Plant No-Pamper Perennial Crops

Plant perennial crops such as asparagus, rhubard, dandelions, bamboo, jerusalem artichokes, Egyptian onions and day lilies.

| March/April 1978

  • Strawberry Rhubarb
    Stalks from a strawberry rhubarb patch where the flowers have begun to develop on top of the plant.
    TOM EARL
  • Dandelion Field
    Cultivating your own dandelions is easy and one of the most rewarding perennial crops because the leaves, crowns, and roots of a dandelion may all be eaten.
    TOM EARL
  • Asparagus Spears
    Washed and bundled asparagus spears, just like you can find at the market, only these came from a homesteader's garden.
    PHOTO: TOM EARL
  • Bamboo Shoots
    Bamboo shoots are delicious if picked (soon after they push up through the ground) and added to salads or sauteed in butter.
    TOM EARL
  • Egyptian Onion
    A bed of Egyptian onions which produce little bulbs that can be harvested year after year from the plant's tall stalks.
    TOM EARL
  • Jerusalem Artichokes
    A crop of tubers produced by Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes) is very plentiful since they have a tendency to take over gardens.
    FOTOLIA/OLEGD
  • Day Lilies
    The common day lily is usually only planted as an ornamental, but as the Chinese and Japanese know, its shoots, buds, flowers, and tubers are very edible.
    TOM EARL

  • Strawberry Rhubarb
  • Dandelion Field
  • Asparagus Spears
  • Bamboo Shoots
  • Egyptian Onion
  • Jerusalem Artichokes
  • Day Lilies

Thanks to today's escalating food costs, shortages and the growing concern over the multitude of chemical additives now found in supermarket produce, gardening is booming as never before. Perhaps you've joined the "homegrown is better" movement yourself.

But have you graduated yet from a total preoccupation with annual vegetables — carrots, corn, radishes, beans, etc. — that must be planted and laboriously tended every year? If not, it's time you moved on up to some perennial crops such as asparagus, rhubarb, dandelions, bamboo, Jerusalem artichokes, Egyptian onions and other lilies (onions, you know, belong to the lily family) such as the day lily itself.

Growing Asparagus

Asparagus, in the opinion of many people, is the "choicest of the choice" of all the spring vegetables. I'll agree with that. But what I really like about the plant is the fact that — once established — an asparagus bed will just keep on filling your plate with its early spring spears for 20 years or more!

This perennial thrives best when grown in areas where the winters are cold enough to freeze the ground to a depth of at least 5 inches. Roughly, that means anywhere in the continent from upper Georgia north.



Plant asparagus in sandy soil that receives six to eight hours of direct daily sunlight during the summer. A 20-foot-square bed away from trees and shrubs will feed a family of five, and if care is taken to get the patch off to a good start, it'll feed that family for the next two decades.

Of the three methods of planting asparagus — bed, row or trench — the last seems to be preferred by most gardeners. Dig your trench at least 15 inches deep and preferably in the fall for a spring planting. Then line the bottom of the ditch with manure and other natural fertilizers to tease the asparagus roots downward, and cover with 4 to 6 inches of rich garden loam that has been mixed with sand, compost, bone meal and some lime. (Asparagus prefers a slightly acid soil with, say, a pH between 6.4 and 6.8.)






Mother Earth News Fair Schedule 2019

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: February, 16-17 2019
Belton, TX

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!

LEARN MORE








Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).


Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters