Creating a permaculture vegetable garden offers many possibilities because there are hundreds of varieties of vegetables that you could grow in your garden. Beyond the traditional fruit trees, berries, vegetables, etc… Perennial vegetables also called “perennial vegetables,” are the ones that will require the least effort. Plant them, and they will come back every year without you having to redo the sowing or planting. This gives you regular harvests. So perpetual vegetables make your life easier and are, in my opinion, an essential part of a sustainable, self-sustaining vegetable garden. Here is everything you need to know about them…
Benefits of Perpetual Vegetables
Perpetual vegetables allow you to minimize your time in the garden. Once planted, these vegetables grow on their own every year without any intervention from you. As a rule, they require less watering than other types of vegetables. This is because their root system is more developed than other vegetables: they form clumps that discourage weeds from getting too close. With these vegetables and a good mulch, it is effortless to get rid of the eternal chore of weeding! Perennial vegetables are also more resistant to pests and diseases. For example, leek worms do not attack perennial leeks. In theory, these vegetables do not require specific locations in the garden. They can be placed anywhere: with the flowers, in the middle of a bed, next to other vegetables… And with a bit of imagination and willpower, they lend themselves to all kinds of recipes for gratins, soups, or purées!
Among the perpetual vegetables are a good number of original and sometimes little forgotten vegetables. The other advantage is that they are perfectly adapted to our environment. Contrary to the vast majority of vegetable plants that we try to grow in the garden and which are, for the most part, plants imported from other countries. Which makes them more sensitive to attacks by pests or the appearance of certain vegetable diseases. Perpetual vegetables are therefore perfectly adapted to our regions and climates, which makes them less susceptible to potential pests, cryptogamic diseases, and other problems of this type. Here is a list of perpetual vegetables to consider in your permaculture garden…
The Perpetual Leek
After planting perpetual leeks, only the leaves are harvested, which are generally used as herbs. Concretely, when you wish to harvest, you have to cut at the base to recover the leaf part of the leek while leaving the root system in the ground. The latter will then reproduce new leaves that will offer you a new harvest later. Thus, this vegetable can stay in place for many years. It is enough to divide it when its tuft becomes very dense.
The Rocambole Onion
The aerial bulbils of this vegetable are generally consumed during the summer. But also the stem and leaf part, which can be sliced for use in cooking. For the underground part, it will be preferable to have a few plants before picking them to let the plant “multiply” and continue to harvest. The rocambole onion can be easily preserved all winter, just like the classic onion. This vegetable can last for four or five years in its location, provided that it is divided from time to time. In this register, we can also mention the rocambole garlic!
Perpetual Daubenton’s Cabbage
The leaves of this cabbage can be picked all year round, except during the summer. The plant is even more productive when the young shoots are harvested, which encourages the formation of new leaves and shoots. This perpetual cabbage offers regular harvests and can last between five and seven years in the exact location. However, I suggest you be careful if you garden in a region with a harsh climate because winter and its frosts can destroy the plant. To overcome this potential problem, don’t hesitate to protect your Daubenton’s cabbage and eventually to take cuttings in August (just in case)… Also, the perpetual cabbage has the advantage of being much less sensitive to the classic cabbage pests.
Perpetual Celery or Lovage
Perpetual celery is a plant generally used as a condiment for cooking. Its leaves have the flavor of celery and disappear during the winter only to return the following year. The youngest leaves are also the sweetest, and again, you can harvest them as you need them in a staggered fashion. This vegetable has the advantage of staying in place for several years without difficulty and can be combined in the garden with most other vegetables.
Sorrel is a vegetable whose leaves are collected. Here is a complete article on this plant, “growing sorrel in the garden.” The leaves are very quickly renewed by harvesting no more than 1/3 of the plant at each harvest. Moreover, this helps to promote the production of new shoots by strengthening the plant. It is thus preferable to gather them regularly, even if you do not need them immediately. You can divide the plant after four years to prevent it from wearing out. Spinach sorrel (or perpetual spinach) is also an excellent vegetable that can be grown simultaneously.
The one we love to eat in pies is a regular in the garden. And it’s one of the best-known perpetual vegetables! All you have to do is cut its stalks between May and June, as well as in early fall. This can provide some very lovely harvests. I have a family member who loves to grow rhubarb, and she freezes her crops without any problem reusing them until spring… By the way, her pies are excellent! This vegetable can stay for more than ten years if you remove its flowering stems when they appear.
The Other Perpetual Vegetables
The list of perpetual vegetables is still long: perpetual basil, bear’s garlic, artichoke, perpetual spinach, rocambole garlic, goosefoot Bon-Henri, perpetual shallot, oyster plant … And as you will have understood, these are plants to be cultivated in permaculture.
Cultivate Perpetual Vegetables in Permaculture
It is relatively simple to grow perpetual vegetables. As we said, they can be placed anywhere in the garden. But careful planting will ensure that they thrive year after year. And to obtain generous harvests, without efforts! Here, all the work of preparing the soil, sowing and planting, and transplanting is obsolete.
The Location of Perpetual Vegetables
If, in theory, they can be planted anywhere. Although some of them will require specific conditions in terms of soil and its fertility, it is better to reserve particular places for them. Indeed, if you plant them in the middle of other vegetables, it will complicate your preparation of the ground for these last ones. As well as the rotation of the vegetables. Group them in a corner to create a “perpetual garden” area.
On the other hand, it is equally important to take care of the placement of the vegetables. The soil will only need to be worked once. Loosen and aerate the soil deeply to facilitate the rooting of the plants. Add a little compost or manure if necessary. Afterward, the compost combined with good mulching will feed the soil and the plants throughout the seasons. Also, remember to give them enough room to grow. Always consider your garden in terms of the “adult” size of the plants. Over the years, divide perennials and perennial vegetables to avoid exhaustion and to multiply them… Finally, you should know that there are many perennial vegetables, which should be chosen according to the growing climate and the nature of the soil. A perpetual vegetable that does not evolve in the right conditions can behave like an annual plant.