Perennial Vegetables

We've been doing a lot of thinking, before and since my last posting of what we really want out of a homestead.

Okay, I'll admit it. We're a three-person family of which the 2 adults (er hum) are, well, lazy. The kid just wants to play, so he grumbles (a little) doing chores. We never get to sleep in on weekends, but want to. We're procrastinators. Hubby will do hard work but only if prodded (read: nagged). I am physically disabled so hard work is very limited.

So we're working on a plan for our next homestead. Part of that plan is to have as many perennial vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, etc. as possible. This posting will deal with perennial vegetables.

We live near Denver, Colorado in USA so we get very cold weather. So here goes:


  • Asparagus: We already have 6 plants. We planted two first-year plants per trash can (bucket) last year, so a total of 3 buckets and 6 plants. They really ferned out last summer, had a few stalks (which we didn't eat), then wintered in our family room under grow lights. We moved them outside in April, watered them, and last weekend notice 4 of the 6 are growing stalks! Hubby is really the only one in our little family who likes asparagus, but I have found that dehydrated and pulverized into a powder... it works well hidden in pizza sauce. Very high in vitamins and minerals, and dries well.

  • Rhubarb: It's used as a fruit, but is actually a vegetable. My mother-in-law has rhubarb growing in her backyard, so she split a plant and gave us some last Spring (2008). It grew pretty well last year, but thought we'd lost it because we saw lots of holes in the leaves. We thought insects had gotten to it. It was dead by August. We never moved it because, well, we're lazy! About 3 weeks ago, we noticed new green leaves where there was only dead brown ones from last year. Today, there are about 25 huge healthy stalks and lots of green leaves. Again, Hubby is the only one who likes this but doesn't know how to cook it. I think when it turns cool out on Thursday, I'll go cut some stalks and place them in the dehydrator. After they've dried, I'll turn them into a powder and add them to a homemade strawberry syrup. Yum! Rhubarb is very high in vitamins and minerals, and dries well.

The following list is from http://garden.lovetoknow.com/wiki/Perennial_Foods. I'm going to have to do some more research to find out which of these will actually grow in cold weather. I don't even know what many of these are!

Perennial Vegetables and Greens:


  • Arrowhead, Sagittaria sagittifolia

  • Arugula, rocket, Diplotaxis erucoides

  • Asparagus, Asparagus officinalis

  • Chicory, Cichorium sp.

  • Comfrey, Symphytum sp.

  • Earth Pea, Lathyrus tuberosa

  • Elephant Garlic, Allium ampeloprasum

  • Galangal, Thai ginger, Alpinia galangal

  • Garlic, Allium sativum

  • Ginger, Zingiber officinale

  • Globe artichoke, Cynara scolymus

  • Golden shallots, Allium cepa var. aggregatum

  • Ground nut, Agrios americana

  • Horseradish, Amoracia sp.

  • Jerusalem artichokes, sunchoke, Helianthus tuberosus

  • New Zealand Spinach, Tetragonia

  • Oca, New Zealand yam, Oxalis tuberosa

  • Peruvian parsnip, Arracacia xanthorrhiza

  • Rhubarb, Rhuem rhabarbarum

  • Sea beet, Beta vulgaris ssp.maritima

  • Sea kale, Crambe maritima

  • Sorrel, Rumex acetosa

  • Sweet potato, Ipomoea batatas

  • Taro, Colocasia esculenta

  • Turmeric, Indian saffron, Curcuma domestica

  • Waterchestnuts, Eleocharis dulcis

  • Welsh onion, Allium sp.

  • Yacon, Smallanthus sonchifolius

  • Yam, Dioscorea batata
Tomorrow: perennial herbs!

2 comments:

Confessions of an Overworked Mom said...

I can tell you that Jerusalem artichoke, chicory and horseradish grow fine in cold weather. I'd also recommend Egyptian walking onions.

ThrtnWmsFam said...

Those 4 sounds like a nice little salad! Thanks! Vikki