Most of us are familiar and comfortable with the favored summer crops; tomatoes, zuccs and cucs, maybe some pole beans or peppers. They are accessible and fairly easy to grow, and I would not skip these for the world. What many people are unaware of is the perennial fruits and vegetables that we plant once and harvest from again and again, year over year. Asparagus, Egyptian Walking Onions, Tree Kale, Herbs, Strawberries, Blueberries, Grapes, Goose, Black and Raspberries. And there are many more.
If the bones of the garden are returning perennials, we just have to tuck our lettuces in when the weather gets a little warmer, and our summer favorites when it really heats up and the days are long. And later, once we see what we can manage, we might be adding in a few rounds of potatoes, sweet potatoes, some broccoli or fennel.
You will learn from a trial's success or even the failures. Confidence grows from one steady foot in front of the other. Unsure? Use the internet or garden books at the library to find what garden zone you are in and how long your season is (last frost in spring to first frost in fall). Use on-line seed companies to find varieties you'd like to try and they will provide all the pertinent growing info too. Try the radish raw and roasted with garlic and oil, and then let some flower and go to seed. Try eating the seed pods (delicious). Try nasturtium flowers and leaves in your salad for a spicy upgrade. And keep on adding into your soil and onto your palate. Ask neighbors what they like or share some grapes with a friend. And suddenly, you look up and realize, you'd learned something and found a trust in nature and in yourself.
It's a beautiful thing.
- By Jenny Folk
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