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Old August 2, 2011   #6
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: San Diego Coastal - Zone 10b
Posts: 206

My goal is to have more perennial veggies. I have grown various ones at past houses, but haven't got many in where we are now (yet).

I have runner beans that should come back year after year and am trying rhubarb from seed this year.

I have grown chayote for a few years - wow! I have never seen a vine grow so high - it climbed the fence, the neighbor's tree and then up it went to the tippy top of the phone pole just outside the fence each year LOL! It would die back during the winter and with spring warmth would restart and start climbing again. I tried transplanting it, but it's not happy. I have to start a new one. Hopefully I will get better production in a new spot, so far harvests have fallen way short of the possible 150/vine capability.

I tried walking onions when I lived in the hot/cold San Diego foothills with limited success, I'm keen to try them in my more moderate locale. I also grew sorrel, Jerusalem artichokes, apios (didn't work out well in the heat), Malabar spinach, and purple hyacinth beans there. I still have seeds from the hyacinth beans, but I'm a bit skittery - some sources say they have toxins, others say they are widely grown and eaten (after proper cooking) and are fine. They sure are pretty though. I don't know if my seeds are still viable since I haven't grown them for 10 years, but if you are interested in a few (I have less than 200 left) let me know in a PM.

I have a book that has given me some additional ideas of things to try - it has info on 100 perennial veggies and what zones they do best in. "Perennial Vegetables" by Eric Toensmeir.

Tomatoes can be short lived perennials here - I had an Early Girl live for 18 months once when I lived in the foothills. It was in a half barrel next to the house under the eaves. The first frost killed off the outer vines and leaves. I let it be since the interior was still green. In the spring I took off the dead bits that had insulated the core. The darn thing started up again and gave me more tomatoes. It died after its second summer.

If I'm going to water and care for a plant it had better give me food, flowers or shade.
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