Martin Crawford and Anni Kelsey, two of our permaculture authors, feature in The Guardian's latest gardening podcast.
The weekly podcast, 'Sow, Grow, Repeat' features both experts explaining the best perennial plants to grow, especially for the hungry gap.
Anni Kelsey, author of Edible Perennial Gardening shares her favourites, including those that can be harvested earlier in the year, such as the three-cornered leek. It is a wildflower and is often seen as invasive, but to Anni and most perennial lovers, it just means you have plenty to eat. The beautiful white flowers are edible and as the season continues, you can then eat the bulbs. Another favourite is the perennial leek, which Anni bought from France. It doesn't flower but provides constant side shoots.
There is also mashua, part of the nasturtium family. It has beautiful golden and red flowers, edible leaves and tubers. Anni explains that even if you don't wish to eat it, it makes a great ground cover plant.
Martin Crawford, author of How to Grow Perennial Vegetables, explores his favourites, the shoots from the Ostrich fern, and the shoots of Solomon's seal, often known by gardeners as an ornamental.
He also discusses Good King Henry and another ornamental, the daylily.
Martin also suggests growing bamboo shoots. Although it is often seen as invasive, by eating the emerging shoots you can prevent it spreading.
He also explains the importance of location when planting your perennials. Light conditions need to be considered, as many prefer partial shade, under trees or shrubs. They don't need to be rotated like annual vegetables, so where you plant them needs to be considered, as they could be in that location for some time. Some perennials like to spread, such as Solomon's seal, so consider the space they need and how you may wish to control them.
To hear the whole podcast and find a list of all perennials mentioned, visit: www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/audio/2016/jan/23/perennial-vegetables
Edible Perennial Gardening by Anni Kelsey
How to Grow Perennial Vegetables by Martin Crawford
Exclusive content and FREE digital access to over 20 years of back issues