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Perennial Vegetables

From Artichokes to Zuiki Taro, A Gardener's Guide to Over 100 Delicious and Easy to Grow Edibles

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.


"This book is itself a perennial polyculture of multipurpose plants. Toensmeier's adventurous yet sober palate blends with his observant eye and plant-geek mind to yield a varied harvest that should produce for years to come. He is an enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide for explorations of this largely unmapped territory. Let's hope gardeners everywhere follow his lead and join the fun!"--Dave Jacke, coauthor Edible Forest Gardens

"That there are more perennial vegetables than asparagus is no surprise, but that there are more than 100 species we North American gardeners can choose from is news. Toensmeier's Perennial Vegetables, the first comprehensive guide to growing them, will have all of us reexamining our plans for next year's vegetable plot." --Karan Davis Cutler, author of Burpee—The Complete Flower Garden

"Eric Toensmeier has comprehensively filled a huge gap in the sustainable landscape. Perennial Vegetables lets you put away your tiller, and covers everything you need to grow, harvest, and eat vegetables and greens that will keep coming back year after year."--Toby Hemenway, author of Gaia's Garden

"Toensmeier's knowledge of edible plants is impressive and inspiring. His excitement for a sustainable landscape helps us focus away from buying food to harvesting it naturally. Perennial Vegetables offers an excellent range of edible plants for long-term cultivation and enjoyment."--Ellen Ecker Ogden,co-founder of The Cook's Garden seed catalog, author of From the Cook's Garden

"Growing perennial vegetables is a true pleasure. This fine book gives the knowledge to successfully add variety to both the garden and the table while also enhancing the home environment."--Miranda Smith, author of The Plant Propagator's Bible and Complete Home Gardening

Part of the allure of perennial gardening is the fact that a gardener can plant something once and enjoy it for several years, a benefit that has rarely been extended to vegetable gardeners. Save for such stalwarts as asparagus and rhubarb, most edible crops can be used only annually. Thanks to Toensmeier, gardeners need no longer be frustrated by such limitations. From air potatoes to water celery, Turkish rocket to Malabar gourd, there are more than 100 new species of edible plants. After addressing such cultural basics as site selection and preparation, Toensmeier explains why each plant is an excellent perennial vegetable crop. Now that such items are making their way onto trendy restaurant menus and health-store shelves, Toensmeier's groundbreaking guide is destined to become the bible for this new class of edible gardening.

Carol Haggas


  • Winner - ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award: Home & Garden - 2007
  • Winner - American Horticultural Society Book Award 


Eric Toensmeier

Eric Toensmeier

Eric Toensmeier is the award-winning author of Paradise Lot and Perennial Vegetables, and the co-author of Edible Forest Gardens. Eric is an appointed lecturer at Yale University, a Senior Fellow with Project Drawdown, and an international trainer. He presents in English and Spanish throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, and the Caribbean. Eric has studied useful perennial plants and their roles in agroforestry systems for over two decades, and cultivates about 300 species in his urban garden. His writing can be viewed online at


New England Small Farm Institute
Perennial Vegetables' Website
Eric Toensmeier on
Edible Forest Garden's Website


October 15, 2015

Eric Toensmeier at Sandhill Farm

Sandhill Farm, Spring HIll, FL, 34608 | Eric Toensmeier
On October 15-18, Eric Toensmeier will be at Sandhill Farm in Spring Hill, FL to teach an Edible Forest Gardens and Agroforestry Design Intensive Course. In this design intensive course, participants will gain a considerable amount of awareness into the research and application of perennial food systems through Toensmeier’s daily presentations in Sandhill Farm's barn classroom. This class will also serve as an Advanced Permaculture Design Course. If you have already received a Permaculture Design Certificate, you will also receive an Advanced Design Certificate with this intensive. If you do not have a PDC certificate, you will receive a certificate of completion. general registration for the course cost $75 with the meal plan and $400 without. Registration ends on October 15th.

See all Events by this Author


Eric Toensmeier Discusses Edibles

Eric Toensmeier Edible Forest Garden Workshop (Part 1)

Eric Toensmeier Edible Forest Garden Workshop (Part 2)

Eric Toensmeier Edible Forest Garden Workshop (Part 3)

Eastern Agricultural Complex

Perennial Solutions Channel (Eric Toensmeier)

Perennial Vegetable Gardening DVD Trailer

Eric Toensmeier, author of Perennial Vegetables, tours his perennial root crop.

Eric Toensmeier Tours His Backyard Perennial Food Garden (Part 1 of 4)

Eric Toensmeier: Overview of his Perennial Garden

Eric Toensmeier Tours His Backyard Perennial Food Garden (Part 2 of 4)

Eric Toensmeier Tours His Backyard Perennial Food Garden (Part 3 of 4)

Eric Toensmeier Tours His Backyard Perennial Food Garden (Part 4 of 4)

Four Perennial Vegetables Perfect for Shady Spots

Perennial Vegetables

Pages:224 pages
Book Art:Full-color photos and illustrations throughout
Size: 8 x 10 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781931498401
Pub. Date May 16, 2007
eBook: 9781603581387
Pub. Date May 16, 2007

Available In/Retail Price

Paperback, 224 pages, $35.00

eBook, 224 pages, $35.00