Perennial vegetables are a joy to grow and require a lot less time and effort than annuals. In this book Martin Crawford gives comprehensive advice on all types of perennial vegetable (edible plants that live longer than three years), from ground-cover plants and coppiced trees to plants for bog gardens and edible woodland plants.
There are many advantages to growing perennial vegetables, for example:
- they need less tillage than conventional vegetables and so help retain carbon in the soil
- the soil structure is not disturbed in their cultivation
- they extend the harvesting season, especially in early spring
- and, of course, they are much less work.
Part One looks at why and how to grow these crops, and how to look after them for maximum health.
Part Two features over 100 perennial edibles in detail, both common and unusual – from rhubarb to skirret; Jerusalem artichoke to nodding onions. This book offers inspiration and information for all gardeners, whether experienced or beginner, and also includes plenty of cooking tips. It includes beautiful colour photographs and illustrations throughout.
This lovely book makes it clear that we are not just missing a trick, we are missing a feast. From the foreword by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, cookery author and broadcaster
This book leads us down the path to a wealth of perennial vegetables and tells us how to combine them successfully. Anne Swithinbank, gardening author and broadcaster
A really useful book...Let us free ourselves from the tyranny of the annual sowing, thinning and planting regime. Bob Flowerdew, gardening author and broadcaster
Perennial vegetables are a joy to grow. They:
• Need little attention
• Extend the harvesting season
• Are great for beneficial insects.
• Are delicious and nutritious
This book gives comprehensive advice on how to grow and care for both common perennial vegetables like rhubarb and, Jerusalem artichokes and unusual edible plants such as coppiced trees and aquatic plants.
With plenty of cooking tips, colour photographs and illustrations throughout and an A-Z of over 100 perennial edibles, it is an inspiration for all gardeners.
Martin Crawford has written widely on permaculture and forest gardening and runs a nursery where he cultivates the perennial, forest garden and permaculture plants mentioned in this book.
Foreword by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
Part 1 An introduction to perennial vegetables
1. Why grow perennial vegetables?
- What is a perennial vegetable?
- The case for growing perennials
2. Growing perennial vegetables
- Types of perennial plant
- Perennial beds
- Planting patterns
- Perennial polycultures
- Perennial grains
- Perennial tuber and root crops
- Perennial vegetables and ground-cover plants
- Forest gardens
- Growing perennial vegetables under existing trees
- Growing aquatic perennial vegetables
- Native and non-native plants
3. Maintenance of perennial vegetables
- Soil pH
- Disease management
- Harvesting and yields
Part 2 Perennial vegetables A–Z
Appendix: Common and Latin names
“A lot of information is packed into a relatively short space… Lots of the plants listed were new to me entirely, or as an edible possibility. Now I’m not only thinking where edible perennials may fit on my allotment, but also in my garden too! This is an informative and detailed book, which I shall be returning to again and again.”
"This lovely book makes it clear that we are not just missing a trick, we are missing a feast."
"I admire tremendously the first-hand experience which informs Martin Crawford's writing. This book leads us down the path to a wealth of perennial vegetables and tells us how to combine them successfully."
"A really useful book... Let us start freeing ourselves from the tyranny of the annual sowing, thinning and planting regime."
"At last an in-depth book on perennial vegetables combined with Martin Crawford's usual diligence of research - essential reading."
“Martin is a true pioneer and his work deserves respect and celebration.” - Permaculture Magazine
“Martin Crawford is a frontiersman, a pioneering teacher and an inspiration. Both his work and his garden are national treasures.” - Chris Nichols, Director of the Ashridge MSc in Sustainability and Responsibility.
Martin started his working life a computer programmer but his passion for organic gardening quickly led to a change in career. He has had broad and varied horticultural/agricultural experience over the years – experience that led him to the concept of forest gardening as a sustainable system that can flourish in our changing climate conditions. This led to the founding of the Agroforestry Research Trust, a non-profit-making charity that researches temperate agroforestry and all aspects of plant cropping and uses, with a focus on tree, shrub and perennial crops. At his forest garden in Dartington, Devon, Martin systematically researches plant interactions and unusual crops. He also runs a commercial tree nursery specialising in unusual trees and shrubs, and has a large trial site, researching fruit and nut trees.
Martin teaches courses on Forest Gardening and Growing Nut Crops, writes books and edits a quarterly journal, Agroforestry News.