My book “Edible Perennial Gardening, Growing Successful Polycultures in Small Spaces” is published by Permanent Publications and can be ordered here. I realise that many people use Amazon for buying books and would just caution that Amazon does put the price up if a book is popular. The Recommended Retail Price is £15.95 but today (9th May 2021) the Amazon price is £36.35 – more than double the rrp. An alternative online bookstore – Hive – has a price of £10.95 and although the book is out of stock with them, in my experience they do deliver quickly if you put in an order anyway.
It details the results of my extensive research and experimentation with growing unusual vegetables as a way of providing food from the garden all year round with very little effort.
I wanted to find out if there was an easier way to grow vegetables than the conventional vegetable patch. I was looking for vegetables that would be easy to grow and taste good, even if they were initially unfamiliar. In addition I wanted to find out how I could grow them in ‘polycultures’. A polyculture is a mixture of plants each fulfilling a different purpose which is put grown together to create a mini ecosystem.
Whether it is spring, summer, autumn or even winter I always have something to eat growing in the garden. Mostly I grow perennial vegetables – so called because they remain in the garden from year to year. Currently many of these vegetables are unfamiliar to many people as they are not widely known or grown.
By utilising polycultures to grow perennial vegetables I have been able to develop a way to grow my own vegetables (and fruit) that takes very little time and effort and also boosts the biodiversity, health and fertility of the whole garden.
Alongside the perennial vegetables I grow herbs, flowers (including lots of wild flowers) and other plants to fulfil the various functions of a polyculture. I also grow some of the usual conventional annual vegetables like carrots, parsnips, beans and peas mixed into the polycultures.
This picture gives a flavour of a vigorous polyculture surging towards maturity (taken in August 2012).
I wrote the book to help other people who (like me) would like to grow more of their own food, but who don’t have much time or energy to do so. You don’t need a large plot to do this – my garden is a very average sized suburban plot and I began with a tiny part of it. Neither do you need a particularly sunny aspect – I have successfully used areas of the garden that are shady and damp which would never grow conventional vegetables.
Once the fundamental principles involved are grasped the way is open for all sorts of individualised approaches to implementing your own polyculture. This is quite unlike any kind of conventional gardening as you are starting on a journey to co-operate with nature and to discover how much bounty she can deliver.
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Great book, been raving about it to all my friends and shared your blog post on my FB page. I have used a few of the links at the end of your book to source my first edible perennial plants. Wish me luck 🙂
Thank you so much! It is great to have feedback from readers, especially when they have been inspired to start growing perennial veggies. Best wishes, Anni
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great to read your blog Anni, very informative. Thank you
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yes! what a great concept for gardening/foraging/sustainability that we can implement easily. Well done! ❤
Very much looking forward to reading this, it’s exactly what I need! I’ve been stumbling my way towards a polyculture way of growing over the last couple of years, but have many questions and much to learn. This sound perfect!