Imagine a Food Garden That You Only Have To Plant Once in Your Life-Time, That Takes up Very Little Space
Imagine a food garden that you only have to plant once in your life-time, that takes up very little space, that will provide food for you and your family for the next 30 years; that can grow five times more food per square foot than traditional or commercial gardening; and where you never have to weed, never have to use fertilizers and never have to use pesticide– ever.— This book will show you how!
In a future world where there is potentially no electricity or refrigeration, no super markets or seed stores, and no fertilizers or pesticides, it makes sense to look at people who have managed to live successfully for generations without these “conveniences.” Studies of native indigenous people around the world—people who have lived off the land for generations without electricity, refrigeration, commercial agriculture, pesticides, or insecticides—showed that these people lived primarily on perennials (plants that grow year after year without replanting) as opposed to annuals such as typical grocery store vegetables (crops that must be replanted each year).
Here are some of my favorite canning recipes. I guess they are my favorites because I grow many of these items myself in my garden and orchard. You can also find literally hundreds of canning recipes, and more information on canning techniques in The Lost Ways
9 Perennial vegetables that keep on giving, year after year:
1. Asparagus: This slender spring beauty is probably the most well-known perennial vegetable, and one of the most coveted early spring vegetables (and the relatively high price in the produce section to prove it). It’s not a quick producer, such as many annual vegetables are, but asparagus can end up providing tasty green treats every year once they get established. Although it’s possible to start asparagus from seed, you can speed up the harvest timeline by at least a year or two by planting crowns that are several years old, which are usually available in garden centers every spring (or if you know someone with a large asparagus patch, you may be able to convince them to give you some crowns when they divide their plants).
2. Sunchokes: Also known as Jerusalem Artichokes (even though they don’t resemble artichokes at all), sunchokes are a relative of sunflowers that produce an edible tuber that is crisp and sweet. This perennial vegetable can be eaten raw or cooked as you would a potato, and is often described as having a nutty flavor. The sunchoke plant itself can grow rather tall, as a sunflower does, so it’s well suited to planting as a border or along an edge of the garden. The tubers are harvested in the fall, with some of them left in the ground (or replanted after harvesting) for next year’s plants.
3. Groundnut: The American groundnut (Apios americana), also called the Indian potato, is one of those perennial vegetables that doesn’t get much attention, but could be a great addition to any garden. The groundnut is a perennial vine that produces edible beans and large edible tubers (more properly “rhizomatous stems”), and is native to the eastern portion of the US. The vines grow to about six feet long, and can be grown up a trellis (or up other plants) for dense plantings. The groundnuts are harvested in the fall, and as with sunchokes, some should be left in the ground for next year’s growth.
4. Artichoke: These thistle relatives, properly called globe artichokes, aren’t the most soft and cuddly vegetables, but yield a large tasty flower bud Eeyore would absolutely love. Growing artichokes does take a bit of room in the garden, as they can grow to 6 feet or more in height, and like most perennial vegetables, a couple of years of growth is often necessary before they’ve matured to the point that you can harvest enough flowers to grace your table. While they can be started from seed, artichokes can also be planted from dividing an established patch, or from starts available from the garden center.
5. Rhubarb: This perennial vegetable is not only edible, but is also a colorful addition to the garden, and comes in varieties of red, pink, and green (the color of the stalks). Rhubarb is best planted from a crown, which can be acquired from a garden center (or a neighbor whose rhubarb bed is out of control), and should be allowed to grow for several years before harvesting the stalks for that perennial summer favorite, strawberry rhubarb pie. Only the stalks of the rhubarb are edible, but the leaves, which are toxic to humans, make a great addition to the compost pile.
6. Horseradish: While it’s a stretch to call horseradish a vegetable (it’s more akin to a condiment that you either love or hate), this perennial plant from the mustard family is a must-grow for the spicy crowd and the sushi lovers. The leaves of the horseradish (also edible) are rather plain and unassuming, and the small white flowers are nothing to write home about, but the large root of the horseradish is source of the strong flavor that can bring one to tears. In some areas, horseradish can take over the garden with the invasive growth habit of its roots, so when harvesting them in the fall, it can be good practice to remove as much of the roots as possible, and to only replant enough of the root sections as you will need for next year.
7. Jerusalem Artichokes: In the same family as sunflowers, Jerusalem artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus, also called sunchokes) are grown like potatoes for their underground tubers. You can eat them raw or cooked like potatoes. However, because their carbohydrate breaks down to fructose instead of glucose, Jerusalem artichokes can be a better choice than potatoes for people with diabetes.
Plant the tubers as soon as the ground can be worked in spring in fertile, well-drained soil and full sun. Place them 3-5 inches deep in rows 36-42 inches wide and leaving 15-24 inches between plants. Hand-weed to avoid disturbing the plant while it is growing.
By August, the plant will be more than 6 feet tall with yellow flowers. Tubers about 4 inches long and 3 inches in diameter begin to form in late summer. Wait until after frost to harvest. Handle them carefully as the skin of the tubers is very thin. You can leave some tubers in the ground to grow into plants again the following spring. Zones 4-9
Note: These are vigorous plants that spread by underground rhizomes and may become difficult to eradicate. Some gardeners consider them invasive.
8.Radicchio: This sharp-flavor vegetable is technically a hardy biennial, meaning it grows for two years. It is a type of chicory and is related to Belgian endive. Dark red leaves with white veins form into a tightly clumped head that resembles cabbage or romaine lettuce.
Grow radicchio (Cichorium intybus) in fertile, well-drained soil in full sun. Sow seeds in spring or autumn, then harvest the inner heads in late fall when they are firm and have the deepest color of white and red, leaving the roots in the ground to produce another crop. Avoid picking it too early; immature leaves taste bitter. Add olive oil and salt to the fresh leaves to cut the bitter flavor.
9. Sorrel: Sorrel is a perennial herb with a tart, lemony flavor used for soups, stews, salads, and sauces. The two main sorrels grown are common sorrel, Rumex acetosa, and French sorrel, Rumex scutatus. They are relatives of rhubarb, and the leaves contain small amounts of oxalic acid that’s not harmful when consumed in small quantities. The leaves are a good source of vitamin C.
Sorrel tastes best in early spring; it becomes bitter as the weather warms. It’s hard to find in markets because it wilts shortly after harvest. To grow sorrel, sow seeds directly in the garden in full sun and average soil 6-8 inches apart in rows 2 feet apart. Established plants may be divided.
One of the biggest benefits of this type of garden is that it is almost no work to maintain, compared to gardening with annual vegetables. And in a doomsday scenario, preppers are going to have enough work to do, without having to tend to a garden every day, while exposing themselves to potential enemies. Further, by planting primarily perennials- and a large variety of them- you will always have food for you and your family each year, no matter what the short term summer weather brings.
“MY SURVIVAL FARM”
…and it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before… An A to Z guide on survival gardening that is easy to read and a joy to put into practice, full of photos, diagrams and step by step advice. Even a kid can do this and, in fact, I encourage you to let the little ones handle it, to teach them not just about self-reliance but also about how Mother Nature works.
Here is just a glimpse of what you’ll find inside:
How to plan, design and put into action high-yield survival garden that will literally keep you and your family fed for life, no matter what hits you, even when everyone else around you is starving to death. No digging and planting year after year and no daily watering because you’ll have more important things to worry about when TSHTF.
How to set up highly nutritious soil for your plants. Do this before you plant anything and you’re on your way to setting your food forest on auto-pilot for decades to come. I’m gonna tell you this one “weird” thing to add to the mulch that’s not only highly effective but also 100% free (because you already have it in your home right now).
Step-by-step instructions on how to plant over 125 plants inside your permaculture garden. Plus, special instructions on choosing the right ones for your climate. From Arizona to Alaska, you can do this anywhere…
How to “marry” your plants. We’re gonna tell you which grow well together and help each-other survive and thrive, so they don’t ever compete for sunlight and nutrients. You get the full table of plants that work well with one another as well as the ones you should NEVER be put together.3,268 views