Adding leafy green veggies to your garden is easy. These veggies are not only edible, but add interesting flavors to salads and soups. They can also double as herbs! In addition to being a part of your perennial garden, these plants can be harvested from early spring through late fall. To learn how to grow leafy green vegetables, read on. We’ll look at a few options. Once you’ve decided on which types of vegetables to grow, decide where they’ll go.
Why Grow Perennials
Growing perennials can expand your gardening horizon. Perennials are longer-lived than annuals and are therefore harder to destroy in drought. They also add soil organic matter and build topsoil, allowing other plants to thrive. They also make excellent backdrops and are often used to control erosion. And while you may have heard about the benefits of planting perennials alongside annuals, you may not have considered the other benefits that you can get from this type of gardening.
Perennial vegetables have deeper roots and can build soil better than annuals. They also produce earlier leaves than annuals and suppress weeds, making them a better choice for a permanent home. Here are some of the reasons to grow perennial vegetables:
Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis)
Asparagus is one of the longest-lived garden vegetables, lasting decades. If grown properly, it is one of the first vegetables to be harvested in the spring. To grow asparagus in your garden, choose a location that receives full sun, offers good drainage, and has a two-inch layer of compost. To avoid pests, keep your asparagus bed free of weeds and large stones, and follow the steps below to grow asparagus in your garden.
Asparagus can be grown from seed or from crowns. You must choose the proper cultivar for your growing conditions. It takes a couple of years to mature before you can harvest it, but once established, it will continue to produce for up to 15-20 years. You can find crowns at garden centers every spring or ask someone with a large patch for a free plant. Sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem artichokes, produce a crisp, sweet edible tuber that is edible both raw and cooked.
After planting your asparagus, you should wait at least one year to harvest it. To reap the best harvest, you should wait until it is about two to three inches in diameter. The first year, it is best to leave it unharvested. For a second year, you can harvest it for up to five to eight weeks. To ensure that your asparagus grows properly, fertilize the soil before planting. Use a fertilizer containing a minimum of 0-46-0 per fifty feet. Place the crowns about six to eight inches apart and 14 inches apart. Water your asparagus crowns regularly.
Babingtons Leek (Allium ampeloprasum babingtonii)
The Babingtons Leek (Allium ampeloprasum var. babingtonii) is a perennial vegetable that grows in sandy areas near the sea. It grows by producing offsets, a bulb in the flowerhead, and seed. This plant is an excellent addition to your vegetable garden and is easy to grow, and it can tolerate a wide variety of garden soils. It can reach up to 1.8m tall and 0.3m in width.
Growing rutabagas is relatively easy, and they will thrive in USDA zones 2-8. They may not survive in the ground below zone three. Once planted, they will need to be tended to in a separate area from other vegetables, requiring more attention than the rest of your garden. A good rule of thumb is to grow a variety of different vegetables at the same time, but do not plant too many in one area.
In addition to supplying food for cultivated crops, the Babingtons Leek has a variety of medicinal uses. Its leaves, stems, and flower heads are edible, and they have a garlic-like flavor. You can grow this perennial vegetable in containers and in the ground. It requires a sunny location in full sun. If you want to plant a bulb, plant it in the spring.
Cardoon (Cynara cardunculus)
A member of the thistle family, the Cardoon is a stately, ornamental edible that is topped with an otherworldly-looking thistle. Its prickly foliage grows in dense rosette-like clusters, and its globe-shaped purple flowers are an essential part of Italian cuisine. The Cardoon plant is perennial from USDA zones 7b to 10 and an annual in climates outside of these zones.
The species is native to the Mediterranean, and is also native to North Africa and southern Europe. It is widely cultivated in temperate regions. The leaves and flowers of Cynara cardunculus are edible and are used in cheese making. Despite its spiny appearance, Cardoon is an excellent perennial vegetable to grow in your garden, and it is hardy enough to thrive in USDA zones 4 through 9.
The leaves of the Cardoon start out silver but later turn gray. As the plant matures, its leaves lose their upright form and can grow up to 3 feet long. They require full sun and fertile soil. However, hot summers can cause them to go dormant. The leaves of the Cardoon can be cooked for a more tender, flavorful result. The leaves, however, should be blanched before harvesting.
Chayote Squash (Sechium edule)
In warm climates, chayote squash is an excellent choice for growing perennial vegetables. Planting it after the average last frost date will increase the amount of time you can harvest the squash. Chayote is hardy in USDA zones eight through 11. It requires full sun and 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. Partial shade will reduce the amount of fruit the plant produces.
This super plant is a versatile crop that is great for both cooking and eating. One chayote squash contains 39 calories and zero grams of fat, while nine grams of carbohydrates and three grams of dietary fiber make it a great food source. It is also a good source of vitamin A, folate, copper, iron, and zinc. It is an excellent source of potassium and is a good source of fiber.
The fruit of chayote is edible raw or cooked. It has a thick, pear-shaped skin, and is a perennial vegetable that grows well in the ground. It is very versatile and grows well in the backyard or garden. You can grow it as a vine from seed or stem cuttings. It can grow up to two feet tall, and you can expect it to grow quite quickly.
Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)
The most common chives are the common ones, with slender green leaves and pink-purple flowers. The giant varieties, also known as Chinese chives, are much taller, with clumps of up to 2 feet of green leaves and flowers. They are edible in all parts, including the flowers, which are used in salads and flower arrangements.
A perennial plant in the onion family, chives are a versatile addition to any kitchen. The bulb of chives grows underground, and the leaves are hollow and delicate, resembling onions. Chives are native to northern Europe and North America, and are easy to grow in most soils. Regardless of where you’d like to grow them, the following tips will help you get started.
Harvest chives by cutting them at the base of the plant about 1/2 inch above the ground. During the summer, the flowers are edible and can be used as a garnish. If you’re unable to harvest chives fresh, you can freeze them or dry them. Afterwards, they will self-sow in your garden. Once harvested, the chives will be incredibly fragrant and aromatic.
Globe Artichoke (Cynara scolymus)
If you are considering growing this plant in your yard, you will need to take proper care of it. The soil should be rich in organic matter, and artichokes need about 140 pounds of compost per 100 square feet. Artichokes can withstand winters up to zones 5 and 7.
This plant is a perennial in zones 7 through 10, but it will produce annual-like growth in cooler areas. This perennial vegetable is often grown as a container plant and will produce tender buds in the summer. The flowers are purple, and attract bees. Once it’s mature, it will continue to produce chokes for up to five years. To grow artichokes, you can start from seed, root cuttings, or divisions.
A perennial vegetable, the globe artichoke requires sufficient space to thrive. Space the plants about 2′-3′ apart in rows, and four to six feet apart in rows. In New Jersey, the crop suffered if black plastic mulch was used as mulch, which reduced its yield. However, reflective silver mulch is beneficial, as it keeps the soil temperature cooler. Globe artichokes begin budding in late July. If they’re too small to fully mature, pinch them off to promote bigger buds.
Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana syn Cochlearia)
If you want to grow delicious, pungent vegetables, consider growing horseradish. This plant, a member of the cabbage and mustard family, is a perennial vegetable that must be grown in containers in your backyard. This sour herb has a sharp, peppery flavor. It is often served with various meat dishes and is great for your health. But don’t be fooled by the name. It’s actually a different plant called Wasabi japonica, which is also an excellent choice for your garden.
When growing horseradish, remember to make sure you have an evenly moist bed. Overwatering can cause your plants to have a very strong flavor. Fertilize your soil regularly with organic compost, and fertilize with a teaspoon of nitrogen at four and eight weeks after planting. Once established, you can prune the lateral side roots of the horseradish plant and remove the top leaves.
Jerusalem Artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus)
Sunflower-related perennials such as Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus) grow well in Zones 3 through 9, but they will not thrive in warm southern regions. They have sunflower-like flowers and a long stem, but are primarily grown for their edible tubers. The tubers are edible raw or cooked like potatoes. They are easy to grow and don’t require special soil. They are even considered invasive and grow well in shady conditions.
The true artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus) doesn’t have the same toughness as its imposter, but it can tolerate USDA Zone 6 and perform well in zones 7 through 10. While Jerusalem artichokes are hardy and will survive well in most regions, it is better to grow them in a shady spot and plant them in rows. Make sure to hand-weed them to prevent their growth.
A perennial vegetable with great flavor, sunchoke is also known as lambchoke, and topinambur. Native Americans have long grown this plant and it is now commercially grown in Washington State. It grows to about ten feet tall and produces clusters of yellow flowers. They grow well in average garden soil and tolerate partial shade. You can harvest the tubers in the fall or winter.
Kale (Brassica oleracea ramosa)
Genetic variation among perennial kale accessions has been confirmed in various studies, which revealed a common origin and close genetic relationship. The fingerprinting profiles of most accessions were similar, except for one deviant microsatellite marker. The deviating accessions differed mainly in one microsatellite marker, but there was a significant amount of variation between these accessions. The most genetically similar accessions were accession 29 and 8616451 from the CGN seed collection, respectively.
Genetic studies of this subspecies have revealed that it differs from other cultivated kale varieties by several genetic and morphological features. In particular, it exhibits higher levels of variation in leaf pigmentation, which is strongly affected by stress factors. Seed multiplication using CGN’s standard regeneration protocol for Brassica has been unsuccessful. The resulting seed samples have a greater genetic diversity than previously reported.
Daubenton derived perennialism is more dominant, but Chris’s grex and other biannual kale cultivars also produce attractive purple and green foliage. Despite their differences in color, these plants produce an abundance of edible leaves throughout the growing season. ‘Taunton Deane’ is an old British variety of perennial kale with edible leaves. ‘Lily White’ sea kale is another ornamental variety of perennial kale. The Daubentons cultivar has been named after the French naturalist Louis-Jean-Marie Daubenton.
Lovage (Levisticum officinale)
Its common name comes from the Middle English word “lovache.” The scientific name, Levisticum officinale, is derived from the Latin word ligusticus, which means “Ligurian.” The plant is native to the Liguria region of northwest Italy, and was heavily cultivated there in the past. Lovage is an edible perennial, and its flowers and roots are loved by both humans and animals.
This herb, native to southern Europe, has many uses. It is a versatile culinary herb that can be dried and cooked like celery. It also blends well with lemon herbs. The leaves of the lovage plant are edible and can be chopped into strips and cooked with other summer vegetables. The flowering stems can be used to make a delicious liqueur. The hollow stems are also delicious and hollow, and can be used as a stirrer in drinks.
Growing lovage is easy. Sow the seeds several weeks before the last spring frost date. Plant the seeds a few inches apart in individual holes at least two times deeper than the root ball. Water in well after planting. If you’re planting seeds indoors, start the seeds about five to six weeks before the last spring frost date. Keep the soil moist but don’t over-water it.
New Zealand Yam (Oxalis tuberosa)
The New Zealand Yam (Oxalis tuberosa) is a perennial herbaceous plant. Its tubers overwinter as underground stems. Other common names for oca include uqa, oca, and yam. This perennial vegetable is a relative of the potato and was introduced to Europe in the 1830s as a competition for potatoes. It is not a true yam, but it’s edible, nutritious, and can be eaten raw.
To grow yams, you must have a cool, moist climate. Temperatures between 10 and 12 degrees Celsius are necessary for growing New Zealand yams. In winter, early frosts can severely damage tuber crop yields. Plant seed yams in mounds or ridges so that the plant can regenerate in spring. The leaves and young shoots of this plant are delicious in salads, and the mature stems have a flavor similar to rhubarb.
The plants produce large tubers, which can be about eight inches (20 cm) in length and one inch and a half in diameter. The tubers are shiny and usually brightly colored. The plant produces a large number of tubers if planted in a semi-shaded location. Plant potatoes in late spring or early summer for the largest tuber set. This vegetable will produce tubers for a long time.
Rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum)
Growing rhubarb is a great vegetable for beginners because it requires very little maintenance. Rhubarb plants require annual compost and fertilizer, and must be planted at least 3 feet apart. Planting rhubarb should be done in spring, when the soil is still moist, and in the fall, before the ground freezes. Plant the crowns about two inches deep and space them about 12 inches apart. Keep in mind that this vegetable is a heavy feeder, so it will exhaust your soil if planted too deeply.
For the best results, choose a spot in the garden where it will receive full sun. However, it will tolerate some afternoon shade in warmer regions. If you don’t have full sun, you’ll have thin stalks. Despite the name, Rhubarb is a perennial vegetable, and is not a weed, making it ideal for container gardening. But, be careful with rhubarb – it’s poisonous to humans!
Sorrel (Rumex acetosa)
Sorrel is a delicious herb, and it is a great addition to salads and soups. Its bitter leaves are often used as a garnish. Despite its name, this plant is not a common vegetable in the market. However, it is very easy to grow from seed, and it will thrive in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 9.
There are a number of varieties of this herb, which are useful for various purposes. Sorrel is particularly delicious, providing months-long harvests of the plant’s edible leaves. Because of the presence of oxalic acid, its leaves have a distinctly acidic taste. The herb’s uses span many cultures and time periods, including use as food in dishes and herbal preparations for medicinal purposes. It is also a source of different colors for dyes.
While sorrel is considered a weed in many parts of the world, there are edible leaves on the plant. Baby-leaf sorrel is ready for harvesting after 30 to 40 days. Sorrel plants should be divided every 3-4 years. However, they should not be overlooked. The plant is a great addition to a salad.
Watercress (Nasturtium officinale)
Watercress is a perennial green that is edible, nutritious, and disease-resistant. Its meaty, spicy bite works well in soups and sandwiches and contains valuable iron, vitamin A, and C. It can also help fight scurvy. You can grow watercress in pots that are submerged in water. Watercress can be purchased at any garden store and planted in water.
It is easy to propagate watercress from seed or cuttings. The plant will root easily in moist soil. Make sure that your watercress bed has drainage holes. Alternatively, you can purchase a small watercress plant at the grocery store and take a cutting. The seedlings should be planted at least two weeks before the last frost. Watercress prefers sunny locations, but will grow in partial shade. Planting the seeds in a garden bed requires sowing them at least six weeks before the average last frost.
You must grow perennial vegetables that are native to your area. Many perennials are invasive and aggressive when grown outside their native range. Watercress is a member of the Brassicaceae family that adds peppery spice to salads. Nasturtium officinale is native to tropical Africa, while air potato is native to Australia. As with most plants in the vegetable family, watercress is best grown with some care.