Monday, May 7, 2012

Easy pickings

Adding perennials to your garden is one of the easiest ways to amp up production, while reducing your work.  The garden version of 'set it and forget it'.   The added bonus is that they are generally quite pretty as well.  Perennials can be the perfect addition to that floral border.  Since they will come back every year, make sure that you like where they will be and that they won't interfere with anything else.  Some of mine are in the main veggie garden, while some are in flower borders.

Some of the easiest perennials to add are herbs.  Things like mint, oregano, chives, sage and thyme will do well just about anywhere.  The only warning is that mint can get quite large.  Many plant mint in planters, or you can plant it into a container that then gets mostly buried in the ground.  By leaving an inch of the pot above the ground, it will discourage the mint from spreading so rapidly.  If you love mint and use it a lot, just plant it in the ground and enjoy its rapid spreading.

My neighbors have some gorgeous herbs that they never use.  Every year they allow me to take whatever I want to dry and use throughout the year.

Rhubarb is a classic perennial.  It's beautiful large leaves and red stalks will be with you for years.  It can be divided easily and passed along to other gardening friends as well.  Mine will be made into some rhubarb crisp bars this afternoon.

To go along with that rhubarb, you could plant some strawberries.  Whether in a strawberry pot, or in a bed, strawberries will be one of the most cherished perennials in many gardens.  Every year we wait anxiously for them to ripen.  Most don't make it into the house, but are eaten right in the garden, still warm from the sun.

One of our newer additions is Jerusalem Artichokes.  These beauties can be used raw or cooked.  They grow into 6-8 foot tall mini sunflowers and are absolutely gorgeous by the end of summer.  They can be dug in fall, or you can wait until spring.  When very fresh they have a low glycemic index and are wonderful for those who are sensitive to blood sugar swings.  These also love to spread, so put them in a place that their presence won't be a problem.  Mine are right next to the mailbox in a flower garden along the street.

Garlic and onions can also be a form of perennial.  Garlic can be replanted in the fall and grown for the following year.  I've been planting the same batch of garlic back for 4 years now.  With the addition of potato onions which are a perennial, we will have plenty of our favorite seasonings for years to come.

There are so many other wonderful perennial foods you can add.  This year we'll be adding more blueberries and 2 apple trees.  Fruit trees can be a great addition to any yard.  They are gorgeous in spring when they flower and provide a luscious addition to anyone's home.  You could plant asparagus as well.  We are planning to add it next year along with some grapes.  The best thing about perennials is that you buy and plant them once and then harvest for years.  They're great time and money savers for the busy gardener.

This post will be part of the Homestead Revival Barn hop.
It will also be part of the Morristribe's Homesteader Blog Carnival.
And the How are you trying to beat a tough economy at Retro Momma, Vintage Wife.


daisy said...

What a helpful post! I'd love to hear more about your garlic replanting!

The Mom said...

Daisy, thanks. With the garlic, I harvest in July, when it's time to plant in October, I take several of the just harvested bulbs and plant the cloves. It's been years since I bought garlic.

Daphne said...

I love my perennials. They are so much easier than the annuals that I have to grow from seed every year.

Michaela said...

I've been saying for years I wanna come live with you! LOL

Thanks for posting on the Economy post!

The Mom said...

Daphne, they are so easy. If I could only figure out how to make them all perennials.

Michaela, come on over! I doubt you're up for another cross country move though!

Michaela said...

Oh, yeah. There's that... LOL

Kirsten McCulloch said...

My step father's been telling me about potato onions, I think, but I hadn't realised (or have just forgotten), that they are perenniels.

We are getting some more fruit trees into our garden this winter, and I do want to add other perenniels too. We've got lots of herbs, but I would like to get some more vegetables like new zealand spinach, aspargus and maybe jeruselum artichokes (I have a feeling they don't grow well in our area, but I may be making that up).

I'd love to see your rhubarb crisp recipe. We have quite a bit of rhubarb, but I just tend to stew it and have it on breakfast cereal in the mornings (or with ice cream for dessert occasionally), and make the occasional pie.

The Mom said...

Kristen, did you just move back to Alaska? If so, I have no idea what is perennial up there. You're going to enjoy your first real winter in a while!