum of 7 to 8 hours of sunlight. Also, fix the soil with compost or organic manure because any plant will do better with enriched soil.

 

 

 

Rhubarb is commonly shared by close relatives and friends. Perhaps you’ve received some rhubarb from a neighbour or family member in the past so you’ll think of giving some out too. You can divide plant once spring comes with a sharp shovel. Ensure the growing points aren’t less than two.

  1. Ramps

Ramps which are also known as wild leeks add an interesting, distinct flavour. This plant is known to spread and take up space. Ramps don’t require full sunlight to thrive like most vegetables. Select a shady location, perhaps underneath a deciduous tree.

You should plant seeds outdoors and allow them to grow naturally. Trying to grow them indoors may be difficult. If you can get some bulbs, plant them at a nice location 6 inches apart. The soil should be treated with compost or leaf mould. Water the plants consistently and allow them to get established. You may need to wait for some 4, 5 years before harvesting.

  1. Horseradish

The horseradish plant is amongst the hardiest perennial vegetables. It requires full sunlight or partial shade to thrive properly. Its roots are the edible part and it’ll be nice to have such flavourful ingredient in your kitchen. When harvested, you’ll have to peel the roots and puree afterwards.

Horseradish can be found in different variety. You can purchase crowns or roots from a garden centre in spring, even roots from the grocery store may suffice. Once you’ve planted the horseradish in your garden, wait for a whole year to start harvesting. To harvest, use a spade to dig up one side and pick up root pieces. Store up excess roots in the refrigerator, but keep in a plastic bag first.

  1. Oca

Oca is also referred to as New Zealand yam. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to grow oca at northeast regions. However, if you’re a southern gardener take a shot at it. Contrary to its name, the plant is a South American native. It produces colourful tubers.

You can plant oca indoors during winter and take them out to the garden once the frost season passes. Well-drained soil is ideal for growing this plant. It also prefers partial shade and lots of moisture so ensure you water consistently especially when there’s no rain.

Conclusion

The list is by no means exhausted; there are a lot of other perennial vegetables you can grow in your garden. As long as you provide the perfect environment the plants require to do well, you’ll enjoy a satisfactory and flavourful harvest for years to come. Before going on to plant a perennial vegetable, conduct adequate research to discover what the plant needs to thrive and you’ll set yourself up for success by doing so.

 

Glossary

[1] Link

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