Growing perennial vegetables

We are all familiar with growing fruit as perennials and most plots have rhubarb, fruit bushes and fruit trees. However, how many of us grow perennial vegetables? One common perennial vegetable grown on allotments is asparagus. This week my first asparagus spear poked through! (I planted an asparagus bed last spring).

Here are some examples of other vegetables that you can plant once and can supply your kitchen for years: Food for thought!

Perennial onions (walking onions)
These are more like spring onions in reality. They grow in a clump. You can dig up part of each clump and replant a section for a continuous supply. They are frost hardy and can be left growing throughout the whole year.

Babington Leeks
These plants are similar to a leek, but you grow them from a bulb planted in spring. They bulk up throughout the first year and then you can harvest over winter by cutting at soil level and the leek will regrow from the bulb. They are thinner than conventional leeks (like a baby leek) with a slight garlic flavor.

Nine star perennial broccoli
This plant produces a large creamy white cauliflower head with lots of sprouting sides. It will keep producing every as long as you cut the crop and don’t let it go to seed. Apparently it is quite difficult to find seeds for this plant now, but definitely worth a try if you can find it!

Perennial spinach (Spinach beet)
This is actually a variety of chard, but a good alternative to spinach if you find your crops always go to seed. Although it is perennial in theory, it can go to seed from the second year onwards if you don’t keep on top of the picking. It is very hardy through so can give a good winter supply of greens. Great for curries, stews and even salads if picked small when the leaves are more tender

Although usually grown as an annual, chillies are actually a perennial plant. If you prune the plants and keep them in a frost free place they will regrow in the spring! That way they also have a head start and can produce more fruit. Apache are a nice compact plant to overwinter on a windowsill or similar