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Perennial Vegetables: From Artichokes to Zuiki Taro, a Gardener's Guide to Over 100 Delicious and Easy to Grow Edibles
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Perennial Vegetables: From Artichokes to Zuiki Taro, a Gardener's Guide to Over 100 Delicious and Easy to Grow Edibles

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  675 ratings  ·  44 reviews
There is a fantastic array of vegetables you can grow in your garden, and not all of them are annuals. In Perennial Vegetables the adventurous gardener will find information, tips, and sound advice on less common edibles that will make any garden a perpetual, low-maintenance source of food.

Imagine growing vegetables that require just about the same amount of care as the fl
Paperback, 241 pages
Published May 16th 2007 by Chelsea Green Publishing Company
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Average rating 4.16  · 
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 ·  675 ratings  ·  44 reviews

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Start your review of Perennial Vegetables: From Artichokes to Zuiki Taro, a Gardener's Guide to Over 100 Delicious and Easy to Grow Edibles
Jul 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: growing, 2011
This book is fantastic. I got it from the library, but I can imagine referring to it frequently enough to justify buying it. I put off reading this book for a long time because I thought that it would be focused mostly on tropical plants that do well in, say, California. Or Florida. Places that get hours of heat that I can't even imagine. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the author accomodates all different climates and regions, with consideration for minimum and maximum temperatures, as ...more
Nov 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: eco-politics
I thought I had read most ideas about growing food already, but this is something different. The author introduces many unfamiliar perennial vegetables as well as the well-known asparagus and artichoke. He is quite right that perennial things are a lot less effort and require less watering than annual vegies. Very interesting and controversial ideas about growing weedy/invasive species.

Things I would like to try in my temperate climate are:

Water celery
Air potato
Turkish rocket - bunias
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent comprehensive guide to growing and using perennial vegetables, many of which are unknown to wider public.
Katarina Ross
Mar 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gardening
This is a great book to include in garden planning, particularly if you want to create a low maintenance garden. Toensmeier has compiled information for plants that will thrive and produce for several consecutive years. Although many of these are only annuals in the northern portions of North America, he makes a point of including hardier plants as well. The fact that he considers Canadian gardeners was definitely an aspect I appreciated.

Each plant description provides a map outlining where the
Betsy Dion
Jun 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
This book is great. The author has collected a list of perennial vegetables that can be grown in the US, and he describes their characteristics and uses. The advantage of perennial vegetables over annuals is that they often require less effort to grow, especially once they are established. Sounds good to me, a neglectful gardener. Some perennial vegetables that I would like to grow include: asparagus, ramps, potato onions, sunchoke/Jerusalem artichoke, and sorrel. There are some great edible aqu ...more
Apr 04, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People who want to grow a vegetable garden
Shelves: non-fiction
This book was informative, and easy to read and understand. I don't know anything about gardening but I found the book simple enough that it was not confusing, but at the same time it gave a lot of great info on veggies I now want to try and grow.
I loved that the book was clearly labeled and that each veggie had a picture to go along with it.
Sep 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Detailed and well organized.
A fair amount of the plants profiled here can only be grown as perennials in the southern US, but there is a good variety of plants for northern areas as well.
I appreciated the discussion of the issue of exotic invasives.
I'll refer to this again as I develop the garden at my new home.
Jan 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: food, gardening
Great resource. Some complain about the preponderance of tropicals, but that's life. I've been into growing edibles for years and learned a ton from this book. Plus there was a whole water garden component that I didn't expect and that was very interesting. Will be an on-going reference book for me and I look forward to experimenting with the perennials and those I can only try as annuals too.
Mar 26, 2012 rated it liked it
I definitely learned about some intriguing perennial vegetables that I had no idea would grow in our climate. Oh, let's be honest. I had no idea that they even existed. That said, I'm going to make sure I right a list down before I return this book to the library. I was a little disappointed that a lot of the vegetables he mentioned -wouldn't- grow in our climate, but there were still a lot of interesting tidbits and points to pick up from the rest of it. For example: I had no idea that asparagu ...more
Ian Young
Dec 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gardening
Good: Thorough reference with good plant information. Lots of common and uncommon species discussed. Generally pretty good growing information and some culinary information.

Bad: Seems a little dated. Some of the entries are listed more for the possibility of improved cultivars in the future, which isn't all that useful to a gardener looking to plant now (unless you are aiming to undertake an ambitious breeding program). Not comprehensive—I discovered a number of enticing options in the similar M
Adrian Alvarez
Feb 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Useful little book. The first half introduces perennial vegetables as a class of plant and goes over various ways to design them into your garden.

The second part was more interesting to me. It is a catalogue of plant profiles - the kind you end up referencing for years. What I especially liked was how Toensmeir organized the plants by family (eg Alliaceae: The Onion Family, Asteraceae: The Aster Family, etc). This makes the reference more practical because it guides one's design thinking.

I reco
Mar 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The first third of the book is just basic information, but the rest is wonderful profiles on other 100 perennial vegetables that you'll see mentioned in passing in lots of books. This is the book to turn to for more information. Read some highlights of Perennial Vegetables on my blog. ...more
Mar 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
The second section of this book, species profiles, is very useful. After reading it, my husband and I planted ostrich fern and Solomon's seal, both decorative, edible, native plants. Score.
This introduced me to all sorts of plants I had never heard of, and made me think of others in new ways. Another winner from Chelsea Green. I think I am going to buy this.
Joy Lanzendorfer
Jan 06, 2011 rated it liked it
I don't know about this book. Aside from the vegetables you already know about--asparagus, sweet potatoes, et. al--most of the plants he mentions are tropical or invasive. I did learn about a plant or two, but still, I guess there is a reason most people don't plant perennial vegetables.
Caitlin W.
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book gave a brief overview of many different perennial vegetables, which I thought sounded like they might make the daunting task of garden maintenance a little easier. A lot of the plants were not ones that I would be able to grow outdoors where I live (Michigan), but the little color-coded maps of growing zones that he added to each entry made it very easy to flip through the book and find ones that would be possible for me. This book seems like a good resource to start with.
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
I reread this book as I have just moved to a cold temperate climate and wanted to add as many perennials in my garden as possible. The author is impressively knowledgeable about the subject and the book is well organized. A great reference to have!
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a great read for permaculture planning, with fairly detailed profiles of quite a lot of edible perennials. I might want to reference it often enough to purchase it (I’m currently viewing a library copy).
Aug 01, 2017 rated it liked it
I skimmed this book and was impressed by the author's knowledge and food adventuresomeness.
I have a few perennial vegetable crops already (sorrel, sylvetta arugula, lovage), and I love how they keep on keeping on without much help from me.
But I was not inspired to track down, baby along (in my climate), and puzzle over how to cook these (mostly) unfamiliar vegetables.
Matthew Read
Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A wealth of food with a focus on temperate climates. 100 perennials.
Aug 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book full of all the information you'd ever want. Pair it with "Seed to Seed" and you'll be ready to take on any permaculture garden
Oct 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Lots of interesting ideas, but not enough information on any one thing to really drive me to go research it more and determine if i should add it to the garden.
Christina Zable
Jun 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gardening, food
Can you name a perennial vegetable? You probably know about asparagus. Another? Maybe you know artichokes are perennial (I didn't!) Another? Is rhubarb a vegetable?

This book has over 100 perennial vegetables. There are familiar and semi-familiar things I didn't know were perennial, like chayote and runner beans and shallots. There are lots of aquatic vegetables, with info on how to grow them -- water chestnuts, watercress, and lotus root among them. There are things I've never heard of -- South
John Chadwick
Toensmeier makes the case that poly-cultures of perennial vegetables, after proper planting, require no more attention and care than shrubs and can provide a renewable source of food year after year. Black Salsify [Scorzonera, a root crop] is one perennial I have planted this year and I'll reap the benefits yearly as their tender leaves growing from the base of the plant in early Spring yields a 'lettuce tasting leaf.' The plant then bolts in late Summer and dies off in late Fall, but survives t ...more
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gardening
Contains a rather large selection of plants. There is a nice infographic for each which shows which states it will grow at all/as an annual/as a perennial. This should be required for every plant database type book (and is the first time I recall seeing it).

I didn't learn about too many new plants and as such probably won't buy this as a resource (though I don't imagine there is a better book). I learned lovage is perennial. The other two plants I learned about I haven't seen in seed catalogs (
Mar 14, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: home, sustainability
This is a great collection of perennial vegetables. Most of them are tropical or subtropical, so they want lots of rich, moist soil. Not great for southern California, but even here I found half a dozen that will make good editions to the garden.
Feb 01, 2012 rated it liked it
I mostly skimmed this looking for things I could use in my garden. Maybe it's because I was skimming, but I didn't feel like it had a lot to offer my region. Still fun to think about landscaping in new ways.
Feb 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: garden-books
This is a well researched guide to growing perennial vegetables. It's really interesting how just how many things that will grow perennially here in the United States can be eaten. Very interesting book! If you are thinking of expanding your food growing means this book is an excellent reference.
Sep 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really like the book. I find that I can easily follow Eric's writing style and, thus, am much more able to understand his message. I really like to grow my own food and this book gives me many more species to try out in my own yard and on my own plate.
Jenn S
Mar 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: permaculture
Was great to open my mind about what other things I can grow that are like the annuals I value but are perennial and will grow on their own fairly well in my climate. Probably not a book that I would buy but definitely worth checking out.
Really good. High value read. I also watched the companion DVD [does not accompany the book].

This is wonderful for the number of species it introduces, and the regional indices. The "vegetable" definition here is a culinary one. (He doesn't canvass edible flowers. He briefly addresses fruits.)
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