FLATTEN the CURVE and Perennial Veggies

First off, these two topics have NOTHING to do with each other.


Basically, this means to slow down the outbreak and delay the number of cases so that the health care system is not overwhelmed and people can get the life saving care they need.  Effectively this means social distancing, self isolation (especially if you have symptoms), and practise excellent personal hygiene by not touching your face and diligently washing your hands.  Keep surfaces clean. Advice is changing rapidly, so stay up to date with the news to keep yourself, your family, and your community safe.

Technical Resource:

Social Gathering:  Gord is the president of the BC Fruit Testers Association and the AGM is Saturday March 21st.  HOWEVER, they have moved to plan B to help reduce the spread of the virus.  If you have rootstocks on order or are planning to buy plants and supplies, here are the revised details for the day.  The event is still going on, but social distancing protocols are in effect.  BCFTA website:
Modified AGM event Details:

The Nursery:  The Eco-Sense nursery will be open this weekend but with no walks up to the house and gardens.  Sorry to say, there will be no HUGGING or handshaking. BUT, we still have TREES, SHRUBS, VINES and PERENNIAL VEGGIES for sale.  (see below for details)

Saturday and Sunday March 14th and 15th from 10am to 2pm

NEXT weekend: only SUNDAY March 22 from 10am – 2pm

NUT TREES.  Your best bet for future food security.  We are well stocked with chestnuts, walnuts and some hazelnuts.

Perennial Vegetables are wonderful nutrient dense tasty food that you only plant once.  They are very resilient reliable plants that can feed you for many decades with less work than annual veggies.  These tough plants take longer to get established, but then are highly productive for generations…think of them like planting a tree, just smaller.

I have been experimenting for the past 5 years and have my favourites including both the greens and roots.  Most of my perennial veggies are in a bed of their own since their requirements are different than the annual veggies. Perennial veggies can also go in a food forest setting, but they can get lost in there when they are small and getting established.

Here’s my favourites:

Dandelions (greens, buds, flowers, and roots):  We’ve been eating the fresh spring greens in our salads for years.  We also enjoy the flower buds or open flowers in omelettes or on pizza.  They seriously are delicious.  Just recently, we started growing them for their roots.  Roots are gently excavated and then root ball with all the roots are swished in a bucket of water to separate the mass of roots.  Then begins the washing, coarse chopping, drying, roasting, and grinding for a rich afternoon “coffee”.  I put 1 heaping tablespoon of roasted chopped roots per cup into the coffee grinder and then brew like coffee.  Drink as you would your coffee…we like it with a bit of milk.

Oca (tubers): These beautiful pink and white tubers are our favourite. The greens look like clover.  The tubers are harvested after the greens totally die down and these mushy tops are used as a thick mulch to protect the tubers from freezing. Colder climates will be different than the coast.  Tubers must be protected from freezing with a heavy mulch as they are quite shallow.  I grow ours in a raised bed to help keep out the voles as these tubers are delicious for them as well. They are not actually potatoes and they can be eaten raw or cooked.  They cook quicker than potatoes and do well with steaming.

Oca tubers are quite shallow. Must be well mulched to avoid freezing.

Ground Nut – Apios americana (tubers).  (I have 30 tubers for sale).  These are very tasty and filling small tubers.  We love them steamed with butter.  Very high in protein.  Nitrogen fixing.  These vines grow about 1 meter tall and need something to climb.  Crop takes about two years to establish the bed.  They can be grown in a food forest setting, but we also like to dedicate a raised bed just to these so that harvest is easier…tubers can travel quite a ways.  Tubers form on the roots in shallow soil like strings of pearls about 1-3 inches apart.  Pink/purple flower clusters are beautiful and last a long time.

Sea Kale (leaves and flower shoots):  These perennial veggies produce lots of big leaves and broccoli like shoots.  Very tender and sweet shoots that we love raw, in stir fries, or steamed.  The shoots, if left to mature, will form beautiful white blossoms that are VERY tasty.  Seeds, the size of small peas, can be collected to start new plants.  Sew the seeds very shallow right way…they do not store well.

Good Kind Henry (leaves and flowers): none available yet – later this spring
Broad Leaved French Sorel (greens): None available yet – later this spring

Skirret: root veggies.  Very sweet.  White like carrots. in stock.

Perennial Kale (Leaves and shoots):  (only 1 left – the bunnies ate all my plants).  Stays beautiful and green all winter long.  Eat the leaves all winter and the shoots and beautiful white flower blossoms in the early spring.  Lots of baby plants will show up around the parent plant.

Cinnamon vine – Chinese Yam (Tubers and air tubers):  (only 2 plants left, but more coming) Must grow in a large pot to keep the tubers contained.  New vines grow rapidly in spring with beautiful shiny deep green heart shaped leaves.  Provides shade for outside sitting areas.  Tubers dug in the winter are large and really ugly, but very tasty and can be cooked just like potatoes.  Can be eaten raw or cooked.  Somewhat slimy to eat raw.  Said to be medicinal and balance hormones…for women.  Leave one tuber in each pot to grow again the next season.  Plants also produce small pea like air tubers.  Yummy to nibble on or sow to grow new plants.

January early growth of perenniel leek greens

Perennial Leek – Elephant Garlic (Leaves and bulbs) lots in stock: Very early spring growth of thick leek leaves that we cut and use in salads, soups, stir fries, etc. Second year plants will product very large beautiful flower heads that the bees love.  Greens die down in the summer.  Bulbs multiply and can be dug in the summer/fall and eaten like onions or spread around for more plants.

Fermented crosne with our lunch (squash custard, homemade cheese, carrots, kohlrabi, peeled kiwi, and baby asian cabbage)

Crosne (tubers):  (Lots in stock) Very early spring growth with greens that look similar to mint.  Can be grown at base of fruit trees or in a pot.  They can take over a garden bed.  Yummy, weird looking little tubers.  We like them raw or as a crunchy fermented snack. Great in salads.


Look after yourself and family, eat healthy, give yourself media breaks, spend time outdoors or in your garden, and read some good books.  I rarely buy books, but for my birthday, I treated myself with two excellent books.  Of course if you are home in self isolation, you can always read our book (buy ebook online), “Essential Composting Toilets”.  Here at the nursery we do have books for sale.  Follow this link

Ann and Gord




2 responses to “FLATTEN the CURVE and Perennial Veggies

  1. Susan Trimble

    hello from Parksville,
    I am looking for Ann’s article “Garden Washstand, Eco-Sense style”. Have searched your website without luck. Please advise how I can access the building plans mentioned in an article in Concrete Garden Fall 2018

    thanks in advance…Susan Trimble

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