Midwest Perennial Vegetable Garden

Reader Contribution by Melodie Metje

If you are someone that doesn’t want to have to plant every year to have home grown fruits and vegetables, grow perennials! Believe it or not, perennial vegetables do exist. After you plant a perennial, it comes back year after year with no effort.

There is a long list of perennial vegetables, particularly greens. Many are hard to find the seed for or a starter plant. There are several that are easy to find, though! Spring or fall is a great time to plant any perennial.  Perennials are the first up in the spring.

Perennial Vegetables for Midwest Gardens

The perennial vegetables we currently grow in our Zone 6 Midwest garden:

French sorrel (good for soups, steamed or a salad green)
Blood-veined sorrel (striking salad green)
Chard (perennial if grown in a sheltered area)
Garden sorrel (soups, steamed or salad green)
Corn salad (salad green) **Radicchio (good steamed, roasted or a salad green)
Good King Henry (spinach relative, use as a salad green)
Salad burnet (taste somewhat like a Granny Smith apple, use fresh in salads)
Egyptian walking onion (use fresh for cooking or salads)

Potato onions (stores well)
Perennial kale (good steamed or as salad green)
Chives (salads or flavoring cream cheese, butter, sour cream, dips)
Arugula (peppery flavor, great for salads)
French, Italian and American dandelion (great for salads)
Daylily (flower buds can be eaten like green beans, flowers in salads)

Other popular perennial vegetables you may want to add are sea kale, rhubarb, lovage, groundnut, asparagus, artichokes, collards, or Jerusalem artichokes.

Most fruits are also perennials:

Apple, pear, cherry, peach, pawpaw and fig trees
Blueberry bushes
Grape, goji berry, passionflower, kiwi, raspberry and blackberry vines

Then there are the herbs.  Most herbs are perennials.  Here are ones we are growing.

ARP and Barbeque rosemary
Lemon balm
Winter savory

Eggplant, tomatoes, okra, and peppers are also perennials, but only in tropical areas. You can bring them indoors each winter and put them back out in the spring after all danger of a hard frost is past. You will get fruits a month earlier than starting with new plants. We brought in a potted cayenne pepper plant a couple of winters ago. It flowered and fruited up until January indoors and restarted flowering in May once outdoors.

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