Does the idea of keeping a perennial garden full of plants and vegetables that come back every year entice you? Of course, why wouldn’t it? More harvest less work, more reward. Discover how easy perennial gardening can be with 13 of the best vegetables that come back year after glorious gardening year.
It’s no secret I love gardening, the reward of your hard work in the form of delicious healthy food. It brings me a sense of pride, joy and it just feeds my soul.
However when it comes to perennial gardening, to grow those vegetables that come back every year, it is something more, it almost feels like magic. When you can wander out to the garden and almost nothing is growing yet but asparagus just starts poking through almost out of nowhere. I’m telling you it feels like manna from heaven.
I know I sound dramatic, but the joy of finding food growing you only had to plant once yet they come back year after year. It is the true definition of abundance.
Perennial vegetable list
Here is a list is just a few of the easiest or best perennial vegetables that come back year after year.
What is not to love about asparagus, in addition to there being so many delicious ways to eat and prepare this wonderful veggie it also has an amazing nutrient content. Asparagus comes up in the early spring when almost nothing else is growing and is extremely nutrient-dense because asparagus roots are known to go down very deep where the roots can reach a healthy level of minerals and nutrients.
There are many varieties of asparagus making it easy to grow in a variety of areas and climates. If you are looking to create low maintenance, permaculture style garden asparagus makes for a wonderful addition as there is little word required after the initial year. Think about this no digging, turning soil or planting after you first get started.
I inherited a very old and established rhubarb patch when we bought our 100+-year-old farm. It did not take me long to fall completely in love. Rhubarb is amazing. In the case, strawberry rhubarb pie or crisp isn’t convincing enough. Check out pinterst for all the absolutly delishious ways to use vegetable.
Along with amazing ways to use this perennial, rhubarb also tends to be a super easy plant to maintain. If you want vegetables that come back every year and are good with you being in chill mode this one is it. Not many pests or wild animals are willing to eat it, it spreads very easily, and it will continue to come back for decades! A true story; our rhubarb patch is over 50 years old.
Rhubarb tends to thrive in cooler areas even semi-shady areas with more moist soil but I do not believe it is super picky either. Rhubarb is native to central Asia but has been grown in Europe, Canada, and the U.S. for centuries, so it is well suited to thrive in many different environments.
3. Egyptian Walking Onions
My personal story is that I love all onions so it is no doubt that I would find a way to put onions on this list. Sorry if you are an onion hater (it’s ok, we can still be friends). Interestingly enough Egyptian walking onions, also known as walking onions and bunching onions make a perfect perennial vegetable. In addition to being able to withstand many different types of growing conditions, they can be used for the greens like scallions or the root like a traditional onion.
Walking onions are quite cold hardy so with only a little cover they can be used for the greens nearly year-round. They grow and can become quite prolific with little to no care and like most onions almost no wildlife wants to eat them making them great to plant well almost anywhere!
Horseradish may not be the first vegetable on your list for setting out on the dinner table for a crowd gathering family meal. However, it has many redeeming properties. Horseradish has very strong medicinal purposes, is high in folate and helps break down heavy meat meals. Horseradish is one of the main key components in Fire Cider the homemade antibiotic that can cure just about anything.
This cousin to mustard and wasabi is super easy to grow and as a root crop, it is a little more pest-resistant than other crops. Horseradish also makes a wonderful addition to any perennial or forest garden because you only need a little. After a year or two when the plant is able to mature, you will find one plant is more than enough to keep you in horseradish for life!
Sunchokes were something I wanted to start for a while as I heard they are native to the U.S. and that Native Americans would often forage for them at the end of the winter when the fresh food storage was very low. These little tubers are easy to plant, easy to grow and according to Laurie Neverman at the Common Sense Home maybe even a little hard to get rid of.
I personally love these native gems, but as I was told: “plant them where you are ok with them being for the rest of, well… forever”! I find they do well in a perennial garden I like to consider our forest garden, and we can just dig some up whenever we need them.
6. Perennial Kale
Kale is often grown as an annual however they are many varieties that are extremely cold hardy and make a wonderful addition to your edible perennial garden bed. Additionally, there are a few varieties of perennial kale that are even known as “tree kale” that can make great use of vertical space if you don’t have a lot of area to grow in.
If you love kale for kale chips, soups, stews or fresh consider a variety of perennial kale for your edible perennial garden.
Traditionally artichokes have been known as a little more difficult-to-grow of the perennial vegetables. Leaving growing the coveted artichokes to only the more experienced growers. However, in recent years very skillful plant breeders have standardized varieties that make growing this persnickety vegetable much more conducive to the average gardener.
Artichokes, though can be grown as an annual, do make a nice addition to any perennial garden and may just be one of the tastiest vegetables that come back every year. So if you are ready to stretch your wings just a tad I suggest a nice addition of this impressive veggie to your perennial garden.
Like onions, garlic is part of the allium family making it a cinch to grow. As most animals don’t bother plants of this family you can grow garlic almost anywhere without worrying about, animals or wildlife bothering it. Garlic is often grown as an annual by most gardeners, however, it is truly a perennial. Planting and using it as a perennial makes it much less labor-intensive, and even easier on the soil as most perennial plants are due to the fact the soil gets turned over less often.
Garlic being easy and abundant to grow, isn’t the only wonderful thing garlic has to offer. It is also easy to store. And packs a punch during cold and flu season as a very powerful antiviral.
Sorrel is a nearly never heard of cousin (at least in the U.S.) to the rhubarb plant in the knotweed family. Even though it is not well known in all places in the world, sorrel has a stronger presence in Asian and European culinary practices. This fact may be due to that is where it is native to. Sorrel brings a lemony tart flavor to any dish you add it do. Additionally sorrel makes a delishious pesto or added to a salad with a oil and vinegar type dressing.
This hardy green is easy used as a cut and come again type of veggie. Though many grow it as an annual it is in reality a perennial. As one of the first perennials with fresh green leaves in the spring sorrel thrives on little attention and does well in cold climate areas.
Though it is a much lesser-known perennial, lovage makes a perfect addition to any perennial or forest garden. Often lovage is refered to as a herb, however, its similarity to celery make it esy to use just like the better known vegetable. Lovage is wonderful added to soups, stews or broth, and carries a flavor very similar to celery only stronger.
This hardy perennial is very capable of very northern gardening. Interestingly all parts of this rarely heard of perennial plant can be used for cooking. Stems can easily replace celery in a recipe, the leaves are great added to salads, the roots can be dug up at the end of the season and used as a vegetable and the seeds are even great for flavoring oils and used as a spice.
Thyme though may look danty, it is in fact quite powerful. I think of Thyme as a superhero of garden plants. The amount of ways to use this plant is endless. Thyme is anti to everything bad you do not want. This powerful plant makes for a great tincture to kick colds or flu, it can be infused into natural cleaners, infused into oils and used for hebals baths during cold and flu season.
Thyme has many varieties, is quite hardy and is a good way to attract more polinators to your garden, and looks amazing around stepping stones in the garden. Even though thyme may not be one of the ‘best vegetables that come back every year’ it is one of the best and I do mean BEST plants that will come back year after year after fabulous year.
So basically what I am saying is thyme should be on you must-have list this year. Go ahead and grab the FREE garden goal planner and add it in your garden plans, trust me you wont regret it.
Oregano though not truely a vegetable but a powerful plant to have in your garden corner none the less. Organo is a very powerful Antibiotic, anti-viral, anti-parasitic and an anti-fungal.
Oregano is perfect to add to soups stews, dry or even infuse into oils for herb infused cooking oils.
Many natural and organic-ish homesteaders find growing oragano helpful to add to animal feed to avoid antibiotics and vet bills.
Oregano, like many other herbs, is a slow starting plant but once it is established it can flourish quite easily. Making oregano a hardy perennial that will return year after year with little to no work.
If I could be any kind of farmer I wanted I would be a lavender farmer. Imagine with me for a minute can you imagine harvest time? It would be absolutely heavenly, right?
Aside from my dreams of a huge beautiful field of lavender. This purple beauty also happens to be a easy to grow and chalked-full of medicinal value. It may not be and “actual food” but it can be added to certain dishes, hot tea and my favorite sprinkled on the top of a honey-sweetened double espresso latte. And yes it is just as amazing as that just sounded.
Lavender is easy, albeit slow going but easy, to start from seed. Lavender makes for awonderful plant to attract pollinators, keep mosquitoes away and just look (and smell) all around stunning.
Maybe you are looking for more ways to grow with less work. Perhaps you want a more sustainable way to get garden food. Possibly you are researching or growing a forest garden. Anyways you look at it growing more perennials just makes sense. So no matter if you are wanting more garden with less work, more food with less soil disruption or a food forest you can just go forage as you please. Growing more plants, herbs, and vegetables that come back every year is one great way to grow and enjoy a garden ♡♡♡
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Beth is a mother of 6 living on a handful of acres in an old farmhouse in central Kansas. Beth has a background in the military and health and fitness however her passions come from her homestead life. Beth is an enthusiastic homeschooling mom, avid organic gardener, chicken & goat wrangler, who is obsessed with herbs and natural remedies and maintaining an all-around Do-It-Yourself lifestyle. Beth loves to share all she has learned about and sustainable living. While striving for a healthy, natural life, family-centered life.