I’ve confessed before that my enthusiasm for gardening usually dies on the vine long before the first cucumbers of summer are ready to harvest. I’m always looking for easy ways to satisfy my green thumb and, of course, ways to get the most broccolis for my gardening buck. That’s why I’m a big fan of growing perennial vegetables in my gardenplant them once, and enjoy the fruits (well, actually, vegetables) of your labors for years to come.
I’ll always remember when the UPS man delivered a mysterious, rather dirty looking box to our new home the first spring we lived here. The box was carefully packed with damp sphagnum moss, the packaging material of choice for shipping the sacred Yeager Roots, a housewarming gift from my parent.
Other families pass down jewelry or antique furniture, but for the Yeager clan, the holy triumvirates of family heirlooms are root starts of asparagus, horseradish, and rhubarb. They are the direct descendants of the original Yeager Roots, dating back at least to my great-grandparents, andfamily legend has itmuch, much further. After all, my great-great-grandmother was a Lungfish (that was her maiden name, not her species, mind you). But I digress.
Althoughunlike fruitsthere aren’t too many vegetables that are perennials, many of the ones that do exist grow in a wide range of climates and, once established, are low-maintenance enough even for a lazy gardener like me. They’re also among the healthiest veggies for you, and they’re generally inexpensive to purchase, if you don’t come from a family with its own royal roots line. Here are my personal eight great perennial vegetables:
Grows best in full sun and non-soggy, somewhat sandy soil. I like it cut into one-inch pieces and stir fried raw with sesame oil and a little sliced ginger (top with toasted sesame seeds). Or, brush with olive oil and crushed garlic and grill whole spears on the bar-b.
* Bamboo Shoots
We have a good sized stand of bamboo that was on the property when we moved here, so I guess bamboo will be my contribution to the lineage of Yeager Roots. Not all varieties of bamboo shoots are edible (or tasty), so do your homework first. We boil ours to remove the bitterness, then sauté them in butter and a little sherry or sweet vermouth for flavor. Also, be advised that many varieties of bamboo are highly invasive and can be toxic if eaten in large amounts.