Combine permaculture gardening techniques and edible landscaping ingenuity in your garden by growing perennial vegetables. You’ll be surprised by how little work garden perennials require when compared with the work you expend growing annuals. Plus, our list of best perennials and resources guide will get you started with this sustainable, practical gardening technique.
Suppose a new agricultural breakthrough promised higher yields, a longer growing season and much less work. These claims can become real benefits for those willing to make a change to a way of gardening that more closely mimics nature.
Nature’s ecosystems always include not only annual vegetables, but also perennials — edible roots, shoots, leaves, flowers and fruits that produce year after year. Besides fruit-bearing trees and shrubs, more than 100 species of perennial vegetables grow well in North America.
By growing perennials, you’ll create a more diverse garden that ultimately needs less from you: You’ll spend less time working and more time harvesting.
“It’s as close to zero-work gardening as you can get,” says Eric Toensmeier, author of Perennial Vegetables. “Our perennial vegetable beds planted 11 years ago still bear food, and all we do is add compost and mulch once a year.”
What’s more, growing perennials extends the harvest season without a greenhouse, cold frame or other device. You can harvest Jerusalem artichokes all winter as long as you mulch enough to keep the ground from freezing.
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