How to Grow Edible Perennials

Growing your own food is a time-honored tradition and is becoming more popular today due to the rising price of food and low nutrition of packaged foods. Growing perennial edibles saves time and effort because these plants do not need to be re-planted every year and require minimal care.


Step 1

Locate your perennial edibles garden. Most perennial edibles need a bit of shade but also need at least 5 to 6 hours of sunlight. Choose a location in your yard that will give the plants the required sunlight but that is also easy to get to in order to water and weed.

Step 2

Choose salad greens. One staple of a perennial edibles garden is salads. Many salad ingredients are perennial, including sorrel, lemon balm, Welsh onions, chives, Good King Henry and patience dock. Salad greens are easy to grow so choose a variety in order to make interesting and seasonal salads.

Step 3

Choose other favorite edibles. Plant your garden based on the taste preferences of your family. Common perennial edibles are asparagus, rhubarb, globe artichoke and lovage. Experiment with one or two perennial edibles that you have never tried before to expand your family's culinary repertoire.

Step 4

Add fruits to your perennial edibles garden. If you have a little more room and would like to grow even more easy foods, fruits are a great addition. Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries take up little room and supply substantial amounts of fruit when mature. You can also grow fruit trees, such as apple, peach or figs. Fruiting trees and bushes require more sun than your leafy edibles to ensure that the area you plant your fruiting trees and bushes receives 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day.

Step 5

Prepare for planting. Perennials will stay in the same garden bed for many years, so preparing the soil well in the beginning will get the plants off to a good start. Dig in lots of compost to the soil to give your plants an ongoing source of nutrients. If the soil is rich and fluffy when you plant, earthworms will be attracted to your garden and they will work hard to aerate and condition the soil for years to come.

Step 6

Plant perennial edibles. Firm the soil around the roots of the plants well and water thoroughly. Continue to water daily for the first week and then when the soil begins to dry after that. Each plant will have its own cultivation requirements so keep a log of what needs to be done when. The first year may result in a scant harvest as your plants get established, but you will be repaid in a bountiful harvest for years to come.

Step 7

Harvest the edible perennials as needed. One benefit of growing your own edibles is that you can pick them at the peak of ripeness and use them as needed rather than having to store them in the refrigerator. As the seasons change, so will the harvest. For example, asparagus is only ready to harvest in the early spring, but some salad greens are available all year long when there is no frost. Find new ways to use your harvest--try new recipes and combine flavors in new ways.

Things You'll Need

Seedlings, Garden trowel, Water, Compost

About this Author

Angie Mohr is a syndicated finance columnist and freelancer who has been writing professionally since 1987. She is the author of the best-selling Numbers 101 for Small Business books and "Money$marts: Teaching Your Kids the Value of a Buck." She is a chartered accountant and certified management accountant with a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Wilfrid Laurier University.

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