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You’ve heard it said, “Don’t work hard, work smart!“. This is why I want to explain “The Value of Growing Perennials”
Perennials are plants that continue to come up year after year. Annuals are plants that bloom or fruit for one year, and then die. It would seem that the choice is simple, doesn’t it?
But a balance of both annuals and perennials is the best choice.
Last year, in particular, I didn’t plant as many annuals in my gardens as to allow myself more time to work on getting in a very large patch of asparagus. I was fortunate enough to find 2 year roots (asparagus isn’t ready to be eaten until the third year), so we’ll be eating asparagus Spring 2018! A good asparagus patch will bear for close to 30 years! That’s one heck of an investment and well worth the extra work of digging long and deep trenches, planting and covering the crowns with soil, over and over again. It takes a lot of time, labor and attention, but it will be so worth it.
The year before, I worked tirelessly to put in a large raspberry patch. To be honest, no sane person needs as many raspberries as I planted. I tend to go big. Anyway, with proper care, fertilization and pruning, that patch will last for decades. It’s not going anywhere. I have friends and family come over to pick from it, so everyone benefits.
Other perennials that I’ve worked on over the years include rhubarb, strawberries, blackberries, wild black raspberries and morel mushrooms. My perennial kitchen herb garden is a valuable asset as well.
So when it’s “one of those years”, when there’s a health issue or a new baby, and the annual garden just doesn’t happen or at least to the extent you might wish, you can always fall back on your perennial garden! With proper care, perennials will continue to feed your family for years and years, with very low maintenance.
And isn’t that the goal? In the “not too distant” future, I look forward to walking out my back door in the spring and seeing nothing but food growing. That’s what sustainability looks like. Can you imagine having enough of your own food growing to eliminate your need for the grocery store? Wouldn’t that be incredible? Can you imagine having enough of your own resources to be able to barter with other like-minded people for what you didn’t grow? Or for labor that you need done?
Implementing perennials takes time, but you’ll reap the benefits. Here’s a quick list of 10 perennials to get you thinking about which one(s) to get started with next year!
- Egyptian walking onions
- Globe artichokes
I recommend that you begin thinking now about how and where you can get some perennials into your yard next Spring! You can even get many of these started inside! It’s an investment well worth the effort!