Perennials in the Vegetable Garden

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I received an email this week telling me it was time to plant my onions. Sorry fella, I think it’s still a bit early. Sure it was 73 degrees here yesterday, but that was yesterday.

Today’s high is supposed to be around 40 but tomorrow we’re expecting ice and snow!

Of course, the email was from an onion company. Perhaps they meant it was time to ORDER onions! That very well can be. Do you buy plants and seeds and sets too early?

I think a lot of us get spring fever when we have a warm day or two. I myself picked up a package of seed potatoes and onion sets last week when I was in Home Depot. Couldn’t help myself! Rest assured I’m keeping them in a cool place until it’s time to plant.

Did you know that there’s a perennial onion? They’re called Egyptian walking onions, or tree onions. This is because the onion sets ON TOP of the plant. When the bulb gets heavy the top of the plant falls over and replants itself. These top-setting onions can grow and spread without much (if any) effort from you!

Think of all the meals you could make with an abundance of these!

There are other perennial vegetables you can plant once and then grow for a lifetime. You might lay out a little bit more in the beginning to acquire your seeds or plants than you would if you just bought a packet of seeds but the payout is great.

So what else can you plant once and eat for years?

The Tree Collard
This variety of collard has to be grown from cuttings. Like it’s name it grows tall. Much different than the collard you’re used to growing/eating. Grows in mild climates and use the leaves like you would kale. (How about wilted in bacon drippings?) 🙂

Asparagus is one hardy perennial vegetable. It is hardy all the way down to Zone 3, but it is specifically designed to work best in Zones 3 – 8. Know how I love asparagus the best? Freshly picked, drizzled with olive oil and maybe a little garlic and grilled over a wood fire. OMG!

Perennial Arugula
Perennial arugula is not the same as annual arugula. The perennial variety is also known as Wild Roquette (sometimes called Wild Rocket) or Perennial Wall-Rocket. It’s gourmet flavor is tasty in salads. Full of Vitamin C & K.

This perennial vegetable can have a lemony flavor and is found in many a European recipe. It’s a cool-season perennial. Slow to bolt and great in early spring salads and soups.

Perennial Kale
Perennial Kale isn’t a true perennial but can live up to 5-6 years. It therefore won’t provide greens forever but you’ll get several years out of a planting. So while it won’t produce for a lifetime from one planting. Best eaten when the leaves are young and tender.

Garlic is best planted in fall, but can also be planted in spring. (I’ve some ready to go into the new raised bed…) Of course fall planting is best as it gives the plant more time to grow resulting in bigger cloves come harvest time. When you harvest save a clove and replant for the next year.

I once picked some garlic and laid it on top of the rabbit cage while I tended to the furry critters. I walked off and forgot about it. I now have garlic growing ‘free’!

There are other perennial vegetables too that you might like or want to try growing. There’s Jerusalem artichokes (aka sunchokes), some broccolis, radicchio, rhubarb, some spinaches, sweet potatoes and yams as well as watercress.

What are YOU planting this season?