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Perennial Vegetables: From Artichokes to Zuiki Taro, A Gardener's Guide to Over 100 Delicious and Easy to Grow Edibles [Paperback]

By Eric Toensmeier (Author)
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Item Number 260548  
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Item description for Perennial Vegetables: From Artichokes to Zuiki Taro, A Gardener's Guide to Over 100 Delicious and Easy to Grow Edibles by Eric Toensmeier...

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.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   241
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.9" Width: 7.9" Height: 0.7"
Weight:   1.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 16, 2007
Publisher   Chelsea Green Publishing
ISBN  1931498407  
ISBN13  9781931498401  

Availability  4 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 28, 2016 10:00.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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More About Eric Toensmeier

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Eric Toensmeier has studied and practiced permaculture since 1990. He is the author of Perennial Vegetables and coauthor of Edible Forest Gardens with Dave Jacke. Toensmeier has worked as a small-farm trainer at the New England Small Farm Institute, has managed the Tierra de Oportunidades new farmer program of Nuestras Raices, and is a graduate and former faculty member of the Institute for Social Ecology in Plainfield, Vermont. His current interest is in large-scale permaculture farming as a carbon-sequestering solution to climate change. Toensmeier's writing, consulting, and teaching business is based at, where he posts his latest articles and videos. He lives in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

Jonathan Bates owns Food Forest Farm Permaculture Nursery (, a nursery specializing in educational services and useful/edible plant sales. He's been studying, creating, and working with rural and urban gardens in the Connecticut River Valley for over a decade. With a bachelors degree in biology, and MA in social ecology from the Institute for Social Ecology, Jonathan loves wild crafting with friends, and working with folks to better the world we live in. He cofounded and is a board member of the Apios Institute, is a teacher at the Yestermorrow Design/Build School, and is a farmer with Nuestras Raices, Inc. He lives in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

Eric Toensmeier currently resides in Holyoke.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Home & Garden > Gardening & Horticulture > General
2Books > Subjects > Home & Garden > Gardening & Horticulture > Techniques > Organic
3Books > Subjects > Home & Garden > Gardening & Horticulture > Vegetables

Reviews - What do customers think about Perennial Vegetables: From Artichokes to Zuiki Taro, A Gardener's Guide to Over 100 Delicious and Easy to Grow Edibles?

I like it, but it could be better.  Jul 16, 2008
This is a good book well worth owning. I personally think that the layout could have been done better. There is a section at the end with lists of plants by climate zone, that really needed to give page numbers for the plants. Also the grouping by family, well very scientific, can make it hard to find what you are looking for. If you don't happen to know what family it is in you have to look in the index. Be prepared to become very friendly with the index if you are looking for a certain plant. Also don't take the maps too much to heart, the delineation of zones on the maps are wrong (he puts Vancouver WA as a Cold Temperate Climate type... we are zone 8 and rarely get snow.) but that is probley more a printer error then anything else. Add in the fact that the author has a HEAVY bias toward the warmer climes (like my zone 8 garden). Although a good part of that slant could very well be that there is a lack of research on edible perennials for the colder areas.

All that said I don't regret buying this book, it is a good book with lots of interesting information.
more pretty than practical  Jul 13, 2008
This is an interesting book with nice photos, but of limited use to me here in USDA zone 5. Most of these plants require much warmer weather than I have, and from those I have grown, I'd say that while some may be easy enough to grow there are reasons they're not in widescale commercial production.

Take the sunchoke, or Jerusalem artichoke, for instance. It's currently growing like a weed in a corner of my garden from six tubers I planted last year. I thought I had dug up the majority of what had grown last year - apparently not from the volume of new growth that sprouted this year. A friend of mine told me he had had a patch that got completely out of control before he mowed it into submission and gave up on harvesting it. I found the tubers really didn't have much taste until after frost, which meant there was only a narrow window available for harvest in the late fall/early winter before the ground froze but not completely. They are small and knobby and a pain to peel, and don't store all that well once they've been dug up out of the ground. All in all, easy to grow but not easy to use and certainly as likely as not to become a pest in the garden. I've tried New Zealand Spinach, too, and I'd have to say it was not very tasty - very tough and bitter. I'm glad it didn't survive the winter.

So, while it's a lovely coffee-table book and an interesting conversation piece, I'd say it's "buyer beware" on the actual "veggies" featured in the book itself.
Amazingly Well Written  Mar 6, 2008
I have spent a lot of time with this book. It is very well done and the standard of excellence is very high. Like many, I think we face the real possibility of having to be largely self-reliant as many different global crises converge, water, oil, climate change, etc. The antidote to despair is getting busy and one of the very best core strategies is to plant perennial vegetables and do edible landscaping.

As noted above, not only is this book very thorough and very complete, it will point the reader to seed, plant, and other resources to implement their ideas. I consider it a master work and far more valuable than its very reasonable price. Get it, it will be one cornerstone of your self reliance toolkit.
Perennial Vegetables: From Artichokes to Zuiki Taro, A Gardener's Guide to Over 100 Delicious and Easy to Grow Edibles  Jan 22, 2008
I have to give it 5 stars for being the first real comprehensive review of perennial vegetables, and the organization of this book is fabulous. Some of the information I found at odds with my own experience, such as that I have found hardy varieties of clumping bamboo available. Also, I question the sustainability of some of the quarantine methods for more invasive varieties he suggests (what happens if someone stops mowing?). Overall a fantastic book for gardeners who love perennials!
Very useful book - highly recommended.  Jul 27, 2007
I very seldom buy new books, and even more seldom buy books as expensive as this. But I had a $25 this site gift certificate, so I went ahead and bought it, and I'm very glad I did.

The first section of the book is useful information on growing perennial vegetables (and other perennials, for that matter), and on landscaping using these plants, many of which have great ornamental value.

Part Two is a listing of each of the more than 100 (I didn't count) perennial vegtables, with information on each species. About half the listed plants have quite extensive growing information, and about half have shorter descriptions. A map is included for each species, showing where it will grow as a perennial and where it can be grown as an annual. Toensmeier has not included plant 'thugs' such as kudzu or Japanese knotweed, and warns the reader if any of the other plants may naturalize.

The author's inclusions of certain species (as vegetables) may be slightly questionable: we are more apt to think of them as fruit or as herbs, for example, rhubarb and lovage. (However, my daughter cooks a lot of Persian food, and uses rhubarb as a vegetable in a meat and vegetable stew.) Also, this book will be of even more use to people who live in a warmer climate than I do (northern Pennsylvania in the mountains, with Zone 4 weather). I actually already grow four of the vegetables in the book: rhubarb, lovage, Good King Henry, and sorrel. I discovered some others that I'll definitely try - two of which I had never even heard of before. Those who live considerably further south than I will find a wealth of species to try.

The book is well written, and carefully edited. It includes a list of recommended reading, a list of recommended web sites, a list of sources for seeds and plants, a list of sources for garden supplies and equipment, a bibliography, an index by both scientific and common names, and a really valuable list of perennial vegetables that will grow in each of the various climate types in the USA (including Hawaii).

If you're at all interested in growing perennial vegetables - or in permaculture in general - I think you'll want to read this book and probably to own it. I think it's a very useful book and a pleasure to read. I recommend it most highly.

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