perennial vegetables/fruits : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I'm trying to grow as many perennial edibles as possible. What do you grow and what do you do with the unusual ones? I'm technically in zone 3 but I have successfully grown zone 4 stuff. I have multiplier onions(same as top-set or Egyptian), rhubarb, asparagus,Jerusalem artichokes, chives, oregano, sage,horseradish, tomatillos (they reseed themselves every year), grapes, strawberries, blueberries, highbush cranberries(just starting), chokecherries, pincherries, elderberries, apples, and one Asian pear that hasn't borne fruit yet. I'm looking for more ideas.

-- Peg (, April 18, 2000


Raspberries would grow in zone 3 and there are probably some nuts such as walnuts and chestnuts that would grow in your zone as well. They may take longer to bear fruit but they are a good source of protein if you're thinking along the self-sufficiency line.

-- Colleen (, April 18, 2000.

Peg, sounds to me like you are doing pretty well! I don't know if the Asian pear will produce for you there or not, though -- seems to me they are hardy to zone 5?? I'm not sure. Which ones do you consider unusual? I've used most of the ones you mention, grow some of them, but I don't know if I would think of any of them as being really unusual? (Though I have some friends who think anything that they can't get in the store is unusual -- plus a lot of what IS in the store!! :-)

-- Kathleen Sanderson (, April 18, 2000.

There is also sorrel,nettles(you can plant these from a wild patch,use gloves when you pick them), lovage (use in soups where you would use celery),daylilies, and many plants that we grow as annuals will come back every year if you let them winter over or reseed.Some of those include spinach,lettuce,kale,mustard,orach,breadseed poppies,swiss chard,and, to some extent,collards. Our collards were not as hardy as the kale.Our nasturtuiums also reseed, and we eat those in salads or as garnishes.

-- Rebekah (, April 18, 2000.

Thank you for the suggestions! I had forgotten to mention the raspberries because they are planted at our old place that we are now renting out. I have to transplant some this spring soon. We also have a butternut tree here that my grandmother planted, and sadly, a black walnut that I planted many years ago that had just started to bear a good crop. Sadly, because that tree is also at the other house.

I am very interested in the greens that Rebekah suggested. I didn't know that they would reseed. I suppose I've never given them the chance. And I didn't know that lovage could be used like celery. That's the kind of thing I meant by "unusual". But how could you know what I've grown, so it was poorly worded. Dill also reseeds nicely.

I hope people keep making suggestions. This is fascinating!

-- Peg (, April 18, 2000.

Peg, where in zone 3 are you? (If you don't mind my asking?) Because we are on the south edge of zone 4 here; we can grow butternuts, and with some difficulty the hardiest peaches, but not black walnuts. Well, we've got some little black walnut trees, because my husband got them free, but we've been told they probably won't produce here. I am curious about what grows where -- how many of you have read Tree Crops, by J. Russell Smith? It's an old book, but has a lot of good info. and some range maps where he believed the trees he was writing about would grow and produce. As we are considering where else would be a good place to homestead, those range maps are one of my guides. Anyone have any reason to believe they aren't accurate?

-- Kathleen Sanderson (, April 18, 2000.

We are about 30 miles south of the tip of Lake Superior. The lake basin climbs from an elevation of 600 feet above sea level to over 1200 feet where we are. We have hotter summers and colder winters than near the lake, but also more snow cover. I was also told the black walnuts wouldn't produce here even if they grew. But I often try to push the envelope. 3 years ago it produced 3 nuts. The next year about 50, and last year a grocery bag full. The trees are about 17 years old however. I think we have some kind of micro-climate going here. I should clarify. I planted 2 trees, one is much larger than the other and the larger one produced all the nuts.

-- Peg (, April 18, 2000.

I forgot to mention roses-we don't usually think of them as an edible, but I love the petals on those wild roses, and rugosa roses make huge rose hips which can be used in tea,eaten fresh,I've heard of making jelly but haven't tried that. The hips can be cut in half and dried for vitamin C in the winter. If you'd like to try the orach,I have a lot of seed for it.

-- Rebekah (, April 19, 2000.

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