The food that takes years to grow


In growing food, annuals and perennials require very different kinds of attention. The seedlings we’re starting indoors might get most of our day-to-day love (for example, we realized that the homemade potting soil we’d mixed was somewhat lacking in nutrients, so we had to give our little guys a shot of fish emulsion to keep them progressing), but our homestead includes perennials and fruit trees, too. These carry their own brand of excitement at this time of year.

The pear trees are leafing out nicely, looking hopeful. We just planted them last year, so we’re not expecting fruit anytime soon.

The fig and two paw paws, also planted a year ago, have no leaves yet, but should soon. It’s great knowing the paw paws are natives to this area–makes us feel like they can probably take care of themselves.

We have a few herbs in different stages of maturity. Here’s some newly greened-up oregano, with non-perennial (but very promising!) garlic in the background. (The rocks are perennials.)

And now for the main attractions:

Asparagus plants! We bought these at Edible Landscaping and they’ll go in the ground soon. Once they’re mature we figure on harvesting about nine pounds of asparagus per year. Um, that should be enough.

And…strawberries! A friend dug these up from her overgrown patch and I’m trying to figure out the best spot to put them. I hope we’ll get some fruit this year, but if not I’ll happily anticipate it in 2012. That’s the beauty of perennials: Time rolls along, and your work starts to pay off.

What’s your favorite perennial to grow?