Perennial Vegetables in India
Vegetable gardening can be exciting and somewhat addictive. Unlike ornamental and flower gardening, growing vegetables is a more demanding job, as a gardener has to engage in a whole lot of dedicated activities. One has to follow a routine of general gardening practices like sowing, soil mixing, land preparations, watering schedule, plant protection, fertilizers etc.; to reach the stage of harvesting and pick your favourite veggies.
One thing the most vegetable gardeners feel sad about is that almost all the vegetable plants they grow are short lived. As most of the favorite vegetable are annuals, their harvesting season lasts only for about 2-3 months. Gardener has to grow new plants according to the ongoing seasons. However, some vegetable crops are perennial & will provide you with the continuous yield for many years once planted.
We bring you the list of perennial vegetables that you have to plant just once and enjoy the harvest for years to come.
1. Malabar spinach (Basella):
Popularly known as poi saag, this one is a highly nutritious species of spinach loaded with iron and plant proteins. The delicious, crunchy leaves make an excellent salad.
The plant is a creeper and can be allowed to climb on trellis, nets or permanent structures. It’s a hardy sun-loving plant and requires minimum care. Once established, the plant will provide a continuous supply of healthy green salad.
Read more about ‘Growing Malabar Spinach’
2. Drumsticks (Moringa):
Moringa is probably the only vegetable plant which is mostly a tree. Every part of the plant is edible, including its leaves and flowers. However, it is the fruits (pods) of moringa that are popular in India.
Drumstick plant should be grown on the ground in an open sunny location. However, it can be grown in big sized containers (drums or barrels) for terrace gardens. The foliage is available all year round, but flowers and drumstick pods are primarily available in late winter in India.
Read more about Growing Moringa (drumsticks): The miracle tree.
3. Tendli (Ivy gourd):
It’s a popular fruiting vegetable in India that belongs to cucumber/gourd family. Tendli sabzi is a typical dish made in Indian kitchens. Apart from being a vegetable, it is a highly medicinal plant too.
Ivy gourd is a perennial climber with tendrils. It can grow very well on fences and railings. The plant once established can cover a large area, and it can further propagate itself naturally in that region. It is usually grown by planting stem cuttings.
A recent introduction to Indian kitchen gardens, Asparagus is slowly making its way into the regular diet of urban India. Asparagus can be consumed grilled, roasted or stir-fry and is quick cooking, highly nutritious vegetable.
Asparagus should grow on the ground in fertile soil. It grows well in an open sunny situation. Asparagus should be given a permanent corner in your kitchen garden.
5. Taro (Colocasia):
Taro is an ancient vegetable of tropical world and is considered native to India. It is known by many local names like Arbi (Hindi), Alu (Maharashtra), Kosu (Assam) etc. Although it is a root vegetable, in India, it is primarily grown for its giant leaves. In the Indian states of Gujarat and Maharashtra, the leaves of the plant are used to make Alu Vadi (Patra) a dish with gram flour, tamarind and other spices.
There are many varieties of taro, and most of them have naturalized in Indian yards. The plant grows well under the shade of trees, in the marshy or damp soil. Every year it will form a new set of leaves from the ground.
Apart from these, there are many short-lived perennials (3-4 years) like Lablab beans, Green chillies which are usually grown as annuals in Indian conditions. Lablab beans can be trained to grow on a permanent trellis. Green chilli plants can be pruned to the bottom after every flush of fruits, and the plant can be grown as perennials in pots and containers.
Read more about ‘Vegetable Garden Layout’