Perennial Vegetable Survivors of the Winter of 2013-14

I was exited this last weekend to get out into my fields and see what damage had been done by all the brutal cold we experienced this winter. I had trialed a number of new perennial vegetables that I knew were quite hardy, but 20 below zero was not on my radar. To my surprise, it appeared that everything had survived with the exception of Bloody Dock, which is a type of sorrel. The French Sorrel did survive and is sending up shoots. The only variety not in the garden was my Wasabi plants. They are hardy only down to 10 degrees, so I had them stored in a unheated workshop, off of our basement. At one point the temperature dropped to near zero in this room and I thought for sure I had lost the plants. To my amazement, the Wasabi is already sending up new growth.

Here are a few snapshots I took last Sunday after the snow had finally melted

nopales spring 1000 by 750NOPALES CACTUS

A variety with few if any thorns and nearly glochids. The pads are cooked and have a flavor similar to green beans. Used in a lot of Mexican dishes.

 

 

rhubarb spring 1000 by 750VICTORIA RHUBARB

This is a variety that I start from seed. I will not have any plants available this season but plant to make them available next spring from my own collected seed. Rhubarb is notoriously cold hardy.

 

 

seacale spring 1000 by 750SEACALE or SEAKALE

This is one of my favorite perennial vegetables and one that is ready very early with excellent thick greens that can be eaten raw or cooked. They also produce edible flower-buds that can be used like broccoli. I will have starts this spring.

 

turkish rocket spring 1000 by 750TURKISH ROCKET

Edible leaves with a spicy mustardy flavor. In the summer It produces broccoli-raab type flower buds that have a nice flavor. I will have plants and possibly seed available next spring.

 

 

chinese artichole spring 1000 by 750CHINESE ARTICHOKES

This is a wonderful vegetable discovery for me. The small tubers are dug in the fall and are delicious and crunchy eaten fresh on salads. They can also be cooked. I will have starts for these this spring.

 

 

good king henry 1000 by 750GOOD KING HENRY

Another superb perennial vegetable that provides asparagus-like shoots in the spring, wonderful greens in the summer and edible flower buds and seeds later in the fall. I will have starts for this this spring.

 

 

wasabi 1000 by 750WASABI

True wasabi is very expensive and hard to find. Most wasabi paste available in restaurants and markets is green colored horseradish. The roots are dug the third year for making the paste or grating. The leaves have a great flavor when added to salads. I hope to have starts next spring.

 

I love to find vegetable varieties and especially perennials that can survive harsh conditions. The last few years have provided very difficult extremes for farmers and gardeners alike. Drought 2012, an extremely wet spring and early summer 2013, and one of the coldest winters on record. These extremes have given me “laboratory conditions” I could never create on my own. Seeing what survives and what does not helps me with future determinations for the seed and plants I plan to offer for local gardeners.

 

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1 Response to Perennial Vegetable Survivors of the Winter of 2013-14

  1. Rose McClure says:

    Last year I bought a Victoria Rhubarb plant from you and planted it in a ceramic pot placed at the edge of my covered patio here in Bristol. It grew well and I left it alone, not picking any of the stalks. Somehow in the rush at fall’s end (and an early beginning to winter) I forgot the rhubarb and it spent the winter in its pot, still at the edge of the patio. By the time I remembered, it was covered with snow and frozen to the ground. This spring I went out to retrieve the pot, knowing it was undoubtedly broken, only to find small shoots poking up out of the dirt. It not only survived, it’s doubled in size and I may be able to pick a few small stalks. What a survivor! I will definitely be adding more Victoria to my new rhubarb bed. THANKS!!!

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