Planting edible perennials increases food system resilience. It is better for our soil and our health. It also makes our work in the garden a lot easier.
Perennial edibles are the type of plants that often get a bad rap. In the popular quest for ultimate control and perfectly manicured gardens, perennial edibles are willfull, wild, resilient & unruly rebels!
When it comes to food security increasing the amount of perennial food you grow is the smart thing to do. Basically, If you want a lot of food, plant perennials.
Perennials food is also better for our soil, nutritional diversity and they increase and protect biodiversity (at present only 12 plant species account for 70% of nutrition (ProSpezieRara Germany 2014)). In just the last century, we have lost 75% of our edible plant varieties. When you look around a supermarket, this becomes quite apparent, but we can do something about it. Cultivating local hardy perennial food helps to protect our food heritage. (source)
Plant it once and enjoy for years!
I’ve got to tell you, as we toiled in the garden all day planting vegetable seeds, it was thrilling to walk around and see all of this perennial food just growing and thriving without needing any attention from us.
Some of the perennials we grow are cultivated varieties including rhubarb, horseradish, raspberries, herbs and blackberries. Other types are wild local foods that we’ve learned to identify such as fiddleheads, chickweed, and burdock.
As we experience the benefits of perennial food, we begin to seek out more options for the garden. We do this for all the reasons I’ve mentioned plus, perennial food is nutrient dense and good for us. It is also less work to grow perennials. In many cases, you plant it once and enjoy for years with minimal to no effort. This gives us peace of mind because we’d like to live on our homestead for the rest of our lives. Having well-established gardens is a bit of an old age insurance policy for us as well.