Perennial vegetables

Monek Marie
Monek Marie Posts: 3,535 ✭✭✭✭✭

Every year I try to find a vegetable (or edible flower) that is perennial in my area, zone 5B that I can add to my garden areas.

It saves me time and money plus some will actually produce a small amount if our winter is mild.

Last year I lost my huge sunchoke crop, over 20 foot section each way. Sunchikes are usually pretty hardey and invasive in some place so I was surprised when a ground hog wiped them out by eating the tops off. I had hoped they would come back . but no such luck.

Just a few weeks ago I discovered I had sunchokes growing on my landing that I had not mowed or cleared this year. I think they were leftover plants form out master gardening sale that I never put away.

Neverless, I was thilled to find these and plant to move the root to a more convenient place.

From the looks of it I have about 12 plants and hope top harvest enough to start a new garden bed area.


  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,535 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Here is one link for perennial veggies

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,535 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Egyptian onions are one of my favorite perennial veggies because they are different and get a lot of comments. I also just dug up leeks (wild ramps) to move to my property for easier harvesting. They are challenging to find ther bulbs at this time of year

    I would like horseradish, although I myself can not use it.

    Radicchio grow well her as a perennial and sometime swiss chard will

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,402 admin

    I was thinking veg but then read the article.

    I am in zone 3b/4 so perennials are a bit more challenging here. Some of the things on the list are way out of the realm of possibility for me.

    In my garden, have Egyptian/Walking Onions, Horseradish, Lovage, Gooseberries, Rhubarb, Kale, Currants, Honeyberries, Sorrel, Apples & Cherries from this list. Neighbours have pears, strawberries and grapes and we have several farms that specialize in garlic.

    Once in a mild winter we had radicchio come back in the spring.

    I have planned to put in sunchokes but for some reason it is a project that always gets bumped for another year. Same with asparagus. Asparagus grows wild in some locations here where it has escaped cultivation. Blackberries are on my list of must haves this coming spring. Mulberries have entered our discussions again, too. Not sure if we can afford two of the hardy ones.

    We have wild versions of some of these. Raspberries, Blueberries, Chokecherries and Serviceberries along with many other delicious wild fruits, And lots of wild greens as well. Dandelion, Mustard, Pigweed, Chickweed, Clover, Alfalfa, Wild Onions, Cow Parsnip, False Solomon's Seal, Fireweed, Nettles, Cattails and I'm sure several others that I am forgetting at the moment. Evergreen needles for Vitamin C rich teas.

    One thing not on the list is nuts. We have wild hazelnuts growing here and we hope to transplant some of them to our garden this spring.

  • annbeck62
    annbeck62 Posts: 980 ✭✭✭✭

    I grow pigeon peas, longevity spinach and katuk but they may not grow in your zone. I'm looking to add more perennials.

  • Silkiemamuska
    Silkiemamuska Posts: 99 ✭✭✭

    @Denise Grant Have you considered growing mushrooms? Technically not a vegetable but most people group them with that category. I have just started playing in the world of mycelium starting with Red Cap/Garden Giant mushroom spawn added to my mulched garden paths.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,535 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Silkiemamuska Yes, I have just started looking into mushrooms. I have a lot to learn!~

  • MaryRowe
    MaryRowe Posts: 736 ✭✭✭✭

    Serviceberries are great if you have room for a bush/small tree. It.s a native blueberry--the berries aren't as plentiful, but taste just like blueberries, and I have found serviceberry easier to grow as it is less particular about soil requirements. Trouble is, the birds love the berries just as much as I do, and usually beat me to them. The cardinals stripped mine this year when the berries were still half ripe!

    Sorrel is a really great perennial to, good-tasting, lots you can do with it, easy to grow from seed and very hardy.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,535 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @MaryRowe This is my first year for sorrel. The seeds I had was very old so I was happy some of it germinated. I had a few extra plants to share.

    I am looking forward to seeing how it over winters and one plant is on my windowsill for my winter garden salad mix

    I may have to try service berries

  • Angel
    Angel Posts: 61 ✭✭✭

    I've never heard of service berries. Thanks, @MaryRowe .

    I am in 6b, and the only perennials I have are herbs (chives, lemon balm, mint, oregano). I am wanting to get some vegetables, but I have not yet done so.

  • Acequiamadre
    Acequiamadre Posts: 269 ✭✭✭

    @MaryRowe I too am excited about service berries. Blueberries do not do well with our alkaline soil.

  • MaryRowe
    MaryRowe Posts: 736 ✭✭✭✭

    @Denise Grant My first try with sorrel was a nursery plant, which I put in a planter box to see what it would do--four years later, it stays green without protection until a couple hard freezes, and still comes back in early spring. I then planted a raised bed with seedlings, and the plants are happier there, stay green most of the year, even in zone 6b. Haven't tried it as an indoor plant for winter salads, but that is a really good idea.

    @Angel I am in 6b too--got my service berries as seedlings from MO Dept. of Conservation--it's one of the native plants they encourage you to grow for wildlife, though I'd rather eat the berries myself if the wildlife would give me a chance! Same story with my hazelnuts.

    I am trying to add more perennial vegetables too. Haven't had much luck with asparagus for some reason, tried ground nuts two years ago and they are still struggling to get established. My sorrel and nettles are thriving, and I'm still deciding on what to add this spring.

  • MaryRowe
    MaryRowe Posts: 736 ✭✭✭✭

    @Acequiamadre That is exactly why I tried service berries, after repeated failures with blueberries, even when I tried to amend the soil to suit them. The service berries take a couple years to get established, but mine are now very happy growing in this Missouri clay.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,535 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have slender nettle, which is a lot like stingin nettler but without ther nasty bite when you are haresting them. I was just outdoors looking at tehr nettler and decided I should harvest as much as possible today.

    I just recently leartned you can also use there nettle seeds! So I will collect some of those too

  • MaryRowe
    MaryRowe Posts: 736 ✭✭✭✭

    @Denise Grant You may have just solved a mystery that has been bugging me for a couple years now. Here and there around my place I have noticed an isolated plant that looks just like my stinging nettles, but has no sting. I thought of wood nettle, but descriptions I found says it stings too. Hadn't heard of slender nettle before.

    I just now googled it, and the first thing to come up was the Illinois wildflowers page:

    It says the central stem has stinging hairs, but "sparsely" --so maybe sparse enough I wouldn't notice the sting? It sounds, from this description, that its range is quite limited though. I wonder if it could have made its way to Missouri. Being something of a nettle enthusiast, this is exciting. Do you have any information about slender nettle?

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,535 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @MaryRowe WOW! This is fun. I love researching plants.

    I discovered slender nettle on my land, thinking it was stinging nettle as it look almost the same. So I was a litterl careless in handling it becuse it really diod not have much of a sting. So I went to my friends who had a huge patch of Stinging nettle and was going to be "careless' and ouch! I think I used fowl language.

    The two look so much alike and have the same uses, its just one won't mame you.

    I love slender nettle and all my friends I introduce it too feel the same

    Here are a few links

    Found this little clip on another site

    Slender Nettle may be easily confused with:

    • Tall Nettle Slender nettle has a narrower leaf. Tall nettle may be much taller, though there is overlap between the two species.
    • Wood Nettle Slender nettle has a narrower leaf, while that of wood nettle is ovate.

    I think it would probablty grow in your area. The one link I saw said it grew in most of the USA so a wide range of climates

    I could send a small plant or seeds if you want

  • AngelaOston
    AngelaOston Posts: 247 ✭✭✭

    Thanks for posting a good source of perennial veggies and roots.

  • MaryRowe
    MaryRowe Posts: 736 ✭✭✭✭

    @Denise Grant Thanks so much for the information. I am pretty well certain now that slender nettle is my mystery plant. Will have to get out tomorrow and find some, to compare it with the photos on these sites, but it just about has to be that plant. It doesn't grow here as enthusiastically as the stinging nettle, which forms big patches--this one is just small clumps of 3 to 6 stalks, but with roots that seem to go down to China.

    I did try eating a bit of it last spring, and once cooked it certainly tasted like good old nettle. Now I will have to see what I can do to encourage the small clumps that have shown up here. Thanks for the offer of seeds--if I do find out that this is something else, I might take you up on that. But for now, I'm heading out first thing tomorrow to track down the three or four bunches of my mystery plant that I've come across, see if I can confirm the ID, then look at what I can do to encourage them.

    This is such an exciting discovery--if you only knew how I've wondered about that plant over the past couple years since I first noticed it, and how frustrated I have gotten at times trying to identify it!

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,535 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @MaryRowe My nettle patches have continued to grow and spread. I just love this plant. Hopefully it will spread for you and is slender nettle.

    Its fun when you can figure out a plant and solve a mystery. I bet it is nettle. Are there any seeds on it?

    Thei syear was the first time I realized it had seeds. I read on line that the is a male and female plant and the female has the huge seed top. The seeds can be used too so I was excited to hear that.

  • MaryRowe
    MaryRowe Posts: 736 ✭✭✭✭

    @Denise Grant I've been out looking up my mystery plants. They are the worse for wear given the crazy weather and wild temperature swings we've had lately, but there's enough left that I am convinced they are slender nettle! So very happy to get the mystery sorted out---it just drives me crazy when I find a plant on my place that I can't identify. And to have the benefits of nettle without the sting, that makes it even better!

    I found the remnants of flowers on a couple stalks, but pretty far gone, no seeds left--I hope the seeds have scattered to start more nettles. Anyway, I will clear away competing plants around these little stands, give them some love, compost, mulch , and encouragement, and hope they come back bigger and better in the spring. Thank you so much for helping me solve my mystery!

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,535 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @MaryRowe They have a runner root and will spread if the area is not disturbed a lot. I started out with only a few lone plants in two places and now I have several nice patches. I just love this plant. So many uses!

    Glad you solved a mystery!~ now on to the next...

  • Grounded
    Grounded Posts: 153 ✭✭✭

    Perennial vegetables I remember my dad growing were, rhubarb, asparagus, chive, peppermint and strawberries. My mother-in-law grew raspberries and I have found wild blackberries growing along train tracks converted into bicycle paths in my area. I live in zone 5b.

  • Thomas
    Thomas Posts: 81 ✭✭✭

    I don't know enough about your zone, as I live in 8b. But for us perennial could include Jerusalem Artichoke, sweet potatoes if grown in a non-North windy area.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,402 admin

    @Thomas Lucky you in 8b. That gives you a lot more selection. You should be able to grow globe artichokes. And so much more.

  • nicksamanda11
    nicksamanda11 Posts: 713 ✭✭✭✭

    I still like to count on my yard weeds- they're always there- ready to be harvested