Many people focus on buying seeds and planting vegetables in spring. But some vegetables you only need to plant once, and they grow back every year! Here are some of those vegetables:
Asparagus is one of the most popular perennial vegetables. Gardeners plant asparagus crowns instead of seeds, as this is more successful. Be prepared to wait 1-2 years before harvesting the first tender spears.
But after that initial waiting period, an asparagus planting can produce tasty spears for 15 years or longer. This makes the wait worthwhile! Choose an all-male hybrid variety for the highest yield. Plant crowns in full sun and keep the soil weed-free and well-watered.
Ramps, also called wild leeks or wild garlic, are a unique perennial. They are often foraged in woodland areas but you can also add them to your own landscape. Ramps are very slow growing so buying bulbs will give faster results. Still, expect to wait a few years before being able to harvest.
These woodland plants like shady, damp areas with leaf litter as a protective mulch. Their garlicky flavor is mild when enjoyed raw in early spring. Take care not to confuse ramps with toxic look-alike plants.
Rhubarb is a cold-hardy perennial that keeps on giving. It sends up large green leaves and crimson-hued edible stalks for decades. Only the stalks are edible – the leaves are poisonous.
Rhubarb adapts well to any sunny spot with decent drainage. To get started, divide a neighbor’s overgrown plant or order root divisions. enjoy the tart stalks in everything from pie to shrub drinks.
The quirky-looking fiddleheads found at spring farmers markets are actually an edible perennial. They are the unopened fronds of ostrich ferns found growing along shaded streams and damp woods.
You can replicate this environment at home. Plant ostrich fern starts in moist, acidic soil and wait for the unique spirals to emerge each spring. Fiddleheads have an asparagus-like flavor when sauteed or pickled.
Not all onions are perennial, but some types will continue to grow year after year. These include bunching onions like scallions and green onions.
There are also small perennial bulb onions like shallots and Egyptian walking onions. Perennial onions are versatile in recipes like salads, stir fries, and savory pancakes. And there’s no need to replant each year!
Horseradish is grown mainly for its powerful spicy root, which has an intense flavor when grated fresh. The tall, leafy plant is hardy and trouble-free to grow.
For the easiest harvest, find a sunny, out-of-the-way spot with room for the roots to spread. Dig up lateral roots in fall and early winter to enjoy that signature sinus-clearing flavor.
More Unique Perennials
Some lesser known perennials include sunchokes (also called Jerusalem artichokes) which produce knobby tubers that can be cooked in various ways.
Garlic can also be grown as a perennial if some bulbs are left in the ground to regrow each year. The key to success with perennials is choosing the right plants for your climate and being patient those first few years. But once established, these plants will reward gardeners with years of harvests from a single planting.