It is the three year anniversary of the Backyard Larder Blog and time for another overview.
Establishing a perennial vegetable allotment can take a while especially if time and money resources are limited. My progress has been stepwise. Sometimes plants have needed resiting as I've begun to better understand their needs - or replacing when I've found they were not what I thought they were! Sometimes beds have needed overhauling to rescue them from couch grass invasion. But I'm getting there. Something that pleased me one day last year was a subtle change I noticed to the feel of the perennial vegetable allotment. Annual allotment plots often return to something of a blank slate at the end of each growing year but here the perennial nature of the planting is gradually allowing the place to develop into a real garden with its own special character.
But there are plenty of rough areas to work on. I was working on this messy pond last year.
Come summer it was a colourful riot, but the weeds had crept in, threatening to stifle the sorrel, alexanders, angelica, dahlias, skirret and other herbs and vegetables that are planted there.
I've tidied up again now and am looking forward to the plants getting properly established this year.
There is a very welcome development in the pond too!...
Progress is slow in the move towards polycultures on the perennial vegetable beds. I'm still experimenting and trying to establish plants. This year there should be some oca coming up amongst the tree kales and perennial onions - and some tree kales coming up amongst the Bocking 14 comfrey! This little ground-hugging comfrey (Symphytum ibericum) may prove useful in some places (at present around the fruit bushes).
I put the brassica protection plan that I posted about last March into action. So I now have a large brassica cage over three beds made from very wide gauge pea netting that has been safe from destruction by wind. I was worried that the pigeons might be able to fly straight into it but this hasn't happened - I think they do walk in and peck at plants on the ground but they haven't flown up and eaten the tall brassicas. A bit of finer netting at ground level should hopefully keep them out altogether.
The best of the new perennial vegetable discoveries over the last year have been oyster plant, hosta shoots, bladder campion and patience dock.
Of the plants we were already eating skirret has become established as a firm favourite and sea beet is now as popular as chard. The wild cabbage all finally died out and I'm having some trouble overwintering chicories. But I keep trying and will be replanting both of these this year along with replacement asparagus (after my first failed attempt) and I have an exciting collection of new plants to try from seed too.
Finally the longed for Bath asparagus....the good news is it did produce a flower stalk last year. Hurray! The bad news is it somehow got snapped off before the flower could open....Alas!
This year perhaps?!....
N.B. I sell a range of perennial vegetable plants on my website.