So, when to harvest spaghetti squash? The best time is early to mid-fall. In the northern…
Perennial vegetables have always been my favorite vegetable. When I started my first vegetable garden as a six year old, artichokes were my mainstay perennial.
Perennials are plants that live more than two seasons. They grow back in your garden or indoor growing container without any special care.
Some perennials live longer than others but most will be around from late winter until early autumn.
Some perennials die down during winter but come back again next spring. Others stay green all summer long.
The best part is they don’t need a lot of space so you can easily fit them into small spaces like indoor garden containers. You just have to remember to give them some sun every day.
The most common types of perennials include vegetables, grasses, herbs, shrubs, bulbs, vines, ferns, and trees. For the purposes of this article, here’s a shortlist of perennial vegetables:
- brussels sprouts
- sweet potato
- tree collards
- tree cabbage
Why Bother With Perennials?
Why should we care about growing perennial vegetables?
Because they are nutritious, easy to grow and require less maintenance than annuals.
They also provide a continuous supply of food throughout the year.
Perennial vegetables can be grown in any climate as long as you have access to water during winter months.
The only requirement is that your soil must not freeze for more than one month at a time.
If it does, then you will need to protect them with mulch or straw until spring when temperatures rise again.
Are Perennial Vegetables Easy To Grow?
There are pros and cons in growing perennial vegetables. I have been growing perennials for years.
I love the fact that they are easy to grow, and you can plant them in a variety of ways depending on your needs.
They also provide food year after year without any work from me. They can be grown from seed, transplanted or started in containers and then planted out into the garden when they’re ready to grow.
Some perennials will die back each year but others may continue growing throughout winter until spring comes around again.
The best thing about perennial vegetables is you don’t have to replant them every season.
Just leave a few seeds behind so your plant has something new to eat all summer long!
Advantages Of Growing Perennials
Here’s ten advantages for growing perennial vegetables.
1. Easy maintenance. you don’t have to water them as often because their roots go deep into the soil. This means less time spent watering and more time enjoying your yard. Plus, if you do need to water them, it won’t hurt anything else around them.
2. Little to no weeds. If you plant perennials correctly, there shouldn’t be any weeds at all. That said, some plants like dill require weeding every few weeks so make sure you know what kind of weed control you need before planting.
3. Low-maintenance. Some people think growing annual veggies requires too much maintenance but this isn’t true for most varieties. Annual crops such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and squash take up space and energy from other plants in your garden. Many of these crops also produce seeds which spread easily throughout your property. In contrast, perennials eventually die off naturally. There’s nothing left behind except beautiful flowers and leaves.
4. You save time by not having to start over with annuals each year.
5. Your vegetable patch looks great because it doesn’t look tired like an allotment plot does.
6. It saves you money as you only need one packet of seeds instead of buying different varieties.
7. In most cases, there’s no need to buy any soil amendments such as compost or manure which means less work for you.
8. To add extra color to your vegetable patch this year, why not plant some flowers too?
9. You won’t have to worry about pests eating your crops as there aren’t many insects that attack these type of plants.
10. Because they last longer, you can harvest your produce later in the season without worrying if you’ve missed anything.
Are There Any Cons?
Yes there are. But the pros far outweigh the cons.
Growing perennial vegetables is a great way to add variety and nutrition to your diet.
However, there are some disadvantages that you should be aware of before starting this type of gardening project.
There are disadvantages in anything worth doing in life. Growing perennial vegetables are no different.
But don’t worry, they shouldn’t prevent you from making perennials a major part of your vegetable garden.
Here we will discuss the main issues associated with growing perennials.
The Disadvantages of Growing Perennials
The time it takes for them to mature can take up to 10 years or more. This means that if you want to harvest in one season then you need to start planning ahead.
You also have to consider how much space they require. This is crucial if you want to grow them indoors or outdoors. If you live somewhere where winters get cold, then you may not be able to grow these plants outside all year round. In addition, many varieties do not tolerate frost very well.
They don’t flower as abundantly which makes harvesting difficult. Many people enjoy eating fresh herbs. Unfortunately most annuals won’t provide any at all. Some types of perennial vegetables such as rhubarb and dill only flower once every few years. Others such as artichokes and cardoons bloom sporadically throughout their life cycle.
Many varieties aren’t suitable for container gardens. Although some gardeners love growing their own food in containers, others prefer to use purchased seedlings.
Many types of perennial vegetables contain high levels of oxalic acid. Oxalates bind calcium ions making them unavailable to our bodies. As such, consuming too much oxalate can cause health problems including kidney stones. For example, spinach contains about 1 gram per 100 grams while rhubarb has around 2 grams per 100 grams. Therefore, when cooking with these foods make sure you use plenty of water to dilute excess oxalates.
Many perennial vegetables are grown using soil-based fertilizers. There are several ingredients present which includes nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Although these nutrients are essential for healthy growth, excessive amounts can lead to nutrient deficiencies. Soil testing kits are available at garden centers and nurseries. Testing your soil prior to planting ensures that you know what level of nutrients you need.
Perennial Vegetables – Conclusion
So, should you grow perennial vegetables?
The answer is a resounding yes! Growing up on a farm I learnt a lot from my parents.
They divided one section of their huge vegetable garden to perennials. The other section was devoted to all the other varieties.
I often used to stare constantly at the perennial section because it looked a lot more untidy. That was for a reason. The plants were left as is for awhile after the produce was picked. But it didn’t take long before they were back looking ready to produce another crop.
What was my favorite perennial vegetable? Undoubtedly the artichoke.
My parents were Italian immigrants. The recipes they had for artichokes were nothing short of amazing. I’ll share them here sometime in a future post when I get permission.