Growing Perennial Fruits and Vegetables in Your Garden
When most people think of growing fruits and vegetables they think of annual plants that you plant, nurture and harvest all in one season. Then you start all over the following year. Growing perennial fruits and vegetables can be a better way to use your land and save you time and money. Once the plants are established you get to reap all the benefits of these amazing plants while doing very little work.
Perennial fruits include all fruit trees as well as berries. Blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries are our favorites. Perennial vegetables that I can think of are rhubarb and asparagus. I'm not sure if you noticed but most perennial fruits and vegetables are much more expensive to buy than annual fruits and vegetables. This is the case at least where I live. I can purchase tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, potatoes, onions, etc. all for under $1 a pound (frequently much less) when they are in season. Even when berries, rhubarb and asparagus are in season and on sale they are much more than $1 a pound. I have never seen asparagus for less than $2.99 a pound here.
Because of the difference in price it makes economical sense to set aside some of your garden for perennial fruits and vegetables. The most important thing before planting though is picking out the best spot. Once planted, these crops are not easily moved. Make sure you plant these foods in areas that they will grow well in.
Perennial fruits and vegetables take time before they start producing edible crops (two or three years is typical). I think this is one reason that people don't plant them. Most gardeners want that instant gratification of annual crops. I want that too, so I have had to find a balance in my garden to allow for both annual crops and perennial crops. There are, of course, specific guidelines for planting each of these perennial foods and I found a great guide here.
Perennial food crops that are placed well and are well cared for will produce a good crop for twenty or thirty years. I know some people don't like to think that far into the future, but when it comes to these delicious foods I believe it is worth it. Aside from the occasional weeding, watering and fertilizer they don't require much work each year. Yet they keep on providing you with wonderful homegrown foods for many years. You really can't beat growing perennial fruits and vegetables.
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