Anyone Growing Perennial Vegetables?

mkirkwag(Puget Sound)June 15, 2014

I've been reading about more unusual (to us) perennial vegetables and have gotten interested. My asparagus failed many years ago, but I might try again, and I hear sorrel will do well. I know a few things overwinter, but I'm wondering if anyone in the Puget Sound area is growing any truly perennial veggies and- if so - what you're going and how they're doing?

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princessgrace79(8 PNW)

I'm in Portland, but close enough :) I have an artichoke start sitting here that I got cheap that I'm finding a home for this week. They are perennial. A lot of people have rhubarb here with lots of success (I haven't made space for one, yet...they are big). Lots of herbs either are perennial or are consistent reseeders.

I read that pepper plants are actually perennial in warmer zones than us (9 and up?) and that you can bring them indoors under lights and they will go for years.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 1:49AM
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mkirkwag(Puget Sound)

I'd love to hear how the artichoke goes. I've been looking at perennial kale, chinese yams, walking onions, musk mallow, cranberry hibiscus, ramps, ostrich fern...a few other things. But just looking; not starting! I think I have the perfect place for ramps, but the cost is over the moon.

I know rhubarb does well in Eugene. You'd probably do fine with it. I hate it, so not for me, but I know a lot of people love it.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 5:09PM
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lilyd74

I've been looking at perennial vegetables this year too, and thinking about what I might establish. Since I'm stuck in town and I have to look presentable, I found a few ornamentals that double as perennial vegetables I'm adding out front - certain sedums, hostas, and daylilies, actually. I was surprised at how good daylily buds tasted; something I'd prefer to some of the "standard" veggies.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 5:18PM
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princessgrace79(8 PNW)

I will keep you posted on the artichoke :) A few neighbors have them growing in the front and they seem to do fabulously here with little care (don't think either of these neighbors is particularly diligent with their yards or even waters haha).

I love rhubarb pie, but I don't really enjoy baking so not sure that one is for me anyway.

I'm really interested in learning about the perennial kale as we eat a lot of kale here. How is it different from regular kale? I have overwintered ours but usually dig it out in the spring, it just gets buggy after a year and quite tall as it grows up not out for me (maybe its just how I pick the leaves). This year mine died after that february snow storm (had a foot of snow) but the two years prior to that it kept on going. Its definitely a year round for us....mine never bolts.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 2:17AM
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larry_gene

^ More evidence on why it is hard to give away surplus rhubarb.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 10:37PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

I LOVE rhubarb, wish someone would give me some...

I make rhubarb crisp, it is faster than pie.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 11:45PM
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larry_gene

Invitation extended via email.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 12:31AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Larry, I responded

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 3:08PM
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mkirkwag(Puget Sound)

@princessgrace - I think the perennial version doesn't hold up to our climate. We can grow it as an annual, but...
What I want is stumble upon someone giving away ramps :-)

I do have daylilies; thanks for the reminder that they're edible! I've never tried them.

Walking and clumping onion and garlic are supposed to be perennial here
I don't know much about perennial kale. I read about it in the book referenced in the website below. Included:
brassica oleracea acephala western front, walking stick kale (ridiculously tall. looks like a Dr. Seuss plant) and tropical tree kale (I don't know if I'd want to look at that much kale all year). He also mentioned brassica oleracea wild cabbage, which doesn't look that immensely edible.
All this is from:
http://perennialvegetables.org/perennial-vegetables-for-each-climate-type/cool-maritime/

I'm kind of interested in goundnuts.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 5:45PM
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larry_gene

buyorsell, I replied at 8:30PM.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 11:29PM
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winsorw(8)

I have a few artichokes and they have been coming back since I planted them 5 years ago. Same with asparagus.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 11:37PM
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larry_gene

buyorsell came by this evening for a few pounds of rhubarb, thank you mkirkwag!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 12:15AM
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kristincarol

For the space and the effort it takes (yearly dividing) not to mention the watering, I do not feel that artichokes are worth growing. I have to grow everything in raised beds due to gophers and space is too dear to me. One good artichoke per plant and several more smaller ones is not a good yield imho.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 8:05PM
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mkirkwag(Puget Sound)

Any time I can bumble through and accidentally improve your life, just let me know, larry-gene.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 8:53PM
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mkirkwag(Puget Sound)

Thanks for the heads-up, still kris.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 8:55PM
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OregonEd

I overwintered a pepper before in Portland. The bell pepper produced more the second season. I did not have it under a grow light, only by a west facing patio door. The plant had a lot of aphids, which were not a problem outside in my garden. I had to rinse the plant in the shower many times and also spray it.

Halfway through the winter all the leaves fell off (the aphid issue was then gone). My wife made fun of me for keeping the plant, as it looked like a stick tree. However, once April or so came around, the pepper leafed out very bushy :)

If I was to overwinter peppers again, I'd through them under a grow light.

-Ed

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 11:55AM
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cedar_wa(z8)

There are Jerusalem Artichokes. They are not actually perennial, but once you have them they never go away.
Either plant them where you don't care that they invade or move them every few years to keep under control. I've had them here since 1982. Also like the normal artichokes for at least 15 years with no special care other than putting compost on every spring and weeding. They are now producing about 7 to 10 buds per plant. We enjoy a lot now and then just let them go without water.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 1:30PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

I cut up and froze the rhubarb in 4 cup bags as that is what a crisp or a pie takes. I then boiled what was left with some brown sugar, nutmeg and blueberries on the stove and we ate it poured over ice cream. THANK YOU

    Bookmark   June 28, 2014 at 12:59AM
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larry_gene

Sounds good. I missed last Tuesday's local CSA delivery, so this Tuesday a few more pounds will go there, plus I will make a 4thJuly dessert, that should keep the plants at bay until mid-August.

The minor effect of the harvest for you is already obliterated by new growth.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2014 at 11:18PM
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charleney(8a PNW)

Rhubarb smoothie is the best ever!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 9:11PM
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KATER1

I was excited the first year my peppers lived over the winter and I shook them to pollinate and they had jalapeno babies. This winter I tried to save more. I have the white bug problem I have to find out if they are aphids and how best to delete them. I vacuum but they are proliferous!! Is there a way to add a photo?

    Bookmark   December 28, 2014 at 7:46PM
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mkirkwag(Puget Sound)

I'm not sure wintering over qualifies it as a perennial veggie. :-)
Probably white fly. You'll need insecticidal soap, but basically, it's a stressed plant and it's probably hopeless. That's been my experience.

White fly park on the bottom of leaves and fly up in a cloud when you shake them.

Aphids are green. You can get them off by thoroughly washing the plants. If they're outdoors, put foil of some other method of discouraging ants. Ants are aphid ranchers and take very good care of them, so discouraging the ants and washing the plants usually does the trick.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2014 at 9:21PM
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greenelephant(Woodinville WA)

Osborne Seed offers kale, broccoli, and a few others that are "winter vegetables" in the PNW. You start them in July, set them out in August. They grow until mid October, then they sit out the dark cold weather. In February-April they send up a flush of new tender, bug-free, delicious growth. It's amazing for the rotten end of winter to have these succulent vegetables.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2015 at 11:33PM
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charleney(8a PNW)

Remember t that rhubarb plants love horse manure. I pile mine really deep.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2015 at 2:59PM
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