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.
Foreword by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
Part 1 An introduction to perennial vegetables
Why grow perennial vegetables?
What is a perennial vegetable?
The case for growing perennials
2. Growing perennial vegetables
Types of perennial plant
Perennial tuber and root crops
Perennial vegetables and ground-cover plants
Growing perennial vegetables under existing trees
Growing aquatic perennial vegetables
Native and non-native plants
3. Maintenance of perennial vegetables
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 last 25 years – he has worked for the Yarner Trust in North Devon, teaching small-scale organic agriculture; grown food for a small hotel on the Isle of Iona; restored the walled gardens of a manor house in mid-Devon; and run his own organic market garden and tree nursery in South Devon.
His experience led him to the concept of forest gardening as a sustainable system that can flourish in our changing climate conditions, and it was this that led to the founding of the Agroforestry Research Trust in 1992, a non-profit-making charity that researches into temperate agroforestry and all aspects of plant cropping and uses, with a focus on tree, shrub and perennial crops. At his 2-acre forest garden in Dartington, Devon, planted 15 years ago, Martin systematically researches plant interactions and unusual crops. He also runs a commercial tree nursery specialising in unusual trees and shrubs, and has an 8-acre 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. His book Creating a Forest Garden – the forest gardening ‘bible’ – was published in 2010. His other books include Cherries: Production and Culture, Directory of Apple Cultivars, Directory of Pear Cultivars, Peaches and Apricots, Plums: Production, Culture and Cultivar Directory, Currants and Gooseberries, Blackberries and Raspberries, Chestnuts: Production and Culture, Hazelnuts: Production and Culture, Walnuts: Production and Culture, Bamboos, Ground Cover Plants, Nitrogen-fixing Plants for Temperate Climates, Timber Trees for Temperate Climates, Edible Plants for Temperate Climates,Useful Plants for Temperate Climates, Plants for Hedging, Plants for Basketry, Bee Plants and Dye Plants. His latest book, How to Grow Perennial Vegetables, was published in 2012.
He is a director of ‘Gaia’, a Trust formed by James Lovelock to further his work. He lives in Dartington with his wife and two children.
See www.agroforestry.co.uk for more information.