Adopting these vegetables means planting once and for all, almost for life, harvesting all year round if you take care to make the right choice, and eliminating regular digging, sowing or planting! This does not prevent these plants from being able to complement a traditional vegetable garden, mingle with it or simply be close to it.
Undemanding, they grow larger over the years, associating with perennial aromatic plants and berries. Some need an important place, like the artichoke, others, like the perpetual leek, are everywhere.
If this type of vegetable garden requires less time and physical effort than a traditional vegetable garden, it also saves money: no or few plants and seeds to buy each year. A few clump divisions, a cutting here and there, harvesting seeds to plant a new place, and voila!
No use of chemicals and the use of ancestral techniques give a healthy soil. And healthy soil offers plants with unparalleled flavors. The plants chosen for a perpetual vegetable garden are plants that we do not care about: whatever happens… or almost, they give us satisfaction. As long as you are planted in the right place! The gentle sun is suitable for everyone. While most need six to eight hours of sun exposure to grow, you shouldn’t overlook those that accept partial shade.
No acidic soil, no soggy soil… Then, everything depends on the plants. Some like a drained soil, others a very rich humus soil. But all need a good start, on clean, well-weeded soil.
The ideal is to plan the parts to be planted in the fall, to weed manually, then to cover the ground with cardboard boxes. In March, the boxes will have been “swallowed” by the earthworms who feast on them, and dissolved by the rains. It is enough to pass the rake to remove the waste (to be put in the compost), and the surprise is there: an impeccable soil, ventilated, ready to be planted. Are you impatient? Weed manually, then pass the grelinette (ecological spade).
Above all, do not disturb the living organisms, plants and animals, which work and enrich the earth. On the contrary, encourage their arrival by regularly applying mulches under which they will cocoon at leisure, feed and go about their time. Forget the phrase “spade with two spades”, which brings to the surface these organisms which die when they arrive in the open air. If you want to stir the earth gently, adopt the ecological spade. This flat fork with two handles makes it possible to soften the soil without upsetting it, therefore without destroying the microbial fauna. The important thing is that the water penetrates, that the seeds emerge easily and that the roots of the plants can spread without worry.
The good choice
Certain perennial vegetables go dormant at the end of spring – perpetual leeks, maceron … – to wake up better in autumn and especially in winter. Others have just a month of glory, in April or May, but what glory: wild garlic and asparagus do. On the contrary, sorrel, capuchin beard, rhubarb, rocambole onion, bon-henri goosefoot or perennial arugula, offer us their treasures all summer long. The evergreen ones can be picked all year round, like Daubenton cabbage. From November to March, we like to dig the ground to collect crosnes, helianthis and Jerusalem artichokes.