Perennial crops to put healthy food on your table

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The Western food supply is contaminated. Most of the produce we buy in our supermarkets have been so heavily sprayed with pesticides that they are highly toxic. (Always wash your fruits and veggies before you eat them!) In addition to harsh and poisonous chemicals, many food products on store shelves today are genetically modified organisms (GMO). Notice that I wrote “food products” and not “food” because GMO-produced foods look, smell and taste like the real thing but they’ve been synthetically produced. Most of the tomatoes in stores nowadays have been ripened by ethylene gas. Homegrown food is the way to go if you want to have control over what’s on or in the fruits and vegetables you’re eating. You’ll be glad to know that there are numerous perennial crops that can help you improve your family’s diet.

A perennial plant is one that grows back every year on its own. This means you only have to invest once for the initial plant or seeds. You also have to nurture it as it grows, of course. However, there’s no need to re-plant anything the following year because, if it’s a perennial, it will come back. In many cases, it will also produce new plants as time goes on. You don’t have to be an experienced guru-gardener to grow perennial crops that will help you detoxify your food supply. It’s a great feeling to know that you are providing your family with fruits and vegetables that are strengthening their immune systems and boosting their overall health.

Easiest perennial crops to grow

Even if you don’t have a lot of outdoor space, you can use containers to plant your fruits and veggies. The following list shows some of the easiest perennial crops you can grow at home:

  • Herbs: Things like oregano, chives, lemon balm and mint are all perennials. You can even grow some of these indoors!
  • Asparagus is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. It takes a while to produce a crop, but once it does, it will come back and expand on its own, every year.
  • Berries: Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and more are so healthy for you! Get rid of all the Sour Patch candies your kids are eating, and let them much on homegrown berries, instead!
  • Plantain and dandelions: Do not mow them down! Commonly referred to as “weeds,” you can create space for them in your garden! Not only can you eat them, they are useful in other ways, as well, such as drying dandelions for herbal tea of making a poultice out of plantain to heal a bee sting.
  • Rhubarb: Like asparagus, you can’t harvest this in the first year. A well-tended rhubarb patch can last for 20 years, though!

Each of these perennial crops are relatively easy to grow. You’ll want to read about each crop you choose to plant. It’s important to know how to properly nurture it, such as how much water or sunlight a specific plant needs. It’s also good to learn about soil types, so that you can try to amend your soil to accommodate your perennial crops. (Don’t worry too much about all of that though. Most plants are somewhat hearty. If your soil isn’t perfect, it doesn’t necessarily mean the crop will fail.)

Learn to forage in addition to planting crops that return on their own each year

A while back, here on The Hot Mess Press, we shared an article about foraging for food. It’s worth your time to read it, especially if you want to set a goal of growing more healthy foods at home. When you forage, you go hunting for food in the wild. It’s only safe to do if you’re on your own property or somewhere you know that hasn’t been sprayed with toxins. Earlier in this post, dandelions and plantain were mentioned. These are examples of wild plants you can forage. Consider digging up a patch or two and replanting them in your permanent garden space. Just remember that most weeds are prolific and will soon spread throughout the garden. You can always trim them back if you want to contain the size of a particular plot. (Keep in mind that the roots underground are spreading, as well.)

If you have a home garden, what kinds of perennial crops do you grow?

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