Perennial Vegetables – How to Grow a Vegetable Garden
How to Grow a Vegetable Garden Full of Perennial Vegetables
There are many such perennial vegetables and on the salad and onion side we are very well catered for.
How to grow afull of perennial vegetables is a question I am regularly asked. I always grow the following perennial vegetables: Welsh onions, Egyptian onions, chives, sorrel, dandelion, watercress, parsley, sea-kale, mercury, nine-star broccoli, spinach beet, Jerusalem artichoke, globe artichoke, asparagus, rhubarb, horseradish, runner beans and, of course, .
This is a fairly long list of perennial vegetables and would be capable of supplying a wide variety of vegetables which require the minimum of attention. The yield of most of these is such that pickings could be taken so that vegetables and salads of some variety were available every day. To maintain a supply of young succulent growths, the main requirement initially is a deeply-dug, well-manured land given regular mulchings of compost or of rotted manure and an occasional dusting of fertiliser during showery weather. In the winter some form of protection may be necessary; not that the plants will be killed but any young growth exposed will be slow to develop in the spring and could even be on the tough side.
Whether anyone would want to have a garden composed entirely of perennial vegetables is a matter of personal choice, but quite a number could be successfully included. Most of these are readily obtainable either from vegetables seeds or from plants, but there are one or two items for which you will have to search around.
Welsh onions are like perennial spring onions, similar to, but larger than chives, and can be used all the year round for salads and for cooking. All you have to remember is every time you take some away from the parent clump, split a few up and replant them. On a more ambitious scale they can be divided up and grown in rows.
The Egyptian onion produces its small bulbs on the tops of the stem, they are like small shallots and very useful for stews and salads. To perpetuate the stock all you need is to press a few of these small bulbs into the ground at any time of the year. They will soon sprout and grow whilst the base or the old bulb continues to send up new growths. These two members of the onion family can be dotted about in almost any odd corner of the garden as they are not too unsightly.
Although I mentioned that I grow both dandelions and sorrel, I didn’t say that I also grow nettles. Believe it or not nettles, despite no-one being proud of having a bed of nettles in their garden, are a very good vegetable indeed. The cultivated dandelion is worth taking seriously as this can be blanched, it is every bit as good as endive or chicory and a lot less trouble. The two artichokes present no problems as the globe looks very well in the herbaceous border and the Jerusalem artichoke is an excellent alternative to the potato having approximately the same nutritional qualities. Indeed, in the old herbals, it is quoted as being far superior to the potato for diabetics.
As far as asparagus is concerned, no one needs to be afraid of the difficulties of producing this as a vegetable crop because it can be grown in rows across the garden as simply as potatoes. No need for elaborate beds; you can either earth it up to blanch and have white asparagus or you can leave it to its own devices and have a green type.
Mercury, also known as Good King Henry, is an easily-grown leafy vegetable that has been a favourite of mine because of its superb flavour.
Spinach beet can be sown in spring and early summer and if thinned out to about 6 inches will produce nice plants for the winter. In mild weather it can be used right through the winter, although it may need a little protection with cloches to keep it young and tender. The following season it must be prevented from going to seed by cutting out the flowering stems in just the same way as you would for rhubarb.
Even if you have only a small garden, learning how to grow a vegetable garden and introducing perennial vegetables such as the Welsh onion is most satisfying. Welsh onions can be used as a salad crop, tops and all, in soups and other cooked dishes. It doesn’t take a lot of trouble to keep them all in good order and what is probably best of all, very few of these perennial vegetables succumb to the normal pests and diseases of their respective tribes.