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How to Grow Perennial Vegetables: Low-maintenance, Low-impact Vegetable Gardening [Paperback]

Martin Crawford
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
RRP: 14.95
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Book Description

5 April 2012
Perennial vegetables are a joy to grow and require a lot less time and effort than annuals. In this book Martin Crawford gives comprehensive advice on all types of perennial vegetable (edible plants that live longer than three years), from ground-cover plants and coppiced trees to plants for bog gardens and edible woodland plants. There are many advantages to growing perennial vegetables, for example: * they need less tillage than conventional vegetables and so help retain carbon in the soil * the soil structure is not disturbed in their cultivation * they extend the harvesting season, especially in early spring * and, of course, they are much less work. Part One looks at why and how to grow these crops, and how to look after them for maximum health. Part Two features over 100 perennial edibles in detail, both common and unusual - from rhubarb to skirret; Jerusalem artichoke to nodding onions. This book offers inspiration and information for all gardeners, whether experienced or beginner, and also includes plenty of cooking tips. It includes beautiful colour photographs and illustrations throughout.

Frequently Bought Together

How to Grow Perennial Vegetables: Low-maintenance, Low-impact Vegetable Gardening + Creating a Forest Garden: Working with nature to grow edible crops + How to Make a Forest Garden: 1
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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Green Books (5 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1900322846
  • ISBN-13: 978-1900322843
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 16.5 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,199 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


This lovely book makes it clear that we are not just missing a trick, we are missing a feast. --Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

A really useful book... Let us start freeing outselves from the tyranny of the annual sowing, thinning and planting regime. --Bob Flowerdew

I admire tremendously the first-hand experience which informs Martin Crawford's writing. This book leads us down the path to a wealth of perennial vegetables and tells us how to combine them successfully. -- Anne Swithinbank. At last an in-depth book on perennial vegetables combined with Martin Crawford's usual diligence of research - essential reading. --Ben Law

About the Author

Martin started his working life a computer programmer but his passion for organic gardening quickly led to a change in career. Martin has had broad and varied horticultural/agricultural experience over the last 25 years - he has worked for the Yarner Trust in North Devon teaching small-scale organic agriculture; grown food for a small hotel on the Isle of Iona; restored the walled gardens of a manor house in mid-Devon; and run his own organic market garden and tree nursery in South Devon. His experience led him to the concept of forest gardening as a sustainable system that can flourish in our changing climate conditions and it was this that led to the founding of the Agroforestry Research Trust in 1992, where he has been systematically researching plant interactions, unusual crops, etc over the past 15 years. He currently manages a 2 acre Forest Garden in Dartington which he planted 15 years ago, he runs a commercial tree nursery specialising in unusual trees and shrubs and has an 8-acre trial site, researching fruit and nut trees. He also teaches courses on Forest Gardening and Growing Nut Crops, writes books and edits a quarterly journal, Agroforestry News. He is a director of 'Gaia', a Trust formed by James Lovelock to further his work. He lives in Dartington with his wife and 2 children. See for more information.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Learn to ear "weeds" 2 Jun 2012
By Roger
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Everything I've read from Martin Crawford has been fascinating, throwing a light on what normally passes unnoticed. There's a wealth of information here presented in a very easily assimilated way in a very attractive book .... the result has seen me happily visit the garden and pick dandelion leaves for a salad and even eat the flowers. You see the plants around you in a different light - just the job!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A host of exotic new crops to experiment with 3 Nov 2012
There are lots of good reasons to grow perennials, as this inspiring book demonstrates. You don't have to till or dig, which is good for gardener's backs, healthier for the soil and keeps CO2 in the ground. They allow you to extend your growing seasons and harvest food all year round. And since perennial plants tends to have deeper and more extensive root systems, the food is often richer in minerals and nutrients too.

How to grow perennial vegetables is a simple guide to this wonderland of `low maintenance, low impact vegetable gardening'. It begins with a guide to growing them, with notes on co-planting, mulches and planting patterns. There are useful lists of plants that fix nitrogen, or that are good in the shade. That's the first quarter of the book.

The rest of it is an A-Z of perennial vegetables, and it's an exotic collection indeed. There are hedgerow plants and wild foods like ramsons or rosebay willowherb, common crops from other parts of the world that we don't traditionally eat here but could, like mashua or oca. There are perennial versions of other vegetables, such as leeks, garlic or cabbage. There are plants that may already grow in your garden that you didn't know were edible, like iceplant or hostas. There are some proper freaks too, like the water caltrop, which grows tubers that look like horned bats.

As usual with such books, it is written with the zeal of an enthusiast and your definition of edible may not be the same as the author's. I was surprised to read that strawberry leaves can be eaten in salads for example, and promptly put the book down to go and try them. Suffice to say that I'd need to be pretty desperate before I eat strawberry leaves again.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fell to pieces 11 July 2012
By Rover
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The content of this volume is excellent, let down by the poor binding. The sort of book one wishes to read and refer to often but it just won't stand up to it. My copy fell to pieces after 30 weeks but was replaced by the publishers almost instantly on complaining so this one will be treated with far more gentleness! 3/10 for binding but 10/10 for service!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars prennial veg 24 Jun 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
All members of household thought it very good and had read/skipped though it after only two days. It has been consulted many times since. Only reason for not giving it 5 stars is the some of the pages have become loose as it is not very well constucted.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars unusual but useful 14 May 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book on perennial vegetables is very useful. It helps in exploring forgotten or ignored possibilities. The book contains both an interesting philosophy on an alternative gardening style, and a practical list of plants. It is of course even more useful in conjunction with Crawford's other recent book, that on Creating a Forest Garden. We should compliment Martin for his overall endeavor and the clarity of exposition.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!! 17 Dec 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
All of Martin Crawfords books are amazing! There is a little section on how to integrate perennial vegetables into your current garden or food forest and a great glossary on loads of different perennial veggies.

Well worth buying!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good but could be better 23 Sep 2012
By Suzy
First - The binding... It's hopeless. Although Amazon replaced the book efficiently the replacement copy had exactly the same problem, with the same pages falling out even though I was extra gentle with the book. The binding looses this book one star.

The book is very good in that it motivates and encourages to try perennial veg. Its well laid out and easy to follow giving information on how to use the unfamiliar vegetables as well as how to grow them. I already grew things like day lillies but was not harvesting them because I didn't know which part of the plant to use or what to do with it! So I found this book particularily helpful.

I found it quite frustrating that some entries gave very good information about cultivation, but others left out details that would be helpful such as spacing of plants... and harvesting details -eg for replant perenials what percentage do you leave in and what percentage do you harvest?

Also for the Alliums and Brassicas - the advice is not to keep them permanently in one place because of the potential build up of disease. More on rotation and companion planting and spacing to minimise the risk of disease would be helpful.

I liked Martin Crawford's other book on forest gardening much better. It was better quality and better information. That said I have found this book to be extremely useful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Eye Opener 3 Jan 2013
Like most people who grow vegetables I have a collection of books on the subject. Some are better than others but all cover pretty much the same ground. And these days I rarely read them.

This book is very different. I've had my eyes opened to a whole world of edible plants that if your like me, probably new little or nothing about. I really think it's the next step in home grown food.

The more you think about it, the more it makes sense in every way. Greater diversity and less digging in your vegetable garden means fewer pest and disease problems, healthier plants, healthier soil, more nutritious food, new flavours and best of all less work.

There are two basic parts to the book. the first section is an overview and general maintenance. The second part is an extensive A to Z of perennials vegetables. Each listing has an overview and then details on cultivation, harvesting, culinary uses etc.

If you like this book i'd also highly recommend another book by Martin Crawford "Creating a Forest Garden".
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Crawford is great
Crawford is a great author he is capable of transmitting to the reader all his knowing of the plants carachteristics. greta guide useful to select plants and know there needs
Published 3 months ago by Lorenzo Costa
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, very useful in planning and harvesting perennial...
I have thoroughly enjoyed this book, and have probably not had it for long enough to find out whether I shall share the major complaint here about binding! Read more
Published 4 months ago by miss kl treasure
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic
As per all Martin Crawfords books and work it is first class and ground-breaking. I learnt SO much from this one smallish book that for me will become, if there is any justice, a... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Green Man
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
Martin Crawford's book is helpful, informative and inspirational.
I wish he'd come and stand by my side as I garden...
Published 15 months ago by J from Suffolk
5.0 out of 5 stars al you need to know
very informative and enlightening opening a new look at what it is possible to grow and eat from your garden
Published 17 months ago by david thorpe
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Fascinating and informatve, lots of unusual vegetables that I had never heard of, I found the tuberous rooted ones particularly interesting.
Published 18 months ago by Terry John Ide
5.0 out of 5 stars How to grow Perennial Vegetables
Easy, readable format that covers all the bases. Good notes on a variety of specific perennial vegetables, some more common that others.
Published 19 months ago by W. A. Mc Allister
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern Techniques in Gardening
This book opens up a new way of vegetable gardening that will not only allow you to try new vegetables to taste but also make gardening easier, an excellent read.
Published 20 months ago by Mr. Deryck Forrest
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing quality of the actual book
As per other reviews, the quality of the book is crap, pages falling out within a very short time. The content however is great. A very interesting book which will be used a lot.
Published 21 months ago by Jo
4.0 out of 5 stars Pages falling out
Martin Crawford's book is an excellent guide for anyone interested in permaculture, forest gardening or just people with an interest in growing some more unusual types of veg. Read more
Published 23 months ago by vrapce
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