Forum home Fruit & veg

Perennial veg

FireFire LondonPosts: 14,719
edited May 2021 in Fruit & veg
There was an interesting section on this week's GW on perennial veg - backing on to Forest Gardening. One of the bibles on perennial veg is "How to create a food forest garden", by Martin Crawford". It has a long list of perennial veg and the plants virtues and habits. It's a beautiful book to spend an evening with too.


  • BigladBiglad East LancashirePosts: 2,548
    That was the segment that interested me most @Fire. I need to devote a section of the garden to a few of those rascals :)

    Thanks for that link.
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 14,719
    edited May 2021
    It does seem to be an overlooked area in current gardening (excuse the pun). There a lof of great, easy, native options, like the Good King Henry that the show mentioned (similar to spinach) but now with the world to choose from too and increasing shared knowledge and field exploration, the garden is your oyster. Kiwis from New Zealand, Chinese artichokes, mashua and ocon from South America, Szechuan pepper, and American tree collards.
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 5,710
    edited May 2021
    I'll second @Fire 's book recommend - it's a really good read and full of fascinating information. The basic principle is that annual veg requires a lot of resources - water, fertiliser, energy but perennials need far less. Given that the natural state of land in our temperate climate is woodland, the idea is that you grow food in, essentially, a snippet of woodland environment and you'll be able to work with nature rather than fighting it all the time.

    I've been attempting to grow some. Perennial onions and leeks I can do, I've got scorzonera established now, rhubarb, soft fruits which make a good mid-storey, and also perennial rocket, sorrel and lots of herbs. I haven't managed to keep perennial kale alive through a winter yet. It's not that it's tender, it gets blown out of the ground by the high winds we get some times. Not sure why it's worse than the annual kales that I also grow through winter. I'm working on it (and my wind breaks).

    It seems like a really good principle for domestic food production if you can get it to work
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 14,719
    edited May 2021
    Aficionadas and hard core permaculturalists can get all a bit zealous about this field, but pieces can be easily integrated into current gardens and allotments without having to overhaul the whole space.

    There's a whole load of intruiging new plants to explore here, but it might be useful to work out if they are beautiful / a great thought / beguiling or if you would actually want to / would eat much of them. It's quite easy to fill a garden with a nice idea.

    Very practical "ordinary" crops of us, like kale, rhubarb, asparagus, chards, spinaches, currents, garlic etc, like RG mentions, can get you a long way.
  • StephenSouthwestStephenSouthwest Southwest EnglandPosts: 360
    Here's the link to Mandy's website:

  • IlikeplantsIlikeplants W Mids Posts: 868
    I found this section of gardeners world really interesting and would like to try sea kale, will have to be seeds, good king Henry and Jerusalem artichokes. Will supermarket ones do to start it, I should probably try it for taste first? I’ll try to get sorrel too.
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 7,761
    I've got perennial onions and have done the spinach, although I found after 3 years it goes woody
  • LG_LG_ gardens in SE LondonPosts: 3,873
    It was a really interesting and intriguing piece. I'm going to look into that book too. Thanks for the tip. 
    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
  • jonathan.colejonathan.cole Posts: 204
    That's interesting; I'm a few weeks behind on GW. Will have to catch up!

    I got Martin Crawford's book a few months ago after looking at perennial veg. Our garden was previously an orchard and we were already adding currants, raspberries and strawberries before I knew what forest gardens were, so it seems like an obvious path to take.

    Having edible things in the garden is great, and really good with young children too. I've made a gentle start with perennial kale and perennial leeks, but have my eye on converting the top part of the garden to more of a forest garden proper.

    There's also a blog by a chap in Aberdeen who has tried out various perennial veg. If you Google Scottish forest garden you should find it.
Sign In or Register to comment.