How to Grow Perennial Vegetables

Overview

As a gardener, you may enjoy the fresh produce from your garden every summer, but get tired of digging and planting new vegetables each year. Some vegetables, known as perennial vegetables, return year after year, producing quantities of fresh produce for your enjoyment. Unlike annual vegetables, these perennial selections rest in a dormant state during the cold, winter months. When the warm, spring temperatures begin to heat up the soil, your perennial vegetables will begin to grow and thrive.

Step 1

Divide your vegetable garden to provide a separate spot for your perennial vegetables. Keep them in their own corner to avoid disturbing them when planting and harvesting your annual varieties. Use two or three garden posts with string tied between them to cordon off a sunny spot for your perennial vegetables.

Step 2

Purchase a soil test before planting your perennial vegetables. A healthy planting site will reduce the chances of plant loss and will reward the amount of time and money you invest in your perennial selections. Perform the soil test according to the enclosed instructions. Follow the recommendations provided with the test results to amend poor soils and increase the health and porosity of the soil intended for your perennial herbs.

Step 3

Loosen the soil in your perennial garden with a rototiller. Till the soil to a depth of 6 to 10 inches. Break up large dirt clods and underground roots. Remove all plant debris and rocks from your tilled site. Enrich your existing soil with an application of sterile compost. Use about 3 to 4 inches of compost in average soils. Work the compost into your loosened soil with your rototiller. Till your garden site until the compost mixes evenly with your topsoil.

Step 4

Plant your cool-season vegetables as soon as the soil begins to warm and soften in the spring. Follow the package instructions to determine the correct planting depth and spacing requirements for each of your vegetable varieties. Soak the soil around the roots of your new plants.

Step 5

Place a layer of light mulch over the roots of your perennial plants to help retain moisture during dry spells. Water once or twice each week to keep the soil slightly moist near the roots of your perennial vegetables.

Step 6

Feed your perennial vegetables in the early summer to encourage healthy produce. Use a vegetable fertilizer and apply evenly over the soil in your perennial garden.

Step 7

Remove dead growth from your perennial vegetables early in the winter, after they enter their dormant state. Use sharp pruning shears to cut back any overgrown or unsightly growth on your plants. Pruning encourages healthy, new growth in the spring.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden posts
  • String
  • Soil test
  • Roto-tiller
  • Compost
  • Shovel
  • Water
  • Mulch
  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning shears

References

  • Washington State University: Perennial Vegetables
  • University of Illinois Extension: Growing Cool-Season Vegetables
  • "Principles of Horticulture"; C.R. Adams; 2008

Who Can Help

  • Kevin Kelly: Perennial Vegetables
Keywords: perennial vegetables, grow vegetables, perennial produce

About this Author

Laura Dee is a writer, artist, and the co-owner of Wallace & Wallace Copywriting,an online business which specializes in providing marketing materials and copy to various companies. She has written for Demand Studios since 2008 and is currently working on a series of childrens' picture books.