All Posts   Posted:   June 5, 2018 by Nicole Forbes - Dennis' 7 Dees Education Director

Perennial Edibles: Plant once for years of harvest potential

For those of us with summer veggie gardens, the month of May is often a frenzied time of soil preparation, variety selection and garden planning & planting. By now, most of our annual crops have been planted and are steadily growing as the season progresses.

Once June has arrived we can begin to reap some of the rewards from our efforts; for example I am picking fresh lettuce, peas and carrots for salads and bowls full of strawberries every other day! Although my annual crops give me the opportunity to try growing new things each season, I appreciate the steady presence and reliable harvests from my more permanent, perennial crops like artichokes, blueberries, and fruit trees.

Perennial edibles differ from annual crops in that they need to be planted just once and continue to grow over time with ever-increasing yields compared to annual crops that quickly mature over a single season and need to be replanted each year.

Take for example the artichoke; a delicious edible thistle from the Mediterranean with striking silver-gray foliage and tall spikes that produce edible flower buds (chokes) each spring. Young, immature plants may reach 3-4 feet tall with a few edible flowers but after a few years, mature plants can reach heights of 6-7 feet and supply several pounds of food each season! Artichokes require full sun and well-drained soil and can become quite drought-tolerant once established; occasional winter extreme temperatures can damage unprotected plants. If allowed to flower, artichokes blooms are large, very showy and irresistible to bees!

Most berry crops are also considered to be perennial, meaning that they continue to grow year after year increasing in size and yield as they mature. Strawberries are some of the earliest summer berries to ripen often in late May or early June followed by other berries including raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. By growing several different cultivars one’s harvest can be stretched out over several weeks or even months! Some of the earliest-ripening blueberries come ready in early July and the latest can ripen in early or mid-September. New dwarf varieties are now available for planting either in the ground or in containers.

Fruit trees such as apples and pears usually ripen in late-summer or fall while cherry trees can be harvested sooner. Growing your own fruit is rewarding and can be a great way to teach youngsters about where our food comes from by observing an apple develop from start to finish. If planting a new fruit tree or berry plant is on your list this summer, be sure to take extra care in getting it established with deep watering and good nutrition while it is actively growing; you will be able to watch your food grow right before your eyes!

Our garden centers are currently well-stocked with perennial edibles such as blueberries, strawberries and fruit trees (apples, cherries, pears) ready to be planted at home to help feed you and your family for years to come.

Perennial Edibles: Plant once for years of harvest potential

For those of us with summer veggie gardens, the month of May is often a frenzied time of soil preparation, variety selection and garden planning & planting. By now, most of our annual crops have been planted and are steadily growing as the season progresses.

Once June has arrived we can begin to reap some of the rewards from our efforts; for example I am picking fresh lettuce, peas and carrots for salads and bowls full of strawberries every other day! Although my annual crops give me the opportunity to try growing new things each season, I appreciate the steady presence and reliable harvests from my more permanent, perennial crops like artichokes, blueberries, and fruit trees.

Perennial edibles differ from annual crops in that they need to be planted just once and continue to grow over time with ever-increasing yields compared to annual crops that quickly mature over a single season and need to be replanted each year.

Take for example the artichoke; a delicious edible thistle from the Mediterranean with striking silver-gray foliage and tall spikes that produce edible flower buds (chokes) each spring. Young, immature plants may reach 3-4 feet tall with a few edible flowers but after a few years, mature plants can reach heights of 6-7 feet and supply several pounds of food each season! Artichokes require full sun and well-drained soil and can become quite drought-tolerant once established; occasional winter extreme temperatures can damage unprotected plants. If allowed to flower, artichokes blooms are large, very showy and irresistible to bees!

Most berry crops are also considered to be perennial, meaning that they continue to grow year after year increasing in size and yield as they mature. Strawberries are some of the earliest summer berries to ripen often in late May or early June followed by other berries including raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. By growing several different cultivars one’s harvest can be stretched out over several weeks or even months! Some of the earliest-ripening blueberries come ready in early July and the latest can ripen in early or mid-September. New dwarf varieties are now available for planting either in the ground or in containers.

Fruit trees such as apples and pears usually ripen in late-summer or fall while cherry trees can be harvested sooner. Growing your own fruit is rewarding and can be a great way to teach youngsters about where our food comes from by observing an apple develop from start to finish. If planting a new fruit tree or berry plant is on your list this summer, be sure to take extra care in getting it established with deep watering and good nutrition while it is actively growing; you will be able to watch your food grow right before your eyes!

Our garden centers are currently well-stocked with perennial edibles such as blueberries, strawberries and fruit trees (apples, cherries, pears) ready to be planted at home to help feed you and your family for years to come.