The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Perennial vegetables

Perennial VegetablesPermaculture books trip over themselves to toss out the names of intriguing perennial vegetables, but the books are short on specifics of where and how these vegetables can be grown.  When I heard that Eric Toensmeier (co-author of Edible Forest Gardens) had written a book called Perennial Vegetables, I knew I'd fond the holy grail, but I put off reading Toensmeier's book for one simple reason --- I knew that I'd want to buy every vegetable listed.  So, be forewarned --- don't pick up this book unless you've got $100 or more burning a hole in your pocket.

Perennial Vegetable provides cultivation information for over 100 plants that are grown for edible leaves, shoots, tubers, and more.  In this lunchtime series, I've picked out the crops that I find the most intriguing, but I highly recommend that you read the book yourself, especially if you live further south than zone 6 --- over half of the species like warmer temperatures, so I skipped over them.  My list is also low on tubers because we don't eat that may of them and I'm very happy with our potatoes and sweet potatoes.  Tuber-lovers should look up Perennial Vegetables to read about additional crops like lotuses, skirret, Jerusalem artichokes, and Chinese yams.

Finally, if you want to get a head-start on checking out which plants might suit your climate, you can go directly to Eric Toensmeier's website and find plant lists for various parts of the U.S., a list of other books to read, and sources for perennial vegetable seeds and starts.  Or drop a comment here to let me know which perennial vegetables you've tried in your own garden.

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This post is part of our Perennial Vegetables lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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