What Are Perennial Vegetables?
Perennial vegetables are parts of plants that are prepared and eaten like a vegetable, and that are also perennial, in other words, the plants live for more than two years. Some well known perennial vegetables from the temperate regions of the world include asparagus, artichoke and rhubarb. In the tropics cassava and taro are grown as vegetables, and these plants can live many years.
Think about how much work your perennial flower beds take compared to your annual vegetable garden. In a busy year, your perennial garden largely sails through despite neglect. Once your perennials are established, and if they are suited to your climate and site conditions, they can be virtually indestructible. An annual vegetable garden, as we all know, requires much more watering, weeding, and work to get a good crop. Once established, perennial vegetables are often more resistant to the attacks of pests, due to their reserves of energy stored in their roots.
As the days lengthen and the sun grows stronger, many of us are champing at the bit to get our gardens started. Seed catalogues are being pored over, dog-eared, and circled, and some folks may have even begun to order vegetable seeds in preparation for early starts indoors. Although annual edibles like tomatoes and lettuce are favored by many, you might like to look into some perennial vegetables as well: they only require one season’s worth of time and effort to establish them, and you’ll be rewarded with delightful edibles forever.
Benefits of Perennial Vegetable Gardening
If you’ve done any sort of gardening in the past, you’re probably well familiar with the process of starting seeds indoors, prepping soil, moving seedlings outside to harden them, planting them in the soil itself, and then the eventual harvest of both the mature vegetable/fruit and any seeds that have formed. When it comes to perennial gardens, you only have to do all of that once, and the plants will just keep coming back year after year. Doesn’t that sound splendid?
Perennial crops can also help to build, or at the very least improve the quality of your soil: they don’t need to be tilled, so they keep the mycelial culture and soil structure intact, they increase aeration and water absorption, and their natural decomposition cycles as they drop leaves and die back every year creates a natural compost and topsoil.
Below are a few perennial vegetables that you might be interested in. It’s not a complete list, as there are many different permanent edible plants growing all over the world, but these are probably familiar to most people, and can be found/purchased fairly easily.