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What perennial fruits/veggies do you have in your garden? I've got lots of herbs and 6 kinds of strawberries and thinking about perennial onions, asparagus, raspberries & blueberries. Any other suggestions that you personally love?
Lots of herbs! Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, asparagus, groundnuts, jerusalem artichoke, horseradish, wintergreen. Trees and large shrubs: Figs, asian pears, apples, pawpaw, english walnuts, persimmons, jujube, hazelnuts, trifoliate orange, crabapple & quince. The last three are not really for eating.
Also I encourage various wild edibles, and there are quite a few ornamentals (like hosta and daylilies) that are edible in my landscape although I am more likely to trade any extras with I divide them than eat them!
I'm adding maypop, Camellia sinensis (tea) and artichokes this year.
If it's cool enough to have success with raspberries you may be able to plant rhubarb. I'd get some at the store and try it first; you either like it or not. Asparagus doesn't provide much food for the space if you are tight for room. If you have a sunny area where they won't overrun something else you have, jerusalem artichokes are pretty, native and provide a whole lot of good tasting tubers.
Great topic and I think both of you are doing well.
NicoleC, I love hearing about all your trees. I have room to put in a small tree in the corner of our yard -- any thoughts on what might be a good one to choose? One that doesn't get very tall would be ideal, so as not to shade out too much.
I only have a few things planted:
strawberries (first year)
I also have hyssop growing, which apparently is edible and can be used in a variety of ways, and it's a lovely spring flower that comes back every year. I haven't actually tried to use it though.
Might I suggest ginger? That's one I would like to grow. If you try it, bear in mind that I read somewhere that not all ginger is edible.
Someone in our extended neighborhood has grown grapes successfully. That's another one that is intriguing. I kept one growing for a couple of years but then it died. I can't remember why (cold? forgot to water?). But I might like to try again.
I hope others post with their suggestions and successes.
Peaches/nectarines and European plums are self-fruitful, but will have more limited fruit production grown alone. You could also go with a tree with multiple varieties grafted on on one root so it pollinates itself. These are usually apples or plums. Or, you could espalier a couple of trees up against each wall. All of these require meticulous spray programs.
Jujube is self-pollinating and get up to 20' tall or so. It's very sweet like a date, crisp like an apple but dryer in texture. Usually these are dried, but they are okay fresh. They tend to spread from the roots so you'd have to keep it trained up into a tree form. A couple times a year with the clippers for me. No need to spray for anything usually.
Figs are self-pollinating but can get pretty big. They don't mind being kept small if you are willing to be vigorous with your pruning.
Tart cherries are generally self-fruitful but are more like a shrub. Compact Stella is a sweet cherry which is reported self-fruitful.
There is also pomegranate (which isn't very pretty) and Asian persimmon, which can be stunningly attractive when fully mature since it tends to lean to one side and spread out.
Wild ginger, (Asarum sp.) grows well in deep shade; mine has spread from a single plant to about 30 in one year. While many species smell and tastes similar to the culinary tropical Zingiber officinale, it's really not the same. You aren't going to get much to eat from it -- nor do you want to, since it's a strong diuretic. (And like most spices, it's toxic in large quantities. Very large quantities, in this case, if you are dealing with the raw root.)
[quote="NicoleC"]Lots of herbs! Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, asparagus, groundnuts, jerusalem artichoke, horseradish, wintergreen. Trees and large shrubs: Figs, asian pears, apples, pawpaw, english walnuts, persimmons, jujube, hazelnuts, trifoliate orange, crabapple & quince. The last three are not really for eating.[/quote]
Oooh, you have obviously not had any good crabapple jelly!
Thanks for your suggestions on the trees, NicoleC. The corner I was thinking about used to have an esperanza tree that was maybe only about 8 feet tall, and this year it just didn't come back. The tree is/was pretty close to a wooden fence.
I do remember my dad's fig tree always pushing on his fence and needing pruning a lot, so maybe fig isn't a good idea.
And, I like the idea of espalier in theory, for some other kind of fruiting tree, but the fence is pretty old and will probably need to be replaced before too long, so I probably need to stay away from that idea too.
Thank you for mentioning the "self-fruitful" aspect, which hadn't occurred to me. I've got some research to do, but you've given me some great ideas.
[quote="NicoleC"]I have Dolga and Hopa trees, but I generally consider any fruit or vegetable that requires 4 cups of sugar in a recipe to not really be worth eating. :)[/quote]
Honey? Reduced fruit juice? There are lots of options for an imaginative chef.
Two of the most incredible sweets I have ever tasted were made from Mayhaws and from Quinces - two fruits most people would not image biting down on (at least not twice). There are numerous other examples of lowly fruit considered too sour or too hard to eat out-of-hand that make suburb dishes when properly addressed.