27 April 2008

Perennial Vegetables by Eric Toensmeier

This may be the next must have book for anyone who enjoys growing vegetables.

"Perennial Vegetables" by Eric Toensmeier, published by Chelsea Green Publishing. The subtitle is From Artichokes to Zuiki Taro, A Gardener's Guide to Over 100 Delicious, Easy-to-Grow Edibles.

Tempted yet?
Toensmeier says that these 100 edibles are as easy to grow as any flowers you currently have in your perennial beds and borders and that they produce veggies all season.

Toensmeier's biography includes: Board member, Nuestras Raices; librarian forNew England Small Farm Institute; author, "Edible Forest Gardens: A Delicious and Practical Ecology"; teaches ISE course on “sustainable design”. Toensmeier also founded and operated Perennial Vegetable Seed Company.

Toensmeier explains how to raise, tend, harvest, and cook with plants that yield great crops and satisfaction.

OK so that's great. So, what's new?

Here are some of the foodstuffs he recommends we grow to eat - Plantain, Onion, Amaranth, Celeries, Asters (chicory, globe artichoke, Okinawa spinach, sunchoke), Malabar spinach, Cabbage (kale, broccoli, Turkish rocket and arugula), Curcurbitaceae (cucumber and Chayote), Yam family, Euphorbiacae/Spurge, Fabacaea/Pea (Hyacinth bean, water mimosa, perennial beans), Breadfruit, Solanaceae (ground cherry, peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes), etc.

Plant seed sources are provided, too. Since I think it is best to buy from seed companies as local as possible, or at least close to our horticultural zone, I'll list them for you.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, G & N Ramp Farm, HCR in Arkansas, Plant Delights Nursery, Sand Hill Preservation Center, Seed Savers Exchange, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.

Then there are several foreign suppliers he used when learning about perennial veggies.

Each plant covered in the book has a map with it showing where in the U.S. the plant is most likely to be perennial.

I can't wait to dig into this book and discover new edibles for our garden and table.

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