Perennial vegetables are making a real come back in peoples backyards. In the last 100 years there has been a real shift to only growing and using annual vegetables.
The reason for this is two fold – one, as a nursery you only sell perennial plants once, whereas with annuals people come back every year for more so you make more profit. Two – we have lost the knowledge of what wild plants and weeds are edible.
A food forest garden is the perfect place to grow perennial vegetables and herbs so that you can plant them once and keep on harvesting the produce from them.
Benefits of Perennial Vegetables in your Food Forest Garden
1) They are ready earlier in the season as they are already established. So while you are planting out tiny seedlings of our annual vegetables, your perennials are already big plants ready to go.
2) They can perform several roles in the garden at once – not just food. Many perennial vegetables are also beautiful, ornamental plants that can enhance your landscape. Others can function as hedges, groundcovers or erosion control for slopes.
In a food forest garden perennial vegetables and plants form the lower herbaceous layer.
Still other perennial veggies provide fertilizer to themselves and their neighbouring plants by fixing nitrogen in the soil. Some can provide habitat for beneficial insects and pollinators, while others can climb trellises and provide shade for other crops.
Perennials vegetables need to be carefully placed into a permanent place in your garden, and will have to be maintained separately from your annual crops.
List of Perennial Vegetables for your Food Forest Garden
Bunching Onion Red
Bunching Onion White Welsh
Egyptian Walking Onions
Good King Henry
Kailaan (Chinese Broccoli/Chinese Kale)
New Zealand Spinach
Pikopiko- the hen and chicken fern
Perennial Herbs for your Food Forest Garden
Some of these are technically annuals but they re-seed themselves very willingly. Some of these herbs are medicinal rather than everyday eaters, please check before throwing them in a salad!
Basil- Bush, Sacred, Sweet, Thai
Bergamot bee balm
St johns wort