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Perennial Vegetables: From Artichokes to Zuiki Taro, A Gardener's Guide to Over 100 Delicious and Edibles Paperback – June 1, 2007
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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.
"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
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
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.
Unfortunately, the plants are listed alphabetically by latin name. That's it. There's not even a separate section for water garden plants. If you're specifically searching for perennial vegetables for your water garden (or trying to avoid them), you've no choice to but read each plant summary until you determine whether it grows in water or dirt.
Even the index makes life unnecessarily difficult. Say you're trying to find out what page Oca is on. You leaf through the index to Oca, and does it give you a page number? Nope, it tells you the latin name. Then you look up the latin name in the index, and it gives you the page number. I can't fathom why they couldn't be bothered to provide the page number along with the latin name on each common name in the index. It wouldn't have taken up any more space.
While most of the information in the book is pretty solid, the map of climate types should be taken with a grain of salt. The entire San Francisco Bay Area (even the scorchingly hot and dry East Bay) is listed as 'Cool Maritime', just like Seattle and Portland. Anyone who's familiar with the Bay Area can assure you that the climate is wildly different from the coastal Pacific Northwest, with a near inversion of the ratio of sunny to cloudy days, and very different heat and cold patterns. More simply, you can grow tropical plants in the bay area pretty easily, but it takes skill and patience to grow sub-tropicals in Seattle. Yet this book would have you use the same list of well-suited plants in Danville, CA and Bellevue, WA.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is well written, well researched and totally inspiring! The writer really has a deep passion for this subject as well as permaculture. Buy it!Published 3 months ago by Daesha vu
Perennial Vegetable Gardening by Eric Toensmeier
For those of us who want to garden, we usually want it to be as easy as possible requiring the least amount of time and... Read more
I bought the kindle version and the images are easy to see. The information is useful, well organized and inspiring. Absolutely worth the money. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Power Ball Pythons
If you are interested in fascinating plants that you never heard of before and you enjoy trying new unknown foods, this may be the perfect book for you. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Florida Mom
This book is both a great guide to getting started with perennial gardening for beginners, and a great resource book on where, when and how to plant and care for all manner of... Read morePublished 11 months ago by jwd990
wouldn't you want to know what you could plant around you in the yard if food started gettin scarce? Read morePublished 12 months ago by Robert T. Reed