Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Perennial Foods

Today we're leaving Kentucky and traveling to Virginia.  I'll be working on a post about my current-favorite-vansteader-cooking-method.  So today I'm *finally* *really* *truely* going to make the long-in-coming "perennial foods" post.... now.

This is the one of the vansteader gardening methods I intend to start this spring.  

Perennial herbs, vegetables, fruits and legumes can be planted *once* and enjoyed for many seasons to come.  First, I need to know which plant hardiness zone I intended to grow my plant in:

I'll be planting in zone 8B. The following is my list (in progress) of desirable perennial plants, herbs, and trees:


Onions (there are several desirable varieties of perennial onions)
Sweet Potato


***I'll list the specific varieties once I decide upon them.

I'll need to check each perennial variety to make certain they'll grow in zone 8b (some have already been eliminated from the list).

Once I have my list of perennial plants, I'll be able to start the seedlings indoors in early spring.  When they get large enough, I'll be using the guerrilla gardening technique of planting them along one of my favorite trails (out of sight). The area I'll be planting in does have enough rain that they won't need supplemental water.  These unattended plants should provide food for years to come. I'll also be planting my "annual" non-hybrid squash varieties in this fashion.  I'll be able to harvest while taking a bike ride, when staying in one of my favorite areas.

I do need to be careful about the areas I'm planting in... I don't want to introduce invasive species into a protected or native planting area. I also need to be watchful of private property.

The companion post to this one will be on non-hybrid seeds. Year before last, I collected my non-hybrid seeds and will be able to plant them in my community garden patch as a complement to the perennial food plants.


  1. I love the idea Heidi and it's grea tif there are a few places you visit regularly. You can always have a free/cheap, fresh, organic food supply when you arrive. I love it.

  2. P.S. One must remember the proper accoutrements when doing the actual gardening, good cammo fatigues and well applied blackout facepaint ;) gotta get in the spirit of the thing, non? lol. Ok, off on the Seattle trip now.

  3. I love this post so much...and I love the guerrilla gardening method, thanks so much for sharing this Heidi..will be starting on my list shortly and will post about it :)

    A great topic indeed!

  4. Hi Heidi! WHile I love the idea of guerrilla gardening, I've not seen much success in what you are proposing. From my own gardening experience, there are very few plants that can be planted and left alone in the wild and flourish. Garden vegetables have been bred over centuries to develop many favorable characteristics, but many of them are very heavy feeders, or have shallow roots, or don't compete well with grasses or other native plants. There is a world of difference between wild varieties and cultivated ones. Even hardy fruit trees can often require a few years of help to get established, (unless they germinate in place from seed.) Also, setting the plants free on the side of a trail or in the wilderness also provides access to the animals, and I think every plant you listed is high on the list of desirable plants for both deer and rabbits, not to mention the insects. A lot of people thinks it's possible because of coming across an old rhubarb plant, asparagus stand, or apple tree on an abandoned farm. But remember, those plants had many years of help to get established, and only because of a huge root structure are they able to fight off the grasses, or not die off from being eaten to the ground by animals. I'm not generally a doom and gloom kind of guy (I do see hope for the mint, horseradish, and blackberries, all of which tend to be invasive when happy) but I'd highly recommend finding a friends safe back yard to invest in your gardening endeavors, or the community garden as you mentioned. If food crops were really that easy to grow on the side of the road, there would be no need for farmers in the world. I look forward to your posts :)

  5. Thanks for all you comments... I really appreciate them!

    W.O. I'm really glad you brought up all the points you did... I've thought about these things a great deal. These are going to be issues - more so in other areas than where I intend to plant. The specific area of the olympic Peninsula I'll be planting in has about perfect rainfall for gardening. The area is busy enough with bicycles and joggers that I think it may keep the deer away. However, I don't think the plants will be noticed if only a few feet off the trail. My unfenced garden in this area (year before last) was not touched by deer because of dogs in the area... I could also plant on the same trail, but close to an area with dogs. The plants will be fed when I harvest. Since this is a regular exercise path for me, I think I'll be able to tend to them just as I would any other garden. These are just some of the thoughts that need to go into a guerilla gardening plan. It will be interesting to see what happens. Thanks Walking Onion! :)