8 reasons to grow and love perennials

8 reasons to grow and love perennials

Planting a garden is one of the joys of spring and summer, and while it’s great to have a garden full of tomatoes and cucumbers, there’s definitely something to be said for growing perennials, too.

In general, perennials tend to grow less densely and produce higher long-term yields than annuals. Also, instead of being plants that are uprooted or die year after year, perennials can create a year-round garden that is not only beneficial to you, but to local wildlife as well.

If you want to grow a more permanent, year-round perennial garden, check out these helpful OGP articles that walk you through the whats, whys, and hows of permaculture gardening.

1. Best for garden

Perennials grow less densely and produce more in the long run. They slowly create a deeper root system, which, unlike annuals, allows them to retrieve nutrients and water from deep within the Earth’s surface. This also helps greatly with erosion problems, which are exacerbated every time annual plants are uprooted. Perennial gardens have a longer life and are a virtual ecosystem, where plants, birds, insects, fungi and other animals can find their niche and achieve balance. Read on to learn the reasons why perennials are better for the gardener and gardener.

2. Perennials are greener

In sustainable agriculture, there is a real push to revitalize our food system in order to rely more on perennial food sources rather than the current annual buffet focused approach. Almost all of today’s major foods—corn, flour, rice, soybeans, tomatoes, etc.—are either annual crops, requiring planting every year, or are grown as such. For example, although tomatoes are technically perennials, they are tropical and will not survive winters outside of sticky heat, so they are replanted every year. Learn more about why food from perennial sources is greener than annual crops.

3. Winter

There is no doubt that perennials should be a part of every garden, whether they are gorgeous in bloom or delicious in flavour. Perennials require much less work from the gardener and gardener (soil) to grow, and they help stabilize the situation by acting as permanent residents. The perennial roots help prevent erosion by spreading throughout the soft soil of the garden. Perennial leaves help feed microbes and soil life, adding to the mulch, and they also discourage corrosive wind and rain. In addition, there is always something in the garden: many perennials germinate and bloom earlier than annuals, and most of the time they stay in the garden much longer than annuals. Some even keep flowers in winter. Learn how to help perennials survive the winter.

4. Edible perennials

As we move more toward sustainable food production, we will need to become more familiar with these perennial crops. Perennials are much less fussy than the annuals that our gardens tend to tend to. They help stabilize the soil (instead of tilling it), increase fertility (instead of consuming it), and provide years of harvest (instead of one year). Here are 12 perennials that provide plenty of food for years to come, are well-suited to the temperate U.S. climate, and can provide the gamut of flavors, from sweets to roasted root vegetables to bean pie.

5. Perennial herbs

Perennials, of course, are those that grow year after year without having to be replanted. Most supermarket vegetables, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and potatoes, are grown anew every year. This requires a lot of work and energy. As for perennial plants, a single plant can produce and live for years. A culinary herb garden smells wonderful. Attracts butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. They don’t take up much space, and generally speaking, culinary herbs grow so abundantly that one or two plants will provide enough for all the fresh and dried herbs a household needs. Read on to learn all about growing your own perennial culinary herb garden at home.

6. Perennial vegetables

Who doesn’t like fresh vegetables? If you’re the type of person who’s always on the lookout for the crispest produce in season, you might be interested in growing your own! If that’s the case, great. Today may be the day when home-cooked menus become more sophisticated and gardening becomes much easier. Growing perennial vegetables requires much less energy and resources than growing season after season. It’s even better for the environment than growing annual plants like tomatoes, cucumbers and squash. Here are 8 perennials for your vegetable garden that will provide you with years of fresh food!

7. Window box perennial plants

Edible perennials are the way of the future. These are plants that we can grow that produce food for many years, sometimes decades. What this means for growers is that we don’t have to go through the difficult germination process every year. This often means that more fresh, locally grown food will be available year-round. For those trying to produce food at home, especially in urban areas where containers play a big role, many can be grown next to sunny windows. There are a lot of annual crops that people are playing with in containers these days. It might be time to add some perennials to that urban garden. Here are 10 perennial food plants for containers in a sunny window.

8. Permaculture

Permaculture gardens mix all types of plants, including vegetables, fruit and nut trees, flowers and shrubs. One of the most important parts of developing a permaculture garden is achieving a healthy balance between perennials and annuals. Due to this enduring efficiency, food production in permaculture gardens pays special attention to these types of plants. While much of our supermarket produce — corn, lettuce, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc. — is not perennial, permaculture scientists are trying to reimagine the food system to rely on perennials. Check out these 10 perennial vegetables for your permaculture garden.

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