12 Perennial Vegetables & Fruits For Your Home Garden

By 6 m read
Perennial Vegetables (Photo by Viana Boenzli)
(Photo by Viana Boenzli)

12 Perennial Vegetables And Fruits For Your Home Garden

Do you love having fresh fruits and veggies growing in your home garden, but it all seems like too much work? While annual crops need to be bought as either seeds or young plants, the soil needs to be tilled and maybe fertilized, the plants need to be planted, then nurtured until they get big and strong…perennial crops come back every year! 

 

Pros of Perennial Crops

  • Low maintenance
  • Good for the soil
  • May have a longer harvest season
  • No need to till soil
  • They’re tough against diseases, pests, and weather
  • Often have deep roots = less watering

 

Cons of Perennial Crops

  • Can’t rotate crops
  • May spread
  • Some take a few years until harvest

 

Asparagus

One of Erich’s favorites, we’ve grown asparagus in our garden for about 10 years now. Asparagus is actually a member of the lily family and has been cultivated as a vegetable for at least 2000 years. While most edible shoots are green, there are also purple varieties available. White asparagus is accomplished by keeping the shoots under a mound of soil, away from the sun.

Perennial Vegetables (Photo courtesy of gardeningknowhow.com)
Perennial Vegetables (Photo courtesy of gardeningknowhow.com)

Perennial zones: 3 – 9 (find your zone)

Lifespan: 20+ years

Soil: Light soil, with good drainage

Sun: Part sun to full sun

Harvest time: Spring, new spears constantly over a period of weeks

 

You can find “asparagus crowns” at your local garden center. The “crown” is actually the root ball of the asparagus plant and is often 1 year old. The downside of this is that you won’t be able to harvest asparagus until the second or even third year. But after that, it will keep coming back year after year.

 

Recipes with asparagus:

The Perfect Trimvirate: Salmon, Asparagus, and Hollandaise

Apples

We have two small apple trees in our front yard. If you’re thinking you don’t have the room for a large tree, no problem. There are dwarf and semi-dwarf varieties that don’t take up much room at all! And there are soooo many varieties of apples, you’re sure to find your favorite. Each fall, I just have to walk out my front door to harvest apples for a tasty pie. 

Perennial Vegetables - Apples growing on our tree (Photo by Viana Boenzli))
Apples growing on our tree (Photo by Viana Boenzli)

Perennial zones: 3 – 8 (find your zone)

Lifespan: Up to 80 years

Soil: Loamy

Sun: Full sun

Harvest time: Summer/fall, depending on variety 

 

Recipes with apples:

World’s Best Apple Pie

Mom’s Jewish Apple Cake

Mini Apple-Pear Pies

 

Blueberries

As Viana grew up in southern NJ, she’s a huge fan of blueberries! Their sweet delicate flavor is such a treat in muffins, desserts, or in a bowl of milk. And there are so many varieties available now, even pink ones!

Perennial Vegetables (Photo courtesy of fast-growing-trees.com)
(Photo courtesy of fast-growing-trees.com)

Perennial zones: 3 – 9 (find your zone)

Lifespan: Up to 20 years

Soil: Any soil, with acidic pH

Sun: Full sun

Harvest time: Summer

 

Recipes with Blueberries:

Easy Zesty Blueberry Muffins with Streusel Topping

Quick & Easy Blueberry Crisp Recipe

 

Figs

We just recently started growing figs in our garden about 3 years ago, and we’ve been rewarded handsomely! Each year, our small fig tree has produced many dozens of this delicious fruit, most of which we eat right then and there. Although you could certainly use them in baked goods, as well, or make a delicious preserve. There are several varieties available, so find out which one is best for your area. We grow the Brown Turkey Fig, which has a thin edible skin.

Perennial Vegetables - A few figs from our tree (Photo by Viana Boenzli)
A few figs from our tree (Photo by Viana Boenzli)

Perennial zones: 7 – 11 (we heavily mulch our tree in winter, here in zone 6) (find your zone)

Lifespan: Up to 200 years!

Soil: Well-drained

Sun: Full sun

Harvest time: Summer

 

Garlic Chives

We grow garlic chives in our herb garden. While the bulb itself is not tasty, the chives themselves are delicious. The flavor is mild, tasting somewhere between garlic and onion, and  makes a great flavor addition to many dishes. We usually only eat a few of the chives, and let the rest bloom into beautiful flowers, which are loved by praying mantis.

Perennial Vegetables (Photo courtesy of hometownseeds.com)
(Photo courtesy of hometownseeds.com)

Perennial zones: 3 – 10 (find your zone)

Lifespan: Leave flowers each year, they’ll reseed

Soil: Well-drained soil

Sun: Full sun

Harvest time: Spring/summer 

 

Goji Berry

While this plant is native to Asia, we’ve grown it here in our Pennsylvania garden for several years now and enjoy it’s sweet-sour delicious fruits each summer. They’re actually a member of the nightshade family, just like tomatoes and potatoes. 

Perennial Vegetables (Photo courtesy of groworganic.com)
(Photo courtesy of groworganic.com)

Perennial zones: 3 – 10 (find your zone)

Lifespan: 30 years

Spacing: Up to 13 feet tall and 4 feet wide

Soil: Well-drained soil

Sun: Full sun

Harvest time: Mid summer through early fall

 

Grapes

I’m sure we’ve all loved grapes since we were little kids. They’re such an easy treat to pop in your mouth when you need something sweet and refreshing. If you have an abundance of grapes, they make a delicious juice too! With so many varieties available, you’re sure to find one you love. And bonus, grapevines are beautiful in any landscape.

Perennial Vegetables (Photo courtesy of almanac.com)
(Photo courtesy of almanac.com)

Perennial zones: 2 – 10 (find your zone)

Lifespan: 

Soil: Slightly acidic to neutral

Sun: Full sun

Harvest time: Late summer to early fall

 

Horseradish

Want a little more spice in your life? Horseradish is not only a deliciously spicy addition to many meals, but it’s also said to have medicinal properties, as well. In the US, it’s often mixed with green food coloring and served as wasabi (although the wasabi plant is a different plant altogether). Horseradish has been harvested for at least 3000 years. Be warned though, horseradish spreads aggressively.

Perennial Vegetables (Photo courtesy of victoriananursery.co.uk)
(Photo courtesy of victoriananursery.co.uk)

Perennial zones: 3 – 9 (find your zone)

Soil: Sandy, loam

Sun: Part shade to full sun

Harvest time: 1 year until harvest; Fall, winter, and spring

 

Juneberry (aka Serviceberry)

During our wedding ceremony in 2010, we planted a Juneberry tree. It is a beautiful addition to our landscape and also provides us with delicious berries each June (if we can get to them before the birds do, that is!). It truly is edible landscaping. The berries almost look like blueberries, and I’ve always said that they taste like blueberries with just a hint of almond.

Perennial Vegetables (Photo courtesy of phillyorchards.com)
(Photo courtesy of phillyorchards.com)

Perennial zones: 4 – 8 (find your zone)

Lifespan: Up to 50 years

Soil: Well-drained loam

Sun: Full sun

Harvest time: June 

 

Raspberries, Blackberries, And Black Raspberries

We have several of these berry plants in our backyard. While the fruits are absolutely delicious and the plants require almost no attention, you have to keep a close eye on these plants, or they will spread aggressively.

Perennial Vegetables (Photo courtesy of backyardberryplants.com)
(Photo courtesy of backyardberryplants.com)

Perennial zones: 3 – 9, depending on variety (find your zone)

Lifespan: 15-20 years if kept pruned properly

Soil: Well-drained soil

Sun: Full sun

Harvest time: Depends on variety, but generally summer/fall

 

Recipes with Raspberries:

Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

 

Rhubarb

Strawberry-rhubarb pie anyone? Rhubarb was one of the first perennial plants we added to our garden. Even though it only grows about 2 feet tall, the leaves seem Jurassic in size. Rhubarb leaves are inedible, as they contain a toxin…but the stalks are delicious when added to a pie or compote.

Perennial Vegetables - Rhubarb from our garden (Photo by Viana Boenzli)
Rhubarb from our garden (Photo by Viana Boenzli)

Perennial zones: 3 – 7 (find your zone)

Lifespan: At least 5-8 years

Soil: Slightly acidic

Sun: Full sun

Harvest time: Spring/summer

 

Recipes with Rhubarb:

Rhubarb Creme Brulee

 

Strawberries

Another favorite! Ripe red strawberries are just bursting with flavor right off the plant, or you can add them to a huge variety of tasty breakfast and dessert recipes. Fresh strawberries from your own garden taste are much tastier than anything you’ll find in the supermarket…and they couldn’t be easier to grow. Keep in mind, though, that your strawberry plants will send out “runners” to spread all over your garden.

Perennial Vegetables - Our backyard strawberries (Photo by Erich Boenzli)
Our backyard strawberries (Photo by Erich Boenzli)

Perennial zones: 2 – 10 (find your zone)

Lifespan: 5 – 6 years 

Soil: Loamy, slightly acidic to neutral

Sun: Full sun

Harvest time: Summer

 

Recipes with Strawberries:

Strawberry Shortcake Waffles with Nutella

Watermelon Feta Mint Salad

 

There are many more perennial vegetables and fruits you can grow in your home garden, and I’ll continue to add to this list, but this should get you started. Happy gardening!  🙂

 

Do you grow any of these perennial vegetables & fruits? Let us know in the comments below!

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