70+ Perennial Vegetables to Plant Once and Harvest for Years

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Edible perennial gardening is a way to grow delicious crops while saving time, money, and effort. Plant any of these 70+ perennial vegetables, fruit, or herbs once, and harvest from them for years. Also includes a video tour of perennial crops at the end.

Edible perennial gardening is a way to grow delicious crops while saving time, money, and effort. Plant any of these 70+ perennial vegetables, fruit, or herbs once, and harvest from them for years #gardeningtips #permaculture #vegetablegarden

Most of us grow edible crops from seeds or plants that we start in the growing year, harvest, and then have to regrow all over again. That’s because many of our common vegetables die when we pick them or eventually perish by the time that cold weather arrives. There’s an easier way to grow crops, though. An approach that’s much less work, more reliable, and introduces you to a world of new and incredible edibles. Plant perennial vegetables once and harvest from them for years.

Benefits of Perennial Vegetables

For anyone who has found themselves short of time or who’d like to avoid backbreaking work, perennial crops and ornamentals are your answer. They faithfully regrow in spring and are often some of the garden’s first flowering and producing plants. I know that I can count on garlic chives coming up in late winter, along with other members of the perennial onion family.

While I will always grow annual crops from seed, I also recognize the value of perennial vegetables. In fact, about half of my allotment garden is filled with them – everything from thornless blackberries to nine-star broccoli, oca, and Welsh onions.

Perennial Vegetables are Low-Maintenance

Not only are perennial crops long-lived, but many are winter-hardy, long-lived, and pest-resistant. Because they live in the soil long-term, they also can have more extensive root systems, making them drought-resistant. Think about the last dry spell your garden had – you were out watering the leafy green peas, lettuces, and spinach rather than the old apple tree. A smart gardener can understand the benefits of low-input and low-maintenance crops. Also, since perennials live in the soil for years, they help stop soil erosion and keep carbon locked in the ground. That proves that smart can also be eco-friendly.

Edible perennial gardening is a way to grow delicious crops while saving time, money, and effort. Plant any of these 70+ perennial vegetables, fruit, or herbs once, and harvest from them for years #gardeningtips #permaculture #vegetablegarden
Welsh onions are like giant chives

Types of Perennial Crops

In my mind, there are four types of perennial crops, and you can use all of them to create your edible perennial garden. The edibles in these groups will give you yields year after year, usually without you having to do anything other than mulch and prune them. You’ll find perennial food crops that fall into:

  • Perennial vegetables
  • Roots, bulbs, and tubers
  • Perennial fruit and berries
  • Perennial herbs
Edible perennial gardening is a way to grow delicious crops while saving time, money, and effort. Plant any of these 70+ perennial vegetables, fruit, or herbs once, and harvest from them for years #gardeningtips #permaculture #vegetablegarden
Oca is a perennial vegetable that can produce up to three pounds of tubers per plant

Annual and Biennial Crops

Many of our common garden vegetables are annuals or biennials, and though their life cycles are different, you only get a good crop in the first year. Even if some of them do survive both harvesting and winter, they shoot straight into flower come spring. After that, their roots become woody and their leaves bitter as they direct all their energy into seed production. After seeding, they die, leaving the seeds to carry on the next generation. Carrots, beets, and chard are all biennials.

Edible perennial gardening is a way to grow delicious crops while saving time, money, and effort. Plant any of these 70+ perennial vegetables, fruit, or herbs once, and harvest from them for years #gardeningtips #permaculture #vegetablegarden
Scarlet runner beans are perennial in zones 8-10

Others, like pumpkins, grow all year, produce fruit, and then wither and die as soon as the temperature drops. Again, their seeds are what the plant relies on to regrow the next year. Some crops can give you several harvests if you’re smart about the way you go about it, but eventually, they too will seed and die in that same year. Lettuce, for example, will run to seed within weeks or months even if you only harvest a few leaves at a time.

Edible perennial gardening is a way to grow delicious crops while saving time, money, and effort. Plant any of these 70+ perennial vegetables, fruit, or herbs once, and harvest from them for years #gardeningtips #permaculture #vegetablegarden
Asparagus can grow for at least twenty years

Edible Perennial Gardening

Perennial vegetables, herbs, and fruit are different in that they are long-lived. To be a perennial crop, a plant must be able to survive the winter and to produce a sizable crop the next year, and the year after. Perennial crops also survive from year to year, either as evergreens or as herbaceous perennials. Short-lived perennials can live from three to five years before needing to be replaced and include perennial kale and nine-star broccoli.

Long-lived perennials can live five to twenty years, and sometimes a lot longer. Asparagus lives twenty or more years, and rhubarb can live half a century in the right spot. I’ve heard tell of rhubarb being the only thing that survives of long-abandoned villages.

Edible perennial gardening is a way to grow delicious crops while saving time, money, and effort. Plant any of these 70+ perennial vegetables, fruit, or herbs once, and harvest from them for years #gardeningtips #permaculture #vegetablegarden
Rhubarb can live decades but produces best if divided every five years

Harvesting Perennial Crops

Each perennial crop is different, and depending on which one you have, you harvest the flower heads, leaves, berries, fruit, or tubers. With leafy plants, hold yourself back and only take a maximum of thirty percent of the growth, before allowing it to regrow. This general rule helps perennials to survive to see another harvest.

With tubers, make sure to save some for replanting and the same goes for plants that grow from bulbs. Avoid harvesting the bulbs, or all of them, to allow the plants to survive. Conservative harvesting will keep your perennial vegetables and crops alive as much as growing the right ones for your climate.

Edible perennial gardening is a way to grow delicious crops while saving time, money, and effort. Plant any of these 70+ perennial vegetables, fruit, or herbs once, and harvest from them for years #gardeningtips #permaculture #vegetablegarden
Globe artichokes produce edible flower heads for about eight years before needing to be replaced

The Hardiness of Perennial Vegetables

Perennial vegetables are long-lived crops with edible stems, leaves, flower buds, seeds, roots, or tubers. Some are very well known to us, yet many others are obscure or only grown in certain regions around the world. Perennial crops will be different based on your climate since some won’t survive sub-zero winters. For example, scarlet runner beans grow as an annual crop in places that have cold winters. In its home of central America and even warmer temperate climates, it can grow as a perennial.

The below chart lists many perennial edibles that you can grow in the average temperate garden, along with growing tips and their USDA hardiness zones. I can also recommend these books as guides to growing a perennial vegetable garden.

Edible perennial gardening is a way to grow delicious crops while saving time, money, and effort. Plant any of these 70+ perennial vegetables, fruit, or herbs once, and harvest from them for years #gardeningtips #permaculture #vegetablegarden
Walking onions form edible bulbils at the tops of their stems

Perennial Vegetables

Perennial vegetableUSDA Hardiness zonesGrowing tips
Asparagus officinalis
3-8Asparagus spears are immature shoots that you pick in spring before they have a chance to grow into tall stems and feathery leaves. Grown from two-year-old ‘crowns,’ you should only harvest asparagus after its third year in the ground. After your plants become established, they can keep producing for twenty or more years.
Babington’s leek (Wild leek)
Allium ampeloprasum var. babingtonii
5-9This wild perennial leek grows in sandy soil all over the British isles but tolerates most soil types and pHs. It spreads through its bulb and bulblets and, when harvested, looks very much like a standard leek, though the flavor is a little more garlicky. The plant can grow up to six feet tall and needs full sun but is resilient to high winds and exposed locations. The entire plant is edible, including its top-set of bulbils.


Cynara cardunculus
7b-10Growing ten feet, this relative of the globe artichoke has large silvery-green scalloped leaves and small, prickly thistles that sit at the tops of its tall stalks. Thought the flower buds are edible, it’s the thoroughly steamed stems that you eat. They taste of a combination of chard stem, celery, and artichoke. Grow from seed in spring.


Caucasian spinach
Hablitzia tamnoides
3-9A vining plant with heart-shaped green leaves, tiny sprays of flowers, and can grow seven or more feet. Eat the leaves and young shoots, steaming or sautéing them and using like chard or spinach. This plant is the only one left in its genus but comes as a Swedish cultivar and two wild types from Armenia and Georgia.   Attractive shade-tolerant plant.


Giant butterbur (Fuki)
Petasites japonicus
4-9The large green kidney-shaped basal leaves are traditionally used in Japan as wraps for food to be cooked over an open fire. The stems and very bitter buds are also edible, with the latter cooked in tempura and served as an early spring delicacy.  This plant can be invasive so is best kept constrained if possible. It prefers clay to loam soil, full to partial shade in a sheltered location, and isn’t fussy on soil pH.
Globe artichoke
Cynara scolymus
6-9The hearts of these plump flower buds of this giant thistle are a delicacy that you’ll be happy to have in your garden. Once established, an artichoke plant can flourish for up to eight years, and you can readily propagate them from a parent plant. In mild climates, they won’t die back in winter and can produce heads year-round.
Good King Henry
Chenopodium bonus-henricus
3-9Low-maintenance spinach substitute related to the wild ‘Fat Hen’ Chenopodium album. It grows up to two feet tall and 15” wide and has green goosefoot-looking leaves. If the leaves aren’t prepared in the correct way, they can be very bitter. Avoid eating the leaves raw, and instead soak them in saltwater for an hour before steaming, sautéing, or boiling. You can also eat the young shoots and flower buds in spring and summer.
Japanese Ginger
Zingiber mioga
7-10Although Japanese ginger is related to common culinary ginger, the roots are not edible. Instead, you harvest the young shoots and flower buds of this plant and use them in the same way as ginger. It also grows well in temperate climates, making a gingery homegrown flavor more achievable for those who don’t live in the sub-tropics. The flavor is actually a mild ginger and onion mix with the buds tasting more like ginger. Use Japanese ginger as you would green onions in noodles, salads, and other savory dishes. Prefers fertile soil and grows well in containers that can be brought under cover in winter.
Nine star broccoli
Brassica oleracea botrytis asparagoides
3-10This unusual brassica was discovered growing in a patch of ordinary broccoli in the early 1900s. Each year it can grow five to nine smallish heads of yellow-green broccoli. As long as you cut them off before they flower, the plant lives on to produce another harvest. This short-lived perennial can live for around five years and you grow it in the same way as other members of the cabbage and brassica family.
Perennial kale
Brassica oleracea var ramosa
6-9Very similar to annual kale but with smaller leaves, which some people prefer in flavor. Grows as a clump about four feet tall and wide and includes the cultivars ‘Daubenton,’ ‘Dorbenton’s,’ ‘Taunton,’ and  ‘Ewiger kohl’. Short-lived perennial that will keep producing year-round for about five to six years. It rarely flowers, so to continue growing them, you propagate new plants from cuttings. The outer stems can settle on the ground and form roots. Prefers full sun and a soil pH of six or above, but is tolerant of partial shade and seaside conditions.
Potato onion
Allium cepa var. aggregatum
5-8The potato onion, also known as the multiplier onion, grows similarly to shallots in that each onion planted will form a cluster of yellow onions. The onions grow 2-4” in diameter and have a stronger flavor than shallots or sweet onions. These are a long-day variety, meaning that most cultivars won’t produce if you live south of 37N or north of 37S latitudes. Grow in conditions similar to other onions, with full sun and rich soil. After harvesting them, remember to save some of the onions to replant either immediately (mild winters) or the next year.
Allium tricoccum
3-7Perennial onion that grows tender garlicky leaves from tiny bulbs in early spring. Use as you would green onions, or even as stir-fry greens or pesto. In some places, North American ramps grow profusely in the wild, but in others, they’ve been foraged to near oblivion. They take a long time to get established, so if you dig the bulbs up, you can lose your supply. It’s better to only harvest the garlicky leaves and never too many from any one plant. Grow in neutral pH soil in woodland type conditions – partial to full shade, and moist, fertile soil. It’s best to grow it from bare-root bulbs or transplants since seeds can take a year to germinate and plants then up to ten years to reach maturity.
Rheum rhabarbarum
3-8While used as a fruit, rhubarb is technically a vegetable. In spring, you’ll pay a small fortune for its tender, red stems, but grow it yourself, and you’ll have more than you can eat. Rhubarb thrives in neglect and can often found growing at the back of gardens and allotments across the northern hemisphere. You can pull the stems from spring until early summer, and once established, plants will produce for years. Grow from crowns or seeds (takes much longer) and divide every five years to promote productivity.
Sea beet
Beta vulgaris subsp. maritima
4-8This wild ancestor of all of our cultivated beets and chard can be found growing wild along the shore in parts of Britain and Europe. It’s clump-forming and has leathery green leaves. It has adapted to live in salty conditions but will also happily grow in the average vegetable garden. Eat the young leaves in spring, as the older leaves can be tough. Sea beet has a lifespan of anywhere from two to eleven years, and one study showed that plants from seed collected in Brittany, France, had the longest lifespan of all types. Use the leaves as you would chard or perpetual spinach, and it’s said to taste very similar to the latter.
Sea kale
Crambe maritima
4-8Herbaceous perennial with thick curly cabbage-like leaves that die back in autumn. It’s the young spring shoots of the plant that are most prized, and they’re often ‘forced’ with a pot in a way similar to rhubarb. The blanched shoots, young leaves, and flowerheads are the most popular part to eat. Space plants two feet apart, and the low-lying frilled leaved plants will fill the gaps in between. Sea kale grows well in poor soil in exposed areas and is tolerant of both drought and seaside conditions. It can grow for up to ten years but is productive only after about its third year.
Scarlet runner beans
Phaseolus coccineus
7-11Many of us grow scarlet runner beans without ever realizing that they are a short-lived perennial vegetable in sub-tropical and mild climates. These heavy-producing beans have red, pink, or white flowers depending on cultivar, and are evergreen in places that don’t see frost. In gardening zones seven and above, they can regrow vines in spring for up to six years. You can eat both beans and flowers.
Sorrel3-9There are three species of sorrel grown for culinary use, including French sorrel (Rumex scutatus), red-veined sorrel (Rumex sanguineus), and garden sorrel (Rumex acetosa). Though they each look a little different, the flavor is similar. A pleasant oxalic acid kick that makes the leaves fresh and citrusy. Very easy to grow from seed or propagate by dividing an existing clump. Use the leaves raw or cooked and in salads, sauces, soups, and egg dishes. Grow in full sun to partial shade and prefers well-drained moist soil.
Taunton Deane kale
Brassica oleracea var Acephala
6-9Perennial kale that grows to about six feet tall with a thick woody stem and purple-green leaves. Harvest the leaves year-round and use it as you would ordinary kale or cabbage. It is said to have good flavor and is considered ‘very hardy’ in Britain, from where it hails. Prefers full sun, fertile soil, and conditions similar to other brassicas.
Turkish rocket
Bunias orientalis
4-8Though related to salad rocket (arugula), Turkish rocket has a cabbage-like flavor and grows more similar to broccoli raab. The leaves, stems, flowers, and flower buds are edible and can be eaten raw or cooked and used as a broccoli or kale replacement. An easy to grow plant that spreads so is considered invasive in some places. Drought tolerant and can live over ten years as a perennial. Prefers full sun but tolerant of partial shade and different soil types.
Walking onions
Allium × proliferum
3-10Walking onions, also called tree onions or topset onions, form clusters of tiny bulbs at the tops of tall stalks. You can eat these bulbils, the greens, as well as the main bulb. Although eating the main bulb means that plant won’t grow back the next year. Use the greens like chives, and the bulbils can be opened and used like garlic cloves for a mild oniony flavor. Grow from seed or the small bulbils, which readily sprout even while still in the air. Prefers full sun and moist, fertile soil. There are several cultivars of walking onions, including the Egyptian walking onion.
Nasturtium officinale
2-10Semi-aquatic plant with peppery leaves and seeds that you can dry and use like mustard. Very easy to grow in containers that sit in a basin of water to keep the potting mix moist, but traditionally grown in shallow, free-flowing, clean water. Though it roots into soil and compost, the hollow stems of watercress allow it to float in water. Prefers partial sun and marsh-like conditions, though dislikes stagnant water.
Welsh onions
Allium fistulosum
6-9Welsh onions are like giant chives, can be used as spring onions, and grow to 18” tall. You can grow them from seed, or bulbs, and over time they form clumps that erupt in long green leaves and pollinator-attracting white allium flowers. Both the leaves and small bulbs are edible and can have a strong oniony flavor. Grow from seed or from divided bulbs and make sure to leave at least half of your bulbs unharvested so that they can clump up the next year. Prefers full sun and moist, fertile soil. Also called ‘Bunching’ or ‘Siberian Everlasting’ onions.
Wild garlic
Allium ursinum
3-8Perennial wild onion very similar to ramps, but native to Europe and Asia. Both the garlicky leaves and bulbs are edible and use as you would green onions, or even as stir-fry greens or pesto. Grow from seed or bulb transplants in neutral pH soil in open woodland conditions – partial to full sun, and moist, fertile soil. The seeds germinate and grow much quicker than ramps so are worthwhile if you’d like to start a patch.
Wild rocket
Diplotaxis tenuifolia
5-9Usually grown as an annual, with seeds sown every few weeks for a constant supply, wild rocket can die down over the winter but return to grow new leaves the following spring. It has serrated green leaves that are very peppery and if you let it flower and go to seed you can eat the flowers, seed pods, and easily save seed for future harvests. Very easy to grow and quick to mature. Sow in fertile soil situated in full sun from spring to autumn. Grows well in containers.
Edible perennial gardening is a way to grow delicious crops while saving time, money, and effort. Plant any of these 70+ perennial vegetables, fruit, or herbs once, and harvest from them for years #gardeningtips #permaculture #vegetablegarden
Jerusalem Artichokes are also called Sunchokes

Perennial Vegetables: Roots, Bulbs, and Tubers

There are so many edible perennial roots, bulbs, and tubers available that they deserve their own section. The types below have flavorful and sometimes energy-packed subterranean parts, and many can persist in the ground from year to year. If you have sub-zero winters, make sure to lift your tubers and replant them the next year to ensure they survive. If you don’t, you can treat many of these perennial vegetables as annuals.

Perennial vegetableUSDA Hardiness zonesGrowing tips
Chinese artichoke (Crosnes)
Stachys affinis
5-9Harvest the peculiar white tubers of this plant in early autumn and serve raw or lightly stir-fried. Each plant only produces about 6 ounces (170 g) of tubers, and they are small at only about one to two inches long. Still, they’re a delicacy and worth your effort if you have space to give them. They have a water chestnut texture and a nutty flavor. In mild regions, you can leave some of the tubers in the ground to regrow the next year. Prefers well-drained soil in full sun and does not like frost. Only plant when the soil warms up in spring.
Chicory (Radicchio)
Cichorium intybus
3-9Chicory is grown for its bitter leaves that can be eaten raw or cooked and for its deep taproot, that can be baked and ground into a coffee substitute. Growing chicory as a perennial can be challenging as plants grown from the same packet of seeds can all have different growth traits and can be annual, biennial, and perennial. Some cultivars such as Variegata di Castelfranco and Italiko Rosso may have more tendency to perennialize. Sow from seed in mid-summer in full sun and fertile soil. Thin to a foot apart (30 cm) and harvest the leaves after the first frost. If any plants survive the winter, leave them to grow on to see if they’ll perennialize.
Dahlia x pinnata syn. Dahlia variabilis
Dahlia coccinea
8-11It’s possible that the tubers of all dahlias are edible but chances are, the one you have growing in your garden right now is. The long tubers from your plants can be harvested in autumn and eaten raw or cooked. The texture and flavor are said to be like yacon – crunchy and mildly sweet to bland. If you have had Jerusalem artichokes and had bad wind or cramps be wary though. Dahlia tubers contain the indigestible carbohydrate inulin and can have the same effect. Grow dahlias from seed or tubers in spring and lift the tubers in autumn if you have cold winters. Prefers free-draining fertile soil and full sun. Plants do best if given supports.
Earthnut pea
Lathyrus tuberosus
6-8The nut-sized tubers of this perennial legume taste pea-like when raw and like sweet chestnuts when cooked (typically boiled or roasted). They’re a wild plant that was commonly cultivated in Europe in the past, and known in France as macusson. The plant grows 12-32” tall with alternate, oval leaves, deeply scented pink pea-like flowers, and a sweet-pea-like climbing stem. Often found growing wild on cultivated land, it can grow roots 16” deep and send its climbing stems up crops such as wheat. May be best to grow this crop in containers. Grow from seed in spring.
Armoracia rusticana, syn. Cochlearia armoracia
3-9A little goes a long way when it comes to spicy hot horseradish roots. The plants can grow enormous tap roots though and become invasive if you plant them in an open situation. Even the smallest piece of root left in the ground can grow a new plant. Best to start your plants off from a crown, or pieces of root from a parent plant, and grow on in a large container – even an old rubbish bin will do. It has tall floppy dock-like leaves that love the sun but isn’t fussy about soil type.
Jerusalem artichoke (Sunchokes)
Helianthus tuberosus
3-8Jerusalem artichokes are an American root vegetable that grows from coarse-leafed stems over eight feet tall. Producing sunflower-like blooms, they’re also known as sunchokes and are unrelated to globe artichokes. Harvest the rich and nutty flavored tubers in early autumn, when the plant has died down, and save some to replant the next year. Over two dozen cultivars are available, including Fuseau, Bear Valley Purple, and Mammoth French White. Can spread easily so consider growing in large containers. Can also cause stomach bloating and gas in up to fifty percent of the population but the flavor is so delicious that many people deal with ‘Fartichokes’. Grow in USDA zones 2-8, though the tubers may not survive in the ground below zone three.
Oca (New Zealand Yam)
Oxalis tuberosa
8-9Oca tubers range in color from pink to white to magenta and only begin forming below the wood sorrel-esque foliage in the autumn. You harvest the tubers in late autumn to early winter, and the yield can be up to three pounds per plant. They have a unique flavor that’s citrusy and potato-like and the cooked texture is like a cooked turnip. You can also eat the tubers raw and they have a pleasant crunch. Grow from tubers in late spring, and if you have a mild winter climate you can leave some in the ground to grow the next year. I always miss some and they grow on their own as volunteers. More oca growing tips here.
Solanum tuberosum
8-12Anyone who has mild winters and grows potatoes knows how they can regrow the next year if you miss harvesting them. Though it’s not recommended to save potatoes to replant the next year (due to potential pathogens) there is a plant breeder in the US who has developed ‘Perennial potatoes’ for cold winters/climates. Though ordinary potatoes will perish if the ground freezes, these can survive to produce a small crop the next year. Potatoes can grow in pretty much all hardiness zones, 3-12, if you grow them as an annual.
Sium sisarum
5-9An old-fashioned European vegetable, skirrets are a true perennial and come back year after year with their masses of carrot-flavored roots. It can grow up to four feet tall in summer, and the clump-forming crowns are harvested in autumn after they’ve had a summer to fill out. Grow from seed or crowns in spring, and begin harvesting after the second year when the foliage has died down. Dig the crowns up, take the best roots as your harvest, and replant the crown to grow another year. If you want to increase your plants, you can separate individual crowns and plant them up separately. Prefers moist and fertile free-draining soil in full sun.

Perennial Fruit and Berries

Perennial fruit is always a winner in the garden. Though the trees, vines, and bushes can take up a lot of space, the juicy rewards are worth the investment. With fruit trees and shrubs, you tend only to eat the fruit and berries, though there are exceptions. Grape leaves are edible and are used in Greek cuisine to make food parcels. Some perennial fruit flowers are edible too.

  • Apple
  • Apricot
  • Blackcurrant
  • Blueberry
  • Boysenberry
  • Cherry
  • Cranberry
  • Grapes
  • Gooseberry
  • Jostaberry
  • Kiwi
  • Loganberry
  • Pear
  • Physalis (Cape Gooseberry)
  • Plum
  • Quince
  • Raspberry
  • Redcurrant
  • Strawberry
  • Tayberry
  • Thornless blackberry
  • Wintergreen
Edible perennial gardening is a way to grow delicious crops while saving time, money, and effort. Plant any of these 70+ perennial vegetables, fruit, or herbs once, and harvest from them for years #gardeningtips #permaculture #vegetablegarden
Many garden herbs are evergreen or grow back every year

Perennial Culinary Herbs

Many garden herbs are not only hardy but will thrive year after year. Even when not much is growing in the garden, you can still nip out and harvest a sprig of rosemary, or a handful of winter savory to add flavor to winter dishes. Many perennial herbs also thrive in poor soils, making them ideal for areas of the garden where other plants won’t grow.

Most perennial herbs prefer free-draining soil, and harvesting up to a third of their annual growth encourages bushier growth. Many can also be grown in pots and containers and taken undercover over the winter. Keep in mind that quite a few perennial herbs hail from the Mediterranean so may not survive winters below USDA hardiness zone 8.

  • Basil (zone 10 and above)
  • Bay laurel
  • Chives
  • Garlic chives
  • Lemon verbena
  • Lemonbalm
  • Lovage
  • Marjoram
  • Mint
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Salad burnet
  • Sweet cicely
  • Tarragon
  • Thyme
  • Winter savory

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  1. Deb Meacham says:

    Love this list, it has been helpful many times.

  2. Tricia Groom says:

    White currants also make a good crop, heavier cropping than redcurrants. Otherwise the same.

  3. Jennifer Gibbs says:

    Great list!! Thank you! What about Prickly pear and agave? and Yucca? or Yuca? I just learned that these last 2 were different plants-?

  4. Suzie Zeman says:

    Thank you so very much for all your work in helping those of us who do not have the experience that you obviously do. I am trying to fill my four plus acres with everything useful. I have been focusing on a “cottage garden” or “permaculture” type situation but am sadly inexperienced. I started a few years ago planting herbs, fruit trees, berry vines, blueberry bushes, grape Vines, kiwi vines, and veggies. The veggies have been a disaster due to deer and insects. The blueberry bushes feed the wildlife while us humans get nothing. The herbs for the most part and very Hardy and spreading. I have been doing allot of research over the last few years but still can’t seem to find a comprehensive source to clearify companion plantings for mutualy beneficial protection and sharing of nutrients. Can you recommend a source, such as a book or something on the web that gives more then a two plant combination to achieve this goal? I live in zone 8 but most of what I have found is for colder zones. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi Suzie and I’m in zone 8 too :) I don’t think that companion planting (on its own) will help you in the way that you’re hoping. Understanding your challenges, and knowing how to counter them is where you should begin. Buy a notebook, and dedicate a plant to each page in it. Write down the issues you’re facing, as well as your successes with it. Then research what you can do about the challenges. That may include companion plants, special netting, growing the plant in a different way (such as containing mint in a pot), or trying a hardier variety. It will be easier for you to find solutions when you have all of that laid in front of you. Good luck :) PS — for example, wrap blueberry bushes with fine veggiemesh netting after you spot berries forming. Animals and insects won’t be able to get through! You can unwrap it to pick your berries when they’re ripe then wrap the plant again to wait for more to ripen.

    2. Desert Farmer says:

      It is a challenge. We live in the northern extreme of the Chihuahuan desert. There really isn’t a lot of relevant documentation out there for permaculture in this kind of climate. I’ve had to do some experimentation. Out here, our main garden predators are cactus mice, javelina, rabbits and the occasional donkey. Of course there are insect challenges unique to each climate. I use a strategy of california poppy, wild lettuce or any shorter plant that has milky latex stuff in it. That keeps the rabbits out. For the taller zones we use yellow sweet clover to keep the rabbits, donkeys and deer out. It smells like vanilla to us, due to the coumarin content. Just enough to scare off most animal pest. It provides shade, is a primary bee food plant and an excellent nitrogen fixer. We use hairy vetch in that role for winter season. This combo has allowed us to build up patches of siberian wheat and other grasses, safe from the rabbit reavers. Out here, they get a funny look in their eyes when they see something green and leafy. We also have chickens so we grow grains for them. These also make good shelter and perimeter protection for more delicate pants. If water is gold in the desert, shade is silver. These taller plants create shade for others, long after they turned brown. We use sweet potato on trellises as a shade plant. The greens are good for chickens. The roots are good for rabbits. The shade is good for everybody. You just have to try stuff and pay attention. Nature is never silent. We just sometimes forget how to listen.

    3. I raise blueberries in a relatively bird-dense area of the suburbs (Zone 8 as well, but many of your problems are not zone related). I use bird-scares, teardrop shaped reflectors with an eyespot. I hang them under my eaves and on nearby trees, it does seem to help but only against some birds. Something else that has helped is to keep the bushes pruned well up, this way birds cannot stand on the ground and pick them off at leisure, and slugs that take the risk of climbing up to get them are also at risk of still being up in the bush when the birds come out. However, the most effective thing by far in my experience is to get the berries before the birds do, because once the birds figure out that there are berries somewhere, they will be back every day until they are gone, and they have fewer scruples as to how ripe they are than I do. When a good sized patch of berries are getting ripe, I find it requires daily picking of the ripest at first light to beat the birds. Deer can be kept out with a tall enough fence, but it must be quite tall. Many private farms have livestock of some kind so an electrified perimeter fence is SOP as a last line of defense against escapes, and those can be effective against deer even if they are shorter. It some jurisdictions it is legal to harvest deer out of season if they are actively damaging crops or property, but I’m not a lawyer, so do your homework on this. These may not be an option, however; a hedgerow is almost always possible and once established, it requires very little money to keep it working, and incurs no ethical problems. Raspberries, salmonberries, and blackberries are a decent choice, though they do take a lot of maintenance. It may take quite a lot of plants though to circle 4 acres with hedgerow, so the up-front cost may be more even than a proper fence. As far as insects go, I have used predators (I personally hate chemicals). Some hardware stores sell bat and bird houses, but they are easy enough to build also. Birds can be a help here, even if they do eat berries. Ladybugs, mantids, lacewings, are good options you might find at the hardware store as well -usually in a little refrigerator with mason bees, earthworms and the like. Some people have suggested lavender as a ladybug attractant, or rue to repel insects. I have both and find that ladybugs do like lavender, but they like other things as well, so if there’s not already a good population of ladybugs around it won’t matter, and rue does seem to repel insects, but not much further than a few feet from the plant. It also seems to affect the soil around it: the only thing that seems to grow near rue it is common lawn grass.

  5. Denise Bennett says:

    Another perennial herb that I grow is perennial fennel. This non-bulbing fennel has a deep tap root and is very hardy in my zone 3 to 4. The flower heads are large and a great pollinator attractor. Harvest the seeds before they drop or it will readily spread!

  6. my comment ref other berries not good enough your website. didn’t get past moderation.
    oh well, life’s too short!

      1. Tricia Powell says:

        Good girl! There’s ALWAYS someone who ‘loves your blog/recipes/whatever and then proceeds to tell you all you’ve missed (they have a ‘more complete’ list…that they don’t take the time to publish for free), ‘you could do it that way, but I’VE had more success this way’, and ‘the recipe was outstanding! Here are all the ingredients I changed!’ Yes, ‘w.’, life is absolutely too short to listen to people like you.

  7. hi tanya
    been watching some of your yt videos recently. the first one i saw was the 9 berry film from your allotment. 3 valuable crops missing from your list are, and all easy to grow,
    -aronia/chokeberry [cultivar: viking]
    -juneberry/saskatoon [cultivar: smoky, its the sweetest in my experience]
    -honeyberry [my best cropper is an un-named variety, the first i purchased, supplied as a pair with a different cultivar to aid pollination and fruit set]

    other suggestions: fuchsiaberry, black raspberry [rubus occidentalis], buffalo currant [ribes odoratum], chilean guava, worcesterberry [r.divaricatum].

    i’d like to get my hands on some yellow potato onions, appear to be easy to get hold of in usa, but not in the uk – any suggestions?
    kind regards

  8. Dear Tanya
    I look forward to your newsletters and have done so for a while, since before you moved to your present house and garden. There is one thing I would find really useful is a ‘Zone Map’. All the ones I have found relate to the States. We live on the edge of the Highlands in Perthshire, Scotland, in the middle of sheep grazing, red squirrels and pheasants (but that’s another story!). A very short growing season but wonderful loam soil. We have only been here for a few years so I am not sure what will grow, hence the request for a way to find out what zone we are in.
    Kind regards

    1. There is a UK zone map (here) but I don’t think anyone really uses it! On the Isle of Man, we’re approximately in the US-based zone 9 but I think you’ll be in 7-8 being a little further north and having colder winters. Might be worth looking up though.

    2. Tiffany Jane Noble says:

      Google ‘hardiness zones UK’ or similar, then click on images to select one :)

  9. Thank you for that well detailed informative material. It was definitely food for thoughts. I will implementing your suggestions and tips.
    Thanks again, keep up the good work we are all appreciative of your efforts and time. Take care and be safe out there.

  10. stephen proper gredler says:

    …if you could edit the word seeter to sweeter at the end of the posting…

  11. stephen proper gredler says:

    I am a fan of this site starting today. Four years ago I started a garden among the edible flowers already growing here in Reva Virginia. I planted cilantro/coriander, which overwinters nicely here. Basil grows quickly and I save seeds. Dill gets the same treatment, Oregano is a perennial here. Asparagus is perennial if you prepare the bed and keep it clear of weeds, like you say. I am planting horseradish this year, another perennial. You can add “American hots” to your article. I am planting more and more fruits to complement the grapes growing up an old apple bush that does not bear, and a row of early and late
    raspberries growing straight up…closely contained by 8 foot long bamboo stakes. Sunchokes I will try to find…parsnips will get sweeter with each successive frost, also. And parsnips will grow into the next year, like garlic.

    1. You certainly have a lot of delicious perennial veggies, fruit, and herbs on the go! Thanks for sharing your experience and I made the requested edit for you too :)

  12. You have inspired me to attempt growing artichokes again this year from seed. Fingers crossed. This time I will have worm castings to use with the seed starting soil and hope it works. Regarding sunchokes, I recently watched a show of A Chef’s Life that mentioned that sunchokes have to have at least 3 freezes before being harvested in order to cause less gas.

  13. Also Tanya I would like to grow maybe red onions. They are tastier than white imo. And I can use them raw or cooked. More exotic. How do I go about this.
    I have 2 largish raised beds. About a meter x 150cm . And maybe 20cm + high. I know not very high but they’ll have to do. I’m no superwoman at digging anymore. Do you think I can have onions in such a raised bed ?

    1. Absolutely! I’d say you could get two or three rows of onions in that space. The best way to start them is by purchasing ‘Sets’ — these look like tiny onions. You plant them in early spring and you’ll harvest them at the end of summer.

  14. I don’t know a parent plant rhubarb. Do I buy a new plant? .. organic of course or.. can I buy seeds? I think I’d prefer to sow from seed. But have no inkling.. do they have seeds ?

    1. Growing rhubarb from seed is uncommon — but I’ve done it successfully. You should start with seeds from a reputable source and you should be able to begin harvesting by year two. Otherwise, ask at a local community garden if anyone is dividing their rhubarb. When I do it, I always give loads away for free.