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Long Lived, but not Immortal

May 24th, 2017

There are many perennial vegetables, but that doesn’t mean that they are immortal. Often, long lived perennial vegetables exhaust themselves or slowly decline after reaching a certain age. There are many factors that contribute to this. My asparagus patch here has been on the decline, it’s pretty old. I noticed that it produces much later than my friend’s and the harvest is much smaller. This is after adding compost and amending the soil well. The plants have probably just exhausted their productivity.

Last year I started two varieties of asparagus from seed (Precoce D’Argenteuil & Mary Washington), they overwintered well and are growing nicely. I also ordered 25 crowns of each ‘Jersey Supreme’ and ‘Purple Passion’ asparagus from Nourse Farms this year. Both of these varieties grew in my Ohio garden and I was very happy with them.

It looks like I will end up with 75-100 asparagus crowns including the ones I started from seed, which will be more than we need, but neighbors never complain about it when you give them asparagus so I don’t think I will have any issue using it all up. One of the varieties I have is supposed to produce quite early, so I’m thinking about trying to maximize this by planting it in a space where I can cover it with a low tunnel for the winter and try to force an extra early harvest. I may also plant some early strawberries with it for an extra early strawberry harvest as well.

I’m always happy to add perennial vegetables to the garden, it’s nice to know that each spring I will have a lovely harvest of asparagus with not much input on my part. With a little maintenance each year, an asparagus patch will produce for many, many years. However, if your patch is on the decline, it may be time to cut your losses and start over.

Do you grow asparagus in the garden? Do you have a favorite variety?

Egyptian Walking Onions

April 4th, 2011

A few years ago, after reading Gaia’s Garden, a book about permaculture, I started adding more perennial vegetables to my edible garden. There are the usual suspects like rhubarb and asparagus, but many people don’t realize you can buy perennial onions and leeks as well.

I planted these Egyptian Walking Onions 2 years ago along with some perennial potato onions (which aren’t technically perennial because you have to dig them up and replant them). They did well last year, I didn’t harvest any because I wanted to let them get established. Last fall I had a few with the little bulblets on the tops of the stalks. This spring they’re looking great. I haven’t harvested any yet, but they’re large enough I could any day (I’m thinking an omelet might be the reason). These photos were taken 2 weeks ago, and the onions are much larger now.

I even noticed that one of them had “walked” into another area of my raised bed. I’ll be moving these little guys soon to another area of the garden. I’m hoping to have a good patch of these in a few years because they make a nice early onion. A perfect way to supplement the few remaining storage onions in the pantry. They certainly are interesting plants to grow.

Do you have any perennial vegetables in your garden?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.