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.

Oregano in the flower bed

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.

Rhubarb by the shed

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.

Strawberries in bloom

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.

Jerusalem artichokes with mint growing around them.

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.

Potato onions and garlic

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.

Submitted by Heather Smith

About eSS&SC

The South Shore and South Coast has been home to hunting, gathering, fishing, farming––and great eating––for over 10,000 years. We are committed to identifying, devouring, and sharing all that Southeastern Massachusetts has to offer today and preserving local options for future generations.
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One Response to Easy Pickings

  1. eSS says:

    We wouldn’t have much of a garden without the perennials we planted years ago. They really give you a jump start in the spring. We haven’t had time to do much beyond pull a few weeds but already we’re eating asparagus, chive, sorrel, fennel, and baby kale, and we haven’t planted a thing.

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