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Book Recommendation

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Link to YouTube videos by Eric Toensmeier


Review by Bob Hargrave

ECHO has promoted perennial vegetables as part of the home landscape since the beginning. 

In this book, Mr. Toensmeier provides a valuable reference to over 100 of the best perennials for temperate North America and Hawaii. Edible parts of plants include leaves, shoots, fruits, pods, beans, flowers and roots! In this collection is an excellent selection of plants for the warmer climates and therefore this book can be useful for gardeners in the tropics as well. 

The 71 pages of Part I include tips and techniques that would apply in any setting and serve as a very good overview of growing perennials for the table. That is followed in Part II by descriptions of specific plants arranged by plant family. Each profile includes an overview as well as specific information about propagation, care, harvesting, and use of the plant. 

Part III, Resources, begins with a very helpful list of species for each of eight climate types found in the US and Canada, including Hawaii. It also includes a list of publications, websites, and sources for plants and seeds. 

When Eric Toensmeier first became interested in perennial gardening systems, he searched in vain for a reference on perennial vegetables. Finding nothing and at the encouragement of friends, he decided to take on the task of writing such a book. The end product, Perennial Vegetables, fills that niche admirably. 

Publisher's Description

There is a fantastic array of vegetables you can grow in your garden, and not all of them are annuals. In Perennial Vegetables the adventurous gardener will find information, tips, and sound advice on less common edibles that will make any garden a perpetual, low-maintenance source of food.

Imagine growing vegetables that require just about the same amount of care as the flowers in your perennial beds and borders-no annual tilling and potting and planting. They thrive and produce abundant and nutritious crops throughout the season. It sounds too good to be true, but in Perennial Vegetables author and plant specialist Eric Toensmeier (Edible Forest Gardens) introduces gardeners to a world of little-known and wholly underappreciated plants. Ranging beyond the usual suspects (asparagus, rhubarb, and artichoke) to include such "minor" crops as ground cherry and ramps (both of which have found their way onto exclusive restaurant menus) and the much sought after, anti-oxidant-rich wolfberry (also known as goji berries), Toensmeier explains how to raise, tend, harvest, and cook with plants that yield great crops and satisfaction.

Perennial vegetables are perfect as part of an edible landscape plan or permaculture garden. Profiling more than 100 species, illustrated with dozens of color photographs and illustrations, and filled with valuable growing tips, recipes, and resources, Perennial Vegetables is a groundbreaking and ground-healing book that will open the eyes of gardeners everywhere to the exciting world of edible perennials.

Publication Details

  • Published: 2007
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publications
  • ISBN-10: 1931498407
  • ISBN-13: 9781931498401
  • Dewey Decimal: 635
  • ECHO Library: PD 37