Agriculture Reference
In-Depth Information
Starting small is an excellent rule of thumb for new gardeners. There is nothing more
dispiriting or frustrating than having just a little more land in cultivation than you can really
manage. The garden becomes a burden and things are never quite as well done as you
would like them to be. A smaller area which gets all the attention it needs can produce more
than a larger area that does not.
Just how small will depend on a number of factors, including the amount of time avail-
able for gardening, the crops to be grown and so on, but an intensive vegetable bed of three
by three metres could produce a very worthwhile contribution to the larder. The rest of the
potential vegetable garden can be put down to a green manure crop, such as lucerne. This
will provide mulch material for the vegetables at the same time as it improves the soil,
and the garden can expand into this improved soil when the initial area is already running
smoothly.
Low-work Gardening
There are many edible perennial plants which can be grown in the garden. As well as fruits
and nuts, there are perennial vegetables, some examples of which are listed in the table be-
low. A lot of the plants we normally think of as herbs can be eaten as vegetables, especially
in salads, and most of them are perennial. Lemon balm, fennel and mints can be used in
this way.
Many of the perennial vegetables are native plants, such as salad burnet and sorrel. The
great advantage of growing wild food plants in the garden is that they really want to grow
there. They have been adapted over thousands of years of evolution to thrive under loc-
al conditions. Many of our cultivated food plants are introductions from other parts of the
world, and they need a lot of support from us to survive and give a yield in an environment
which is basically alien to them.
Some perennial and self-seeding vegetables
Perennial or
Self Seeder
Size:
Low/Med/Tal
Name
Main Use
Daubentons Kale ( Brassica oleracea )
P
Mj
Greens
Nine-Star Broccoli ( Brassica oleracea )
P
T
Curds
Sea Beet* ( Beta vulgaris ssp. maritima )
P
M
Greens
Chard ( Beta vulgaris ssp. cicla )
S
M
Greens
Fat Hen* ( Chenopodium album )
S
M
Greens
Sea Kale ( Crambe maritima )
P
M
Stems
Alexanders ( Smyrnium olustratum )
S
T
Stems
Musk Mallow ( Malva moschata )
P
M
Salad; mild
French Scorzonera ( Reichardia picroides )
P
L
Salad; mild
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