Last Updated on January 11, 2022
Perennial vegetables are a great choice for gardeners looking to reduce their workload while still providing themselves with year-round food. Growing perennial vegetables can be very rewarding!
By planting perennial vegetable crops, you can enjoy an abundance of produce without having to replant each growing season.
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- Why should you consider planting perennial vegetables?
- What are the benefits of growing perennial garden vegetables?
- How to Prepare Perennial vegetable garden beds
- Perennial Vegetables to Consider for Your Garden
- Can I store my perennial vegetables over the winter months to harvest later?
- What zone do you live in?
- Conclusion: Perennial Garden Vegetables
Why should you consider planting perennial vegetables?
Perennial vegetables are a great option for the long-term, sustainable gardener. In exchange for a bit of extra time spent in the beginning planting and preparing perennial beds, your garden will provide you with fresh fruit and veggies well into future years.
What are the benefits of growing perennial garden vegetables?
- Perennial vegetables require less time and energy from the gardener since they are planted once and will grow for several years.
- Planting perennial food crops ensures a steady supply of perennial edibles throughout the year.
- For gardeners with limited space, perennial crops can be grown in containers or raised beds instead of traditional row planting.
- Many perennial vegetables produce attractive flowers that are ornamental in the garden, adding beauty to your landscape. With less time spent planting and maintaining crops year-round, you have more time to enjoy your garden with family and friends!
How to Prepare Perennial vegetable garden beds
Preparing perennial vegetable garden beds involves the same steps as traditional vegetables, but with a few extra considerations.
Before you begin planting your perennial veggies, be sure to prepare your site by adding organic matter and raking out any weeds. Then cover the area with a layer of compost and work it into the soil to a depth of about 4-6 inches.
Resources for perennial vegetable gardening:
Perennial Vegetables to Consider for Your Garden
The artichoke ( Cynara scolymus) is native to the Mediterranean region and northern Africa. There are several varieties of edible artichokes: Green Globe and Violet de Provence produce purple heads, Imperial Star produces green heads, and the artichoke hearts of Green Globe and Imperial Star can be enjoyed. Artichokes are hardy in USDA zones 4-10.
They grow best in a sunny location that has well-drained soil with a pH between 6.5 to 7.0. In colder climates, they may be planted in the fall, while in milder climates they can be planted both in the spring and fall.
Artichoke is easy to grow, takes up little space, needs no replanting once established, and provides an abundance of edible flowers. It needs only adequate water during dry periods.
Asparagus ( Asparagus officinalis) is a long-lived perennial that prefers fertile, composted soil with a pH of 6.5 to 7.0 and full sun exposure. It can be grown from crowns or from seed. In colder climates, the crowns are set out in the spring while for warmer climates they can be planted during both spring and fall planting periods. When planting from seed, it takes about five years to produce a harvestable crop.
Asparagus is hardy in USDA zones 4-8 and can be grown from seed or by transplanting plants.
Asparagus is easy to grow when planted in full sun. Ir prefers well-drained soil with plenty of compost or well-rotted manure added for fertility. It should be watered consistently during the first year after planting, becoming drought resistant thereafter. The spears can be harvested for about six weeks each spring.
Chirocy ( Cichorium intybus ), also known as blue sailors, coffeeweed, succory, and wild succory, is a hardy perennial that prefers full sun exposure and well-drained soil with a pH between 6.5 to 7.0. Chicory can be grown from seed or by transplanting plants. It takes up relatively little space, making it ideal for small gardens. It also requires very little maintenance once established.
Chicory is best grown in zones 4-9.
A nitrogen-rich soil or compost is recommended when growing chicory from seed or transplants, which should be planted in the early spring after the risk of frost has passed. Seeds will germinate in 14 to 21 days and require light for germination. The plants can be harvested for up to six weeks each fall.
The chicory plants should be covered with a cold frame in the early fall to promote root development over winter and be transplanted into the garden during late spring or early summer.
It can take up to six weeks for seedlings to emerge after planting, and it grows best in well-drained soil with high fertility and a pH between 6.5 and 7.0. The leaves should be cut two or three times per year during the growing season. The roots can also be harvested at any time during the growing season.
Garlic ( Allium sativum ) is a member of the onion family and can be grown as an annual or perennial. It most commonly propagates by cloves, but it can also propagate from seed.
Garlic grows well in most soil types, preferring full sun exposure and soil that has a pH between 6.0 and 8.0. It should be planted in the fall for a spring harvest or in early spring for a late-spring harvest, allowing six to eight weeks after planting before harvesting the bulbs.
Garlic is easy to grow as long as it is given enough sun exposure and soil with a pH between 6.0 and 8.0 with good drainage. It takes up little space in the garden. Garlic is best grown in zones 4-7.
Leeks ( Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum ) are a hardy, perennial that grows well in most soil types but prefers full sun exposure and slightly alkaline soil with a pH between 6.5 to 7.5.
Leeks are perennial vegetables that are grown from transplants and do not take up much space in the garden. They can be planted in both spring and fall, allowing about six to eight weeks after planting before harvesting the bulbs.
Wild leeks are easy to grow when planted in full sun in well-drained soil with plenty of compost or well-rotted manure added for fertility. The soil should be kept moist, but not waterlogged. It takes up very little space in the garden.
Leeks are best grown in zones 4-8.
Onions ( Allium cepa ) are a hardy, perennial vegetable grown from transplants. They prefer full sun exposure and soil with a pH between 5.5 and 7.0 that is rich in organic matter.
Onions can be planted from seed or transplants, allowing about five or six weeks after planting before harvesting the bulbs.
Onions are easy to grow as long as they are given enough sun exposure and soil with a pH between 5.5 and 7.0 with good drainage. They take up little space in the garden.
They are best grown in zones 3-10.
Potatoes ( Solanum tuberosum )are a perennial in USDA zones 4-11 and can be grown from seed or by transplanting plants. Some varieties are more suitable for either planting method than others.
Potatoes prefer well-drained, loamy soil with a pH between 5.0 and 6.5, but they will also grow in most soil types. They can be planted during both fall or spring planting periods in areas where winter temperatures do not drop below 20°F (-6°C).
In colder climates, potatoes should be covered with a cold frame when nighttime temperatures drop below 40°F (4°C).
Potato can be grown easily in most soil types with good drainage and fertility. They grow well during the spring or fall planting periods, taking up relatively little space in the garden.
Radicchio ( Cichorium intybus var. foliosum ) is a hardy perennial that prefers full sun exposure and well-drained soil with a pH between 6.5 and 7.0 and can be grown from transplanting plants or by direct seeding. Radicchio is harvested in the winter when temperatures drop to about 38°F (3°C), allowing it to maintain its flavor during this time of year.
Radicchio is an attractive addition to the garden and is easy to grow as long as it is planted in well-drained soil and covered with a cold frame during winter. It takes up little space in the garden, and is best grown in zones 3-8.
Rhubard is another perennial plant you can grow.
It is hardy in USDA zones 2-7 and can be grown from seed or transplanting plants. Rhubarb has thick, fleshy roots with edible stalks that are not juicy like celery but more solid like asparagus. It does best in slightly acidic soils with a pH of 6.0 to 6.5 and grows best in full sun, but it will also grow in partial shade. Rhubarb is harvested either during the spring or fall planting periods depending on your climate zone.
Rhubarb is an attractive plant that produces large leaves, making it an eye-catching addition to the garden. It takes up little space and prefers loose, loamy soil with plenty of organic matter and a pH between 6.0 and 7.0.
Shallots ( Allium cepa var. aggregatum ) can be grown from either transplants or seeds. Shallots prefer full sun exposure and well-drained soil with a pH between 5.5 and 7.0, but they will grow in most soil types. Shallots are harvested when the tops begin to fall over in late fall or early winter after several frosts have occurred.
Shallot can be transplanted or planted from seed for an abundant harvest of onions that is ready in the fall. It takes up little space in the garden and is easy to grow, thriving best in zones 5-8 with moist soil.
Swiss Chard ( Beta vulgaris subsp. cicla ) is a hardy, perennial vegetable that is grown from transplants. It prefers full sun exposure and well-drained soil with a pH between 6.5 and 7.5, but will also grow in partial shade.
These perennial vegetables grow best when planted during the spring or summer months for harvest throughout the summer or fall seasons. It is best grown in zones 4-11.
Squash ( Cucurbita spp. ) can be grown from seeds or transplants and prefers full sun exposure, well-drained soil with a pH between 5.5 and 7.0, and plenty of nitrogen in the soil. The vines make it an attractive addition to the garden, but they can be rather invasive.
Squash is easy to grow in most soil types with good drainage and fertility. It grows best when planted after the soil has warmed in spring and is best grown in zones 5-11.
How far apart and how deep should I plant my perennials in the garden?
The spacing requirements for perennial vegetables depend on the variety of plant you are growing. Most require 12 inches apart with others needing up to 18 inches apart, depending on your climate zone (300 ft.² per 100 ft. row)
. Depths range from planting seeds 1/2 inch deep to 2-3 inches deep, or transplanting seedlings at the same depth they are in the pot.
Is it necessary to cover the perennial vegetables with a cold frame during winter months if they are growing in colder climates?
Some perennials might need to be covered with a cold frame if the air temperatures in your area drop below 40°F. Other plants that need cold protection are:
Asparagus, celery, rhubarb and horseradish.
After my perennials have finished producing, is it necessary to replant them each year or can they go dormant with no problems?
Perennials such as artichoke, sunchokes (jerusalem artichokes), horseradish and rhubarb can be left in the ground or harvested for storage during the winter months. The other plants listed above must be either harvested or dug up with a ball of soil and stored in a cool dry place for the winter months.
How do I know when it’s time to harvest my perennials?
Most perennial vegetables are harvested either during the spring or fall planting periods depending on your climate zone, but some can be harvested all year long. Check with your local county extension office for specific information about harvesting times in your area.
Can I store my perennial vegetables over the winter months to harvest later?
Some perennials will need to be harvested before cold weather sets in, but others can be harvested or left in the ground over winter for storage.
Horseradish, sunchokes (jerusalem artichoke), garlic chives, rhubarb and asparagus are all perennials that need to be harvested before cold weather sets in or dug up with a ball of soil and stored indoors for winter.
What zone do you live in?
If you are a new gardener (or not!), it is very important to understand your growing/plant hardiness zone. Our friends at Gilmour have created this simple map to help you determine your gardening zone.
Conclusion: Perennial Garden Vegetables
Now that you’ve learned more about how to grow perennial vegetables for your garden, which varieties will you plant this season? You’ll be enjoying them for a long time!