Top 10 Easy to Grow Edible Perennials - PVP15

Show Notes

There are so many wonderful edible perennials and it was hard to pick just 10 or so. 

The selection criteria: inexpensive to add to the garden (seeds, slips, cuttings), bountiful harvest of food that my family likes, rock star performance under challenging conditions like the long dry summer in San Diego, and hands mostly off, low maintenance once established. 

Of course there are hundreds of other selections and I've planted dozens of other perennials (and many moved on to new homes!).

cardoon! so darn lovely! photo credit: nialorraine.com

  1. Artichoke and cardoon. Yes, a bit of a cheat putting them together but both are stately plants. Easy to grow from seed. Beautiful flowers. Cut to the ground when all the harvest is over for vigorous re-growth from the massive roots. 
  2. Asparagus. Hard not to add this one. Yes, there are those crowns you need to buy but then just simple compost and mulch is all it needs. Winner!
  3. Moringa. The tender leaves are mild and tasty. Great raw or cooked. Fast growing from seed. Low maintenance. I planted one next to our sidewalk...secret eats, great airy foliage.
  4. Sorrel. Of the sorrels, we enjoy common sorrel the best. It is super productive. Beautiful and easy from seed.
  5. New Zealand Spinach. Not spinach and not from New Zealand. Fast growing edible ground cover. Spinach like flavor and texture when cooked. Zero maintenance.
  6. Arugula. Great year round crop for us. Great for salads and wilted on top of soups. Cut it to the ground and get more wonderfulness. 
  7. Garlic, Shallots, and Garlic Chives. Add lots of rich flavor with home grown alliums. We use a lift, harvest, and replant method for garlic and shallots in our mild climate. Short on space? Try Garlic chives in pots.
  8. Eggplant. There are so many ways to prepare this beautiful edible. Terrific even in front gardens. 
  9. Kale. You're on board with this non-heading lettuce or you think the rest of us are nuts. Kale is a terrific year-round crop in for us. I cut it to the ground as the weather warms and keep in low and in check. As the weather cools, I let it grow with wild abandon through the cooler season.
  10. Sweet potatoes. Edible leaves. Edible tubers. Ground cover. Tolerates my abuse. What's not to love?

Resources

  • Stephen Facciola (1998). Cornucopia II: A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications. ISBN: 0962808725.
  • Eric Toensmeir (2007). Perennial Vegetables: From Artichoke to 'Zuiki' Taro, a Gardeners Guide to over 100 Delicious, Easy-to-Grow Edibles. Chelsea Green. ISBN: 9781931498401.

Credits