Perennial vegetables are convenient and easy to grow since you only need to plant them once. Take note of a few care tips and enjoy these vegetables fresh from the garden, year after year.
Planting artichokes 3-4 weeks before our last frost date (roughly mid-May), is the best time to get them in ground. Artichokes need exposure to cool temperatures, below 45 degrees, to trigger flowering. Plant in a bright & sunny location where the soil that has been amended with compost, maintaining soil moisture through the growing season. Give these plants some space to grow as they can get up to 3-5 feet tall and 3 feet wide.
During the growing season, fertilize with an all-purpose granular vegetable food, once in early spring and again in early July. The edible part of this plant is the immature artichoke flower buds that are produced mid-summer into fall – leave about an inch of stem when cutting. Refrigerate artichokes immediately and wash just before cooking them. Allowing buds to flower may reduce the plant’s vigor for the following year’s production.
If given deep, rich, moist and well-draining soil, rhubarb will provide your garden with years of enjoyment, in flavor and appearance! Late winter to early spring, plant your rhubarb in a hole that is about 15 inches deep and 24 inches wide, creating a mound in the center to plant the crown on top, being sure not to bury the crown. Space plants 3 feet apart with 5 feet between rows. Fertilize in early spring, as new growth emerges, with an all-purpose granular vegetable food.
Harvesting rhubarb doesn’t happen until the the second year. A light harvest in the first half of summer, roughly 6 stalks per plant, is recommended. Simply just twist the stalks off the plant and cut off all flower-stalks as soon as they emerge. Once established, 20 stalks per plant over a summer can be harvested.
Asparagus is a fun plant to watch grow as its emerging spears are such a delight to see popping up in the garden! To prep your growing site, create a trench about 6 inches deep and 6 to 8 inches wide. Planted as crowns, space plants 18 to 24 inches apart and 5 to 6 inches deep – make sure individual crowns pointy nub is set upwards with the finger-like roots down in the soil. Cover crowns with 2 inches of soil until they start to push growth, then fill in the rest of the trench.
Growing asparagus takes some patience because you want to allow the plant to establish and become vigorous. Fertilize once during winter with an all-purpose granular vegetables food. In the second year, snap off tender young shoots once about 6 inches long in early spring. For the first several years, only harvest for about 2 to 4 weeks. As the plants age, harvest can continue for 5 to 6 weeks.