I have been researching and growing perennial veggies since 2005 and blogging about how I do this for a couple of years. My aim has always been to be able to find out as much as I could and then to share it with as many people as possible. To this end I have also been writing a book about the veggies and the garden and am really happy to be able to say that this project is now in the final stages and the book will be published in November!
It describes how I started out on the project and how the principles of permaculture provide a foundation for everything that follows. It also contains:
- full descriptions of the best of the perennial vegetables that I have grown;
- how some other (normally annual) vegetables can also be grown as perennials;
- a few recipes with suggestions of how to use some of the unfamiliar veggies
- how to grow in polycultures – what they are and how to plan, implement and manage them;
- how to develop a living soil and a vibrantly healthy and bio diverse environment by following natural principles.
I began by planting a few experimental vegetables in a flower bed. As I tried to track down as many perennial vegetables as possible and try them all inevitably they started to take over! The first polyculture bed expanded outwards, then a section of the front lawn was taken up and other flower beds were hijacked. I made small polyculture beds in unlikely places to see what happened, eg in deep shade under trees; and planted some things in the hedges and edges of the garden. Having limited space I just made it up as I went along and everything was done in the spirit of experimentation.
Experience has shown that you don’t need much space, you don’t even need what are normally considered favourable conditions for vegetables – much of my garden is damp and shady. Perennial veggies are hardy and tolerant and once established they are happy to just get on with the business of growing without much attention.
I am increasingly convinced that perennial vegetables, grown in polycultures, have the potential to be very productive for minimal effort. Of course it does take a little time to get acquainted with new plants and new ways of doing things and for that reason I have tried to describe everything I do in as logical and detailed a way as possible. The book is my offering towards helping you to make the best use of both the land you have available and your time.
I am not an expert gardener, far from it. If I can do it anyone can! I hope that you will take a look at the advance information about the book which can be seen here on the Permanent Publications website:
If you are not familiar with Permanent Publications they have all kinds of fascinating books – well worth a browse. They also publish Permaculture Magazine which I really recommend subscribing to if you want to read inspirational articles about people undertaking all sorts of amazing projects.
And as it is getting towards March and like me no doubt you have your sights set on the forthcoming spring here is a picture from March last year showing lamb’s lettuce (front left), scorzonera emerging (back left) and a lovely allium paradoxum arching over with its delicate blooms.
I love the artwork in your book. I would like to buy some prints to frame. I especially love the Soil Web illustration(s). Are they available? I bought two books, hoping to be able to frame my favorite; but it’s divided at the binding. : ( I do hope your artist might make these available at a reasonable cost. I know I’ve seen others say the same thing on websites that promoted your book.
I have forwarded your request to Emma who did the drawings. She did a marvellous job for me, understanding and interpreting just what was needed and then drawing it fantastically well! I would be interested to know which websites you have seen comments on about wanting copies of drawings as they haven’t come to my attention. It is very nice to hear the feedback. Thank you.
Sounds good, have you considered also releasing it as an ebook?
It will be an ebook as well as a printed one.
Thanks very much for the positive comments all!
Just ordered it – can’t wait for it to arrive 🙂
Very Cool, Annie 🙂
Like Helen, I too am looking forward to seeing some of the polycultures that you have developed. I am starting a masters in perennial polyculture organic orcharding or as I like to call it P+POOing haha. Seeing what academics can bring to support this great practice.
Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing 🙂
Look forward to getting this when available. Especially pleased that you’ve taken account of shade. So many urban gardens have a very little properly sunny space, but garden writers tend to ignore this.