Planting Perennial Fruits

cascadia raspberries

Do you have any perennial fruits planted in your garden?  I love the idea of putting a little work in upfront and then enjoying the “fruits of my labor” for years to come.  In fact, I pretty much like anything that requires minimal effort with maximum output, don’t you just wish all of life was that way?

A lot of perennial fruits take space–like lots of space, even if you don’t have room for an orchard, though, you still can have a pretty sweet fruit garden.  Several fruits can be grown in containers or take up very little space.  Most fruit perennials require full sun.  Several of them, also require more than one tree in order to fruit.

apples

If you want a super low maintenance garden, you might want to take a list of these fruit perennials {remember, perennials vary by region, so make sure to check and see if they are actually a perennial in your area before you buy and plant} and see if they might work in your space:

  1. Apples {some dwarf varieties can be kept in containers}
  2. Apricots
  3. Avocado
  4. Blackberries
  5. Blueberries
  6. Cherries
  7. Currants
  8. Figs
  9. Goji Berries
  10. Huckleberries
  11. Grapes
  12. Kiwi {cold hard kiwi vines actually exist}
  13. Lemons {work well in containers}
  14. Limes
  15. Nectarines
  16. Oranges
  17. Peaches
  18. Pears {self-pollinating varieties exist if you don’t have room for 2, though, I have heard that they don’t produce as well}
  19. Persimmon
  20. Plums
  21. Raspberries
  22. Strawberries {I personally think these only last 3-5 years before you have to start over in order to get good crops, they can definitely be grown in containers}

pears on tree

Have you had any luck growing any of these in smaller spaces?

~Mavis

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Planting Perennial Vegetables

Planting Perennial Vegetables

Remember those old Ronco infomercials? “Set it and forget it” was the theme I think…that’s kind of the way I feel about perennials, a little work up front and then you just forget about them.

Incorporating perennial vegetables into your garden is pretty simple.  The key is making sure that  you take care of the dirt.  The year after you plant, you want to add a little compost and mulch.  Do that yearly, and those bad boys will literally do all of the rest of the work for you.  The beauty of veggie perennials is that they have varying needs for sun, so if you don’t have a bright sunny spot, you may still be able to find one that will work.

fresh artichokes

Not sure which veggies are actually perennials?  Here is a quick guide of veggies you can choose from:

  1. Globe artichokes.  Yep, if you treat them right in the winter by cutting them back in the fall and then covering them with straw, they will produce year after year.
  2. Asparagus.  Asparagus is one of those plant it and then wait.  It takes a full 3 years to get a crop from them, after that though, they are rather prolific and you’ll have asparagus every spring.  {Remember to let them go to flower at the end of the year so that they have a chance to come back.}
  3. Rhubarb.  Rhubarb, once established will produce for you for a lifetime.  Seriously, I know people who got their rhubarb from their grandparents.  It just needs a sunny locale to be happy.
  4. Sorrel.  This is an herb, actually, but a lot of times you will get it in upscale restaurants in a salad.  It kind of has a lemony flavor.
  5. Onions.  If you don’t harvest all of the onions each year, you can leave them in the ground and they will survive some pretty cold conditions.  That way, you can juts pop outside and pull them as you need them.
  6. Horseradish.  As long as you only harvest the side shoots, horseradish will continue to produce year after year.
  7. Kale.  Gross Super healthy kale will literally keep producing all winter long.  It doesn’t mind the cold, and with regular pickings, you can get quite a few seasons out of it.
  8. Radicchio.  Like kale, radicchio can survive harsh winters and produce for several seasons, provided that you just pick the young new leaves.
  9. Garlic.  Most people dig garlic up year to year, but you can leave some in the ground and let them die back just as you would bulbs.  They will divide their own bulbs with time.

picking rhubarb

Just like all perennials, vegetable perennials can vary by region, so make sure to double check that your region can support whatever you choose.  Whichever perennial you choose, take a minute to celebrate that at least there are still some super reliable and simple food sources left in life.

~Mavis

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Dig For Your Dinner – Growing Peas and Sweet Pea Flowers from Seed

sugar snap peas

It’s time to get your peas planted!!!

Peas and Sweet Pea flowers are both hardy enough that you can directly sow them outside as soon as the soil can be worked.  Peas are about the easiest thing ever to grow.  They can tolerate the cold.  They have a fairly short growing season, so you can enjoy them early, and then use the space to plant later warm crops in their spot.  Best of all, they add nitrogen to the soil while they grow, so they will enrich your soil for whatever you plan to put there next.

pink sweet pea flowers

Sweet pea flowers add a pop of early spring color to borders–and they smell unbelievable.  While they like to have “their heads” in the sun, their roots can be shaded–which makes them ideal for the cooler weather.

soak peas befor eyou plant

How to Grow Peas

Peas do best in temperatures under 70 degrees.  Most seed packets recommend soaking seeds for 12-24 hours before planting.  I’ve heard mixed opinions of whether that is necessary…I do go ahead and soak them, and I’ve never had negative results because of it.  Just toss them in a bowl with water, let them sit for the recommended time indicated on your seed packet, and then drain them and you are ready to plant.

sugar snap peas

To plant them, choose a sunny location.  If you are growing snow peas or sugar snap peas you will need a trellis for them to climb.  Follow general planting guides on the back of your seed packet {different pea varieties have slightly different directions}, but in general, plant them about 1″ deep and 2″ apart.  You won’t need to thin them–which is nice, because you can pack them in nice and tight and still get great yields.

peas in pod

When Are Peas Ready to Harvest?

Peas are ready to harvest when they’ve started to plump.  Don’t let them get too plump, or their flavor will be affected.  Harvest frequently to encourage growth.  To harvest them, just clip or snap them off of the vine right at the top the pea.

sweet pea flowers

How to Grow Sweet Pea Flowers

To plant sweet pea seeds, choose a sunny location {though, as I mentioned their roots can be shaded, which makes them great in garden bed borders, where shrugs might block some of the sunlight}.  Plant the seeds as soon as the soil can be worked {usually about 6 weeks before the last frost}.  Plant seeds 1/2″-1″ deep, and space them according to the directions on the seed packets {different varieties have different requirements}.  If you want a faster germination, you can nick the seeds and soak them in water for a couple of hours.  If you want them to get the most out of their blooming season, you may want to consider a quality organic fertilizer once or twice during the growing season.

 

Ranch Pasta Salad with Broccoli, Spinach and Green PeasRanch Pasta Salad with Broccoli, Spinach, and Green Peas

recipe peas and baconPeas and Bacon

Fresh Pea Salad with Bacon and Chives
Fresh Pea Salad with Bacon and Chives

 

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Dig for Your Dinner – Growing Brussels Sprouts from Seed

Growing Brussels Sprouts from Seed

Growing up, we had a neighbor who called Brussels Sprouts Martian heads.  As a kid, I loved and hated that description–it was fun and disgusting.  Now, though, the thought of growing Martian heads makes me smile.  The key, in my humble opinion, is to know how to prepare Brussels Sprouts AFTER you’ve grown them, otherwise, they can seem like vegetable punishment.  Done right, though, they are tasty, tasty.

Brussels sprouts get their name because they were originally cultivated in Brussels, Belgium in the early 16th century.  Brussels sprouts and chocolate–those crazy Belgians.  Brussels sprouts are literally PACKED with vitamin A–one measly little cup contains over 1000 IU of Vitamin A.  1 cup contains 160% of your daily vitamin C, and a pretty good dose of beta carotene.  So, eat up.

How to Grow Brussels Sprouts:

Plant Brussels Sprouts in a sunny location.  Sow seeds directly into the garden about 1/4″ deep.  When the seedlings are 2″ tall, thin to one plant every 2 feet.  Brussels sprouts are best saved for spring and fall plants, as they thrive in cooler/mild weather, rather than the dead heat of summer {they taste bitter when they are harvested in summer}.

brussels sprouts

When are Brussels Sprouts Ready to Harvest?

Brussels Sprouts mature from the bottom up, so you can pick them as you need them from the bottom up, or you can harvest the entire stalk.  They are ready when they are about 1-2″ in diameter.

brussels sprouts

Which Brussels Sprouts to grow?

Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar

My Favorite Recipe with Brussels Sprouts:

I usually make these Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar for Thanksgiving.  They key to good brussels sprouts is chopping them up smaller.  It allows them to get a bit crunchy when baked or sauteed on the edges, which significantly cuts down on any texture issues that come up when they are cooked whole.

If you live in the Pacific Northwest Region and are unsure what seeds you should be starting right now, or when your transplants should be set out in the garden, this regional planting guide should help you out.

Don’t live in the Pacific Northwest? Find your regional planting guide HERE.

how-to-grow-Brussels-sprouts

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Dig for Your Dinner – Growing Spinach From Seed

spinach

Do you have lots of shade, but still want to grow something to munch on?  Spinach is where it is at then, my friend.  Spinach is a cooler weather crop, so it’s one of the first ones I start outdoors.  It is great to sneak into smoothies, because it packs a nutritional wallop, and doesn’t affect the flavor to much.  It’s one of those leaves {unlike Kale} that actually has a really nice flavor, if you ask me.  It can stand alone in salads or be mixed in with other greens…and it’s awesome in quiches and sauteed.  Listen, just grow it, so I can stop trying to sell it already.

what-do-spinach-seeds-look-like1How to Grow Spinach

Growing spinach from seed is as easy as pie.  Actually, pie is an art form, now that I think about it, so that’s a stupid saying.  It’s best to start it right outdoors–though, you CAN grow it in containers indoor all winter long, if you have a bit of natural light.  I plan to sow my seeds directly outside.

spinach

You can do containers, garden beds or in pallets.  Plant your seeds about 1/2″ deep.  I like to drop a couple of seeds in each hole, just to make sure I get something to germinate.  Thin seedlings to 1 every 2″-6″ apart {depending on variety, so check your seed packet} when they are about 1″ tall.  Because spinach is a cool weather crop, you will need to find a shady spot for it if you plan to sow it throughout the summer.  You can plant seeds in between the rows of taller plants, like corn or tomatoes–or you can plant it in containers and move the container around as needed.

When is Spinach Ready to Harvest?

Once the plant is established and leaves are about 1″ across, you can pretty much pick off the leaves as you need them whenever the mood strikes.

Spinach Salad w Bacon Dijon Dressing

Spinach Salad with Bacon Dijon Dressing

My Favorite Spinach Recipes:

Quinoa Spinach Salad with Tuna and Corn

Quinoa Spinach Salad with Tuna and Corn

Freezer Meal - Gourmet Spinach Blue Cheese Burgers
Freezer Meal Gourmet Spinach Blue Cheese Burgers

Easy Spinach Frittata
Easy Spinach Frittata

spinach-power-smoothie-recipe1
Spinach Power Smoothie

If you live in the Pacific Northwest Region and are unsure what seeds you should be starting right now, or when your transplants should be set out in the garden, this regional planting guide should help you out.

Don’t live in the Pacific Northwest? Find your regional planting guide HERE.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.