I love growing perennial flowers. They are an easy way to add (almost) guaranteed colour to your garden every year.
Lots of people grow perennial flowers, but much fewer grow perennial veg.
I think that should change, and perennial vegetables can be a great way to get harvests year after year with lower effort than annual plants.
With that in mind, here are some tremendous perennial vegetables you can grow in the UK.
The classic perennial vegetable. When I think of vegetables that come back year after year, then asparagus is always the first to come to mind.
You can start an asparagus bed by growing from seed or buying more established crowns to get a head start.
If growing from seed, you will have to wait two to three years before your first harvest, which is why many people opt for crowns.
Even growing from crowns, you don’t want to harvest the shoots in the first year to allow the plant to establish itself.
Once your asparagus is established, you will be harvesting for many years, so patience is crucial.
Overall, asparagus is very simple to grow, although slugs and snails can be a common issue, but that is true for most veggies in the UK!
Yes, rhubarb is technically a vegetable and not a fruit. These bright red stalks always take me back to my childhood and grandma putting copious amounts of sugar into her homemade crumble.
Rhubarb is extremely easy to grow, which is one of the main reasons it became an allotment staple.
Typically you grow rhubarb from crowns, but it can be grown from seed. Crowns are preferred, though, as plants from seed can take a long time to establish and are often of poor quality.
Plant in a free-draining spot, as it doesn’t like its crown being waterlogged. Crowns can be planted anytime from autumn through to spring.
When most people think of artichokes, they immediately think of globe artichokes (more on those below) but let me tell you about a different kind, Jerusalem artichokes.
This plant actually develops a tuber, which is the part of the plant you eat.
Despite the name, they are not an artichoke but are more closely related to a sunflower. Something you might have been able to guess when looking at the photo above!
The plants grow tall, often above 6ft so make an excellent windbreak or privacy screen.
Dig up the tubers in autumn when the foliage dies back. One thing to note is that they don’t store well; while they may look similar to potatoes, they don’t store nearly as well.
Because of this, it is common to leave the tubers in the ground and only harvest when you want them.
Any tubers still in the ground next spring will regrow and produce more tubers which is why they are classed as a perennial vegetables.
They produce a lot of tubers and are very easy to grow. Because a single tuber will grow back, they can often be tricky to remove altogether from an area, so be careful where you plant them.
Globes artichokes are actually a thistle, and you can see the family resemblance when you grow them.
Unlike the Jerusalem artichokes above, the part you harvest with globe artichokes is the flower head.
Again these are rarely grown from seed (noticing a trend here?) and are instead grown from already-rooted suckers that you plant in spring.
In the first year of growth, the heads will be small. Cut them off and don’t allow them to develop. While this means you won’t get a harvest just yet, the plant will be much better off for it in the long run.
Perennial kale is actually a really old cultivar, but one that is declining in popularity, and I think there is one main factor behind this.
That is the simple fact that they don’t tend to flower. And if they don’t flower, then they don’t produce seeds.
This means you can’t grow this from seed, so it doesn’t end up in shops, so fewer people grow it.
The plant is usually grown from cuttings taken from a mother plant.
The most common variety, in the UK at least, is called Taunton Deane and is a long-lived perennial, often lasting six years or more.
You pick and eat the side shoots which are produced in abundance, its a true pick-and-come-again plant.
These leeks are truly simple to grow and should be much more popular than they are.
They are easy to grow from seed and produce tonnes of tasty leeks with a hint of garlic.
Cut at ground level, but leave the bulb in the soil. This is important as it will grow back.
The seeds also grow on tall stems, which will eventually flop with the weight and hit the soil.
This is intentional and is one of the ways the plant reproduces, so if you don’t want your patch extending, then make sure to remove the flower heads.
They are very hardy and will keep coming back year after year.