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2221Re: [pfaf] Re: perennial vegetables

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  • Mary Lloyd
    Feb 29, 2008
      Hi Stephen, Boris and all,
      Really useful responses, thank you very much. I am looking for a copy of
      that book Boris and looking up all the plants Stephen listed below to
      see what grows near me or what I can get hold of to grow myself.
      There must be perennial plants that fall into all the recognized
      categories of vegetables: salads and greens, fruiting vegetables,
      shoots, stems, seeds, beans, peas, roots, tubers, fungi and flowers etc.
      I would love to have my garden full of them so I can just wander and
      pick whatever is in season.
      Are Bamboo shoots you get in Chinese restaurants real shoots of Bamboo?
      That grows like mad over here and it is a job to get rid of if anything.
      I can see this is going to turn into a real project.
      Thanks again
      Love, Whinnie

      stephen barstow wrote:
      > I posted the following on another forum recently. The list below covers
      > (mostly) salad plants, I use a number of other plants cooked. Hope it is of
      > some interest….
      >
      > ----------------------------
      >
      > Having been inspired some years ago by just how good perennial vegetables
      > can be through a Norwegian Society called the Useful Plants Society
      > (Nyttevekstforeningen), in particular some of the wild herbs which grow in
      > the wild and on the perimeters of my cultivated gardens - examples are
      > Ground Elder (Aegopodium podagraria) and Nettle (Urtica dioica) - I have
      > systematically collected and experimented with perennial vegetables suited
      > to my relatively cold climate here in mid-Norway (64.5N, with a minimum
      > temperature of about -23C) for the last 20-years. In fact I probably now
      > harvest more perennial green vegetables than cultivated.
      >
      > Perennial greens complement traditional greens as they are at their peak in
      > the spring time when little else is available, they are easy to grow needing
      > little maintenance (more important as one gets older ), pests aren’t a big
      > problem either in the springtime, and despite the fact that there aren’t
      > many perennial veggies that have been improved relative to their wild
      > relatives (most of them are effectively wild plants), yields from some of
      > them can be comparable to traditional veggies (my best and highest yielding
      > spinach plants are wild plants, in particular Caucasian Spinach, see below).
      > Although perennials peak in springtime, some are useful the whole summer
      > (e.g., Malva moschata, which is perennial here - needs a dry location to be
      > perennial I think) or can be cut down repeatedly to harvest the new growth.
      >
      > We regularly use plants from some 50 botanical families in springtime and
      > probably around 150-200 species, all perennials. First of all there is
      > nothing comparable to lettuce in what perennials can offer and, in my
      > opinion, perennial salads are best as mixed salads. A plain dandelion or
      > chicory (biannual, I know) salad would be too much (strong, bitter), but
      > mixed with a selection of other herbs can be very tasty (multiple taste
      > sensations).
      >
      > I’ve made a list below of some of my favourite spring perennial salad
      > vegetables:
      >
      > Aegopodium podagraria, Ground Elder (feared weed - I use this one regularly
      > in springtime, the young light green leaves are best for salads)
      >
      >
      > Agastache spp. (most are perennial and a little adds a pleasant sweet
      > licorice taste)
      >
      > Allium spp. (there are hundreds of species to choose from and many are in my
      > opinion are better than Chives; Try growing hardneck Garlic as a perennial
      > in a part of the garden and you can use the young shoots early every spring)
      >
      > Aralia spp. (I’ve only used the Japanese Aralia cordata or Udo so far –
      > excellent and very productive, it needs to be blanched before use – cover
      > with a very large bucket as the shoots can be 1m when harvested)
      >
      > Armoracia (Horseradish) – young spring shoots in moderation (can also be
      > blanched)
      >
      > Barbarea vulgaris (Common Wintercress) - early spring leaves
      >
      > Campanula latifolia, Giant Bellflower (and other Campanulas) - there’s a
      > long tradition of using this one here in Norway in spring soups
      >
      > Carum carvi, Caraway (although a biennial, when grown in the same place it
      > self-seeds and appears as a perennial); young spring shoots.
      >
      > Chrysanthemum vulgare – excellent in salads
      >
      > Diplotaxis spp. (Perennial Rockets) - although perennial they seem to be
      > short-lived although that could be my climate. Are sometimes grown and sold
      > in supermarkets as rocket (Arugula)
      >
      >
      >
      > Hablitzia tamnoides (Caucasian Spinach) - this is in my experience probably
      > the most underrated (or rather unknown) edible in the temperate world - a
      > fantastic productive spring spinach and salad plant. Read my article in
      > Permaculture Magazine here:
      > HYPERLINK
      > "http://www.hagegal.info/innlegg/media-diverse-store-filer/media-stephen-h.p
      > hp" \nhttp://www.hagegal.info/innlegg/medi...-stephen-h.php
      > (I would love to offer this one but unlike its close relatives (Chenopodium
      > spp.) it only produces a few seed).
      >
      > Humulus lupulus (Hops) - very young spring shoots before they get too
      > fibrous
      >
      > Hydrophyllum spp. (Indian Salad) - I tried this for the first time (H.
      > virginianum, I think) and was impressed.
      >
      > Malva moschata (Musk Mallow) - comes in white and pink flowered forms. This
      > is reliably perennial with me (needs a dry spot). I use this from early
      > spring to late summer (young leaves, fruits and flowers).
      >
      > Matteuccia struthiopteris (Ostrich Fern) – Excellent spring fiddleheads for
      > the woodland garden.
      >
      > Mentha, Melissa, Pycnanthemum, Osmorhiza and other aromatics
      >
      > Oxyria digyna (Mountain Sorrel)
      >
      > Rumex spp. (R. scutatus and R. acetosa) are excellent and productive
      >
      > Scorzonera (and the mostly biennial Tragopogons) - excellent spring greens,
      > flower buds and petals can all be used in salad.
      >
      > Taraxacum spp. (I have a collection of over 10 species, including
      > red-leaved, pink and white flowered, French cultivars etc.)
      >
      > Tilia cordata (Small-leaved lime)
      >
      > There are many more...can’t wait for spring...
      >
      > Sorry for the length of this but I really feel that Perennials are grossly
      > underused and probably as healthy as food comes...
      >
      >
      >
      > Stephen, Norway
      >
      >
      >
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