Why grow perennials?
"It's as close to zero-work gardening as you can get. Our perennial vegetable beds planted 11 years ago still bear food and all we do is add compost and mulch once a year"
"To me, growing perennial vegetables is the perfect fusion of foraging and gardening - because you are growing low-mainteneance plants that more or less take care of themselves, and offer up their edible harvest year after year. You are basically planting plants that you can 'forage' for just a few steps from your back door"
- Perennial vegetables are less trouble than annuals. You don't have to cultivate the soil
- There is a huge variety - they include salad leaves, greens, shoots, roots, tubers, herbs, onions and edible flowers. Better for you
- Perennial systems combat global warming. “Once you stop digging the soil, carbon emissions are vastly reduced and – quite possibly reversed – you may start to actually store more carbon in the soil” (Martin Crawford). Better for the planet
- When you stop digging, the soil structure is preserved, humus levels build up,, water can drain in very wet weather, yet is retained in periods of drought. Better for the soil.
- With no exposed soil, your perennial cover helps prevent erosion, rain compaction and nutrient leaching. Better for the soil.
- Perennial plants contain more nutrients than annuals. Better for you.
- The harvesting season is extended. - you can harvest throughtout the year, especially useful in the 'hungry gap' , in April and May when annuals are not yet ready. Better for you.
- Perennial vegetables tend to be of more use to bees, other pollinating insects and beneficial insects than annuals. Better for the insects and eventually for you.
- Perennials provide critical permanent habitats for animal, fungal and other life forms, many of which are highly beneficial to the garden. Better for the ecosystem.
- Perennial vegetables often perform multiple tasks. -they can function as hedges, ground cover,, erosion control for steep slopes. Better for everything
- The ecosystem is generally healthier so you’ll generally find fewer disease problems. And most perennials out-compete weeds and tend to resist slugs. Better for you.