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Perennial Vegetables – Part 1

December 09, 2022 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Grow them once and then continue to harvest them year after year with minimal effort. After the first year, they’ll start to grow all by themselves as the frost leaves the ground.

Here’s 6 rather common perennial vegetables.

  1. Asparagus - A favourite vegetable of many folks.  Plant it in a well drained area where the sun can shine on them all day. Buy the crowns – leafy but light foliage from a nursery – and plant that right away in rows that are 12 inches apart and about 8” deep.  To do that, make a trough in the row and splay them out in the trough (lay them out to be perpendicular to the stem, with the head coming straight up). Then backfill so the crown is above the ground making the roots 8” below ground. Add compost and mulch to help establish the roots for many years of growth.  Some suggest not cutting any asparagus that first year or two.  My parents made a small rectangular space for their asparagus – some 2 feet by 4 feet.  They did harvest a few the first year – perhaps as a reward for their efforts. And their plants grew for decades!
  2. Garlic - Most grow garlic as an annual plant but it you keep it in the ground it can act as a perennial. Simply leave the bulbs in the soil for a couple of seasons and let them multiply on their own. You’ll end up with a bunch of small bulbs, not entire heads, but with loads of garlic scapes to use up.
  3. Rhubarb – Grow it in the colder, damper parts of the garden and use it for desserts, pies, or even just to snack on a stem.  You cannot harvest rhubarb in the first year, you must first wait for it to establish roots. You will have to wait to see that this plant will get bigger and bigger as the seasons pass.  It is said that a single rhubarb plant can last 20 years, before needing to be replaced. In the meantime, enjoy all you can of the tart stalks, being careful to stay clear of the leaves which are poisonous, but not without their own uses in the garden.
  4. Strawberries – these hearty plants grow runners from the main plant then self-root the runner and grow another. And each plant can grow multiple runners each year.  My one plant is now 30 of them and I have to control and pull out the runners each summer!
  5. Raspberries – These grow new stalks from the ground but keep an eye on them as too many crowded stalks can decrease your harvest. Annually, you need to remove older dead stalks.  But no worries more will grow.
  6. Chives.  You’ll be pleased to know that chives are very hardy. Such vigorous growers in fact, that they will need dividing every few years.
Look for the next 7 in next week’s Gardening Tips.

Submitted by Doreen Coyne, a member of the Richmond Hill Garden & Horticultural Society

Member of the Ontario Horticultural Association

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