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Organic Gardening with Perennial Vegetables

Julie Williams

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All organic gardeners love the time of year when the last frost have been, the soil is warming up and the daffodils alert us to the fact that spring is here. It’s time to start planting your annual vegetable garden.

But what a fantastic supplement to the garden would it be if there were vegetables available that don't need to be replanted each year? You plant them once, then feed and water them, then you can just keep picking them year after year.

Well, there are vegetables that you plant in a permanent position and they provide you with food on an ongoing basis. A perennial is defined as having a life cycle lasting more that two years. They generally die back during the cold winter and emerge the following spring. So a perennial vegetable is an edible plant that comes back each year. This way you have less to do, you disturb the soil less and your perennials become more drought and frost hardy as their roots grow deeper every year.

Soil Preparation

All perennials will benefit from soil preparation that increases the nutrient levels and the moisture holding capacity of the garden bed. Adding humus or compost to the soil will greatly improve growing conditions in heavy soils that dry out in summer, as well as lighter soils. Improving the soil will also increase the life and productivity of your perennial plants.

* Dig a hole in the soil twice the depth of your plant and fill with water

* Place a layer of rich organic material or compost in the hole

* Backfill the remainder of the hole with humus enriched soil. When this breaks down it provides a nutrient rich layer below the soil that will also have increased water holding capacity, maintaining the moisture available to the roots of these perennial plants throughout the dry summer months.

* Spread a light layer of organic fertiliser on top of the soil to help quickly develop a good root system

Perennial Vegetables to try bearing in mind your zone as some of these perennials are not frost tolerant:

Artichokes, Asparagus, Beans (perennial), Broccoli (perennial), Cardoon, Chard (perennial), Chicory, Chives, Chokos, Corn Salad, Dandelions, Fennel, French sorrel, Garlic Chives, Ginger, Good King Henry, Japanese hornwort, Jerusalem artichokes, Lemon Balm, Lovage, New Zealand spinach, Purslane, Rhubarb, Rocket, Sorrel, Sweet potato, Tamarillo, Walking Onions

Perennial vegetables are a perfect addition to an edible landscape gardening plan or permaculture garden. Many are very attractive and make excellent feature plants.

Remember that since they will grow in the same soil for many years, it is vitally important that they are given a sunny position with well-drained soil full of organic matter. Planting perennial vegetables is a truly rewarding investment in your organic garden and you kitchen.

Hi, I am an avid organic gardener and am known by my friends as the recycling queen. I live on a small country property in South Australia. It is my mission to encourage as many people as possible to start organic gardening. This will improve both our individual lives and the wellbeing of our personal and global environments. Please visit my website and get your free 3 part Composting Guide . For Companion Planting info click here .

Happy gardening, healthy living…
Julie Williams


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