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Perennial Vegetables: From Artichokes to Zuiki Taro, A Gardener's Guide to Over 100 Delicious and Easy to Grow Edibles Paperback – May 16, 2007


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Frequently Bought Together

Perennial Vegetables: From Artichokes to Zuiki Taro, A Gardener's Guide to Over 100 Delicious and Easy to Grow Edibles + Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, 2nd Edition + The Resilient Farm and Homestead: An Innovative Permaculture and Whole Systems Design Approach
Price for all three: $62.31

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing (May 16, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931498407
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931498401
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 7.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,070 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Part of the allure of perennial gardening is the fact that a gardener can plant something once and enjoy it for several years, a benefit that has rarely been extended to vegetable gardeners. Save for such stalwarts as asparagus and rhubarb, most edible crops can be used only annually. Thanks to Toensmeier, gardeners need no longer be frustrated by such limitations. From air potatoes to water celery, Turkish rocket to Malabar gourd, there are more than 100 new species of edible plants. After addressing such cultural basics as site selection and preparation, Toensmeier explains why each plant is an excellent perennial vegetable crop. Now that such items are making their way onto trendy restaurant menus and health-store shelves, Toensmeier's groundbreaking guide is destined to become the bible for this new class of edible gardening. Carol Haggas
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

Booklist-
Part of the allure of perennial gardening is the fact that a gardener can plant something once and enjoy it for several years, a benefit that has rarely been extended to vegetable gardeners. Save for such stalwarts as asparagus and rhubarb, most edible crops can be used only annually. Thanks to Toensmeier, gardeners need no longer be frustrated by such limitations. From air potatoes to water celery, Turkish rocket to Malabar gourd, there are more than 100 new species of edible plants. After addressing such cultural basics as site selection and preparation, Toensmeier explains why each plant is an excellent perennial vegetable crop. Now that such items are making their way onto trendy restaurant menus and health-store shelves, Toensmeier's groundbreaking guide is destined to become the bible for this new class of edible gardening.

(Carol Haggas)

"This book is itself a perennial polyculture of multipurpose plants. Toensmeier's adventurous yet sober palate blends with his observant eye and plant-geek mind to yield a varied harvest that should produce for years to come. He is an enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide for explorations of this largely unmapped territory. Let's hope gardeners everywhere follow his lead and join the fun!"--Dave Jacke, coauthor Edible Forest Gardens



"That there are more perennial vegetables than asparagus is no surprise, but that there are more than 100 species we North American gardeners can choose from is news. Toensmeier's Perennial Vegetables, the first comprehensive guide to growing them, will have all of us reexamining our plans for next year's vegetable plot." --Karan Davis Cutler, author of Burpee—The Complete Flower Garden



"Eric Toensmeier has comprehensively filled a huge gap in the sustainable landscape. Perennial Vegetables lets you put away your tiller, and covers everything you need to grow, harvest, and eat vegetables and greens that will keep coming back year after year."--Toby Hemenway, author of Gaia's Garden



"Toensmeier's knowledge of edible plants is impressive and inspiring. His excitement for a sustainable landscape helps us focus away from buying food to harvesting it naturally. Perennial Vegetables offers an excellent range of edible plants for long-term cultivation and enjoyment."--Ellen Ecker Ogden,co-founder of The Cook's Garden seed catalog, author of From the Cook's Garden



"Growing perennial vegetables is a true pleasure. This fine book gives the knowledge to successfully add variety to both the garden and the table while also enhancing the home environment."--Miranda Smith, author of The Plant Propagator's Bible and Complete Home Gardening


More About the Author

Eric Toensmeier has studied and practiced permaculture since 1990. He has spent much of his adult life exploring edible and useful plants of the world and their use in perennial agroecosystems. He is the author of Perennial Vegetables and co-author of Edible Forest Gardens with Dave Jacke. Both books have received multiple awards. Eric ran an urban farm project for Nuestras Raíces in Holyoke Massachusetts, providing access to land for Latino and refugee beginning farmers and serving as a cultural agritourism destination. His urban homestead is a model of how to apply permaculture to a small space with poor soils. Eric is fluent in English, Spanish, and Botanical Latin, and has taught permaculture and food forestry in Spanish in Mexico and Guatemala. His writings, videos and more can be viewed at www.perennialsolutions.org.

Customer Reviews

I heartily recommend the book.
Gregory L. Glover
A map is included for each species, showing where it will grow as a perennial and where it can be grown as an annual.
P. Meadows
The layout of the book is easy to read, with very good pictures.
Mthomson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

147 of 150 people found the following review helpful By P. Meadows on July 27, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I very seldom buy new books, and even more seldom buy books as expensive as this. But I had a $25 Amazon gift certificate, so I went ahead and bought it, and I'm very glad I did.

The first section of the book is useful information on growing perennial vegetables (and other perennials, for that matter), and on landscaping using these plants, many of which have great ornamental value.

Part Two is a listing of each of the more than 100 (I didn't count) perennial vegtables, with information on each species. About half the listed plants have quite extensive growing information, and about half have shorter descriptions. A map is included for each species, showing where it will grow as a perennial and where it can be grown as an annual. Toensmeier has not included plant 'thugs' such as kudzu or Japanese knotweed, and warns the reader if any of the other plants may naturalize.

The author's inclusions of certain species (as vegetables) may be slightly questionable: we are more apt to think of them as fruit or as herbs, for example, rhubarb and lovage. (However, my daughter cooks a lot of Persian food, and uses rhubarb as a vegetable in a meat and vegetable stew.) Also, this book will be of even more use to people who live in a warmer climate than I do (northern Pennsylvania in the mountains, with Zone 4 weather). I actually already grow four of the vegetables in the book: rhubarb, lovage, Good King Henry, and sorrel. I discovered some others that I'll definitely try - two of which I had never even heard of before. Those who live considerably further south than I will find a wealth of species to try.

The book is well written, and carefully edited.
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113 of 115 people found the following review helpful By Lucky Maria on December 29, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As other reviewers have noted this really isn't that helpful a book if you live in a cold climate gardening zone. For my zone, 7, I counted only 38 perennials and many of those were actually from the same family, for example two different kinds of sorrel.

Anyone with gardening experience probably knows most of the common vegetables listed, like asparagus, rhubarb, jerusalem artichoke and many of the perenial herbs.
If you want a coffee table book about interesting or exotic species that will grow in Hawaii or parts of Florida then this is the book for you but for serious 4 season gardeners it just wasn't that useful.
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51 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Gregory L. Glover on December 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
If you are a gardener interested in sustainability, the "holy grail" must be a more-or-less stable perennial polyculture. (See Wes Jackson's work with perennial grains at The Land Institute: e.g., Becoming Native to This Place or Consulting the Genius of the Place: An Ecological Approach to a New Agriculture, for example.) In other words, you want a garden that mimics nature. The problem is that most of our food gardens are the opposite: we grow lots of annuals, mostly of a very few varieties. That is why, if you are anything like me, you already know what artichokes are--and even the difference between artichokes and Jerusalem artichokes--but you may never have heard of 'Zuiki' Taro or any of the "Over 100 Delicious, Easy-to-Grow Edibles" heralded by Eric Toensmeier's subtitle. His goal is to introduce people who garden for food to 100+ new food crops, all perennials. He wants to ring the changes on perennial vegetables from A to Z! Does he succeed? Yes, in my opinion he does.
Most of these plants I have never grown or tasted, or even seen with any recognition! And that is what is so exciting. I cannot wait to devote sections of my garden to this new (to me) kind of vegetable next year. Already I grow lots of perennial fruit, so the addition of perennial vegetables is only natural. The key questions, it appears, will be where to find good varieties of the vegetables Toensmeier names ("Only a small number of nurseries and seed companies offer even the best perennial vegetables!") and whether I agree that they are palatable.
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Michael Dougherty on March 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
I have spent a lot of time with this book. It is very well done and the standard of excellence is very high. Like many, I think we face the real possibility of having to be largely self-reliant as many different global crises converge, water, oil, climate change, etc. The antidote to despair is getting busy and one of the very best core strategies is to plant perennial vegetables and do edible landscaping.

As noted above, not only is this book very thorough and very complete, it will point the reader to seed, plant, and other resources to implement their ideas. I consider it a master work and far more valuable than its very reasonable price. Get it, it will be one cornerstone of your self reliance toolkit.
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77 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Laurie J. Neverman on July 13, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an interesting book with nice photos, but of limited use to me here in USDA zone 5. Most of these plants require much warmer weather than I have, and from those I have grown, I'd say that while some may be easy enough to grow there are reasons they're not in widescale commercial production.

Take the sunchoke, or Jerusalem artichoke, for instance. It's currently growing like a weed in a corner of my garden from six tubers I planted last year. I thought I had dug up the majority of what had grown last year - apparently not from the volume of new growth that sprouted this year. A friend of mine told me he had had a patch that got completely out of control before he mowed it into submission and gave up on harvesting it. I found the tubers really didn't have much taste until after frost, which meant there was only a narrow window available for harvest in the late fall/early winter before the ground froze but not completely. They are small and knobby and a pain to peel, and don't store all that well once they've been dug up out of the ground. All in all, easy to grow but not easy to use and certainly as likely as not to become a pest in the garden. I've tried New Zealand Spinach, too, and I'd have to say it was not very tasty - very tough and bitter. I'm glad it didn't survive the winter.

So, while it's a lovely coffee-table book and an interesting conversation piece, I'd say it's "buyer beware" on the actual "veggies" featured in the book itself.
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