Plants come in different varieties. As a gardener, you’ll find plants categorized as annuals, biennials, and perennials. If you want to grow vegetables in your garden, choosing which three is best is crucial. In this article, you’ll learn why you should pick perennial vegetables and the top plants to grow in your garden.
The History of Growing Perennial Vegetables
According to Perennial Vegetables by Eric Toensmeier, most North American gardening and farming traditions came from Europe. As he mentioned, there were very few perennial crops except for fruits and nuts. This is because cold and temperate Eurasian agriculture is centered around annual grains and legumes, and livestock. However, the early European settlers brought their seeds together with the cultivation methods with them. Gardeners started to love perennial crops because they require less work to grow. Suppose you want vegetables in your garden, it would be best to plant perennial vegetables. One reason why is because they are ideal when making an edible landscape plan or permaculture garden. You can profile more than 100 species which you can use to cook delicious meals.
What is A Perennial?
Before you learn the top perennial vegetables you can add to your landscape garden, it is essential to understand what a perennial is. Perennials refer to the plants that come back year after year. What makes it different is that annuals must be planted each year while biennials can live for two years. To enjoy perennial vegetables, you don’t have to replant them each year to enjoy a food harvest. You can plant your garden or orchard once, and your plantings can last for several years.
Top Perennial Vegetables to Grow in Your Garden
If you are considering growing perennial vegetables, you may choose any of the following:
- American Groundnut is a North American vining plant. It has showy burgundy flowers that offer many edible parts, including the beans and the young shoots. Among the edible parts of groundnut are the starchy tubers.
- Arrowhead, Sagittaria sp., is a water vegetable that produces tasty edible tubers. You can quickly cultivate it as a perennial vegetable in small bodies of water. This plant offers a nutty, earthy flavor and cooks like potatoes.
- Asparagus, Asparagus officinalis, is one of the most used vegetables when making salads and other healthy recipes. It is recommended to have homegrown asparagus if you like this vegetable because it is more delicious than those sold in supermarkets.
- Chickory, Cichorium intybus, is a plant whose roots are used to flavor coffee, especially from New Orleans. The greens of all varieties of this plant are also edible, along with the flowers.
- Chinese Artichoke, Stachys affinis, is a mint relative that forms dense colonies of low-growing lush foliage. This plant includes tiny tubers beneath the soil that grow 1-2 inches across and have a mild, sweet, crunchy flavor.
- Good King Henry is a hardy plant that can provide a second harvest to gardeners. This includes the pencil-thick shoots that can be cut and used like asparagus and arrow-shaped greens. These leaves can be treated like spinach and cooked by boiling or steaming.
- Tomato plants, Lycopersicon esculentum, is one of the most common home garden vegetable plants. It is considered a tender perennial that has usually grown as annual in the U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 2 through 10. When grown as a perennial, this plant can produce tomatoes year-round.
The Benefits of Growing Perennial Vegetables
Probably, you are wondering why all the types of vegetables, why you should consider perennials. Growing annuals, biennials, or perennials indeed have both advantages and disadvantages. However, planting perennial vegetables is a more eco-friendly option. According to a study, the estimate of increasing perennial vegetable acreage to 26 million hectares (from roughly 3.3 million hectares today. And by 2050, an additional 280.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year could be stored. It is quite the same as cutting meat from American diets or eliminating the emissions of 60 million cars.
Besides, annual grains can live only one season. As a gardener, you need to plant it every year. However, perennial grains can live year after year and do not require replanting. Perennial plants do not have to be reseeded or replanted every year. In other words, it requires less maintenance because it does not require annual plowing or herbicide applications to establish. Unlike annuals that require farmers to kill the vegetation (weeds) chemically or mechanically that compete with crops for sunlight, nutrients, and water, this is not much needed when growing perennial vegetables.
As mentioned, growing perennial vegetables can provide more benefits since it is more eco-friendly and requires less maintenance. Besides, there are lots of perennial vegetables that can improve your garden landscape. If you wish to have them in your garden, you may refer to the top perennial vegetables to plant in your landscape.