If you detest replanting every year, perennials may be your best friends in the garden. Perennials may take some time to establish themselves in the first year or so, but some fruits and vegetables can regenerate for decades. You don’t have to be a lazy gardener or a cheapskate to embrace perennials; who doesn’t like more for less?
Drop onion bulbs in the garden in the autumn, and they’ll be going full-force by spring. Even in snow, you may see persistent green onion shoots reaching up for a glimpse of the sun. These vegetables flower, seed, then conveniently divide their own bulbs for future crops.
According to the Village Green Network, “…many types of strawberries produce numerous runners with baby plants at the tips. Those runners often root themselves nearby yet remain attached to the mother plant.” Clip the runners if you want more berries.
3. Sweet Potatoes
While sweet potato crops are grown mostly in the south, The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible by Edward C. Smith suggests that the plant can be coaxed to its full potential in cooler climates through the use of black plastic mulch. To start, twist off shoots that have grown from older sweet potatoes and place them in water so they can grow roots. (Don’t bother the crop’s secondary roots when you’re harvesting the potatoes.)
Plant a bulb (with the end up) in soil that’s not full of clay. Mulch them after planting. Expose garlic to full sunlight. These vegetables will divide by themselves.
It takes work to get an asparagus plant established, but it’s worth it: an asparagus can produce for 15 years and beyond with minimal intervention. It can be grown from seed or from one-year-old crowns. Just give asparagus plenty of sunlight, water, and ensure it has room to grow. Weed it faithfully.
Better Homes and Gardens explains that, “Though many people treat it like a fruit, rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum) is actually a hardy perennial vegetable (because you eat the stems, not the plant’s fruits).” Unfortunately, you’ll have to leave it unharvested the first year. Then, dig and divide up the plant every 6 to 8 years to keep it productive. (Use only the stems as the leaves are poisonous.)
Chives are a member of the onion family. Start them in the garden as seeds. Their bulbs multiple quickly. Pinch off the tops (the regenerate) in the spring for the best-tasting chives of the year.
If you have space, consider starting a raspberry patch. Throughout the year, plants do need at least one inch of water from the time they bloom until you pick the berries. Remove the canes that have produced fruit. Add mulch or compost every year.
Blueberries prefer well-drained, acidic soil. Plant at least two varieties so the bushes cross-pollinate. Remove the blossoms for the first two years so the bushes don’t produce berries while the leaves and roots get established. Blueberries can produce for 30 to 40 years.
Blackberries thrive in various soils and can handle full fun, semi-shade, or full shade. It’s not a companion plant, so keep it outside of your regular garden if room permits. Trellis the canes as the plant can grow upwards of 10 feet high and 10 feet wide.
Perennial fruits and vegetables require minimal work to keep them growing at their greatest potential. Some take a few years to become established. They often like to take over the garden, but they’re still relatively good for your soil, your bottom line, and your back.