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Ligaya Gardening Tips #9 the joys of perennials

We often get asked for gardening tips, so have decided to do a weekly post describing things we do to keep our garden going well with little effort.

I’ll collate them on this page.

Perennials form the bulk of our garden plant varieties

As this is about the best time to get perennials in locally so that they’re established before the Summer heat, I thought it would be a great time to talk about why we use so many perennials at Ligaya Garden.

If you ever look at the list of plants that we have every year, you may notice two things.

First, there are quite a few annual greens, but they are left to self seed each year. Since we confined the chooks, we have a god seed bank built up in the soil. The rest of the annuals grow in the aquaponics system.

Then you’ll notice that the bulk of the plants are perennials…

The reason which underlies all the other reasons we focus on perennials is convenience. It’s really that basic. You can complicate it as much as you want (and I see lots of posts that do that) but it really just comes down to convenience.

Plant the appropriate perennial in the right place, nurture it for a bit and you have a plant that will live for quite a while with little further care.

There are some ‘short lived’ perennials that live 2 or 3 years but the principle is the same.

We have perennial greens too – Warrigal Greens, Okinawa Spinach, Thai Spinach, Silverbeet, Beetroot (if you grow it for the leaves, you can treat it as a short lived perennial), Water Parsley. Lots of things are possible with a little research.

Possible reasons to focus on perennials are:

  • you don’t have to disturb the soil every year through planting
  • watering is more efficient because the roots are deeper and you can use more effective drip irrigation, which you don’t need to move around every year
  • it’s easier to train perennials vertically making harvesting easier (plus often perennials are a bit bigger than annuals so that you don’t need to bend down so far to pick)
  • having the same plant in the same place every year makes tailoring fertizer, pH and watering needs easier
  • they’re generally less troubled by lots of pest bugs  – they sometimes have their own bugs that target them specifically but in general, snails, slugs and earwigs don’t affect them once they’re well established

There could be more, but I reckon the one thing that underlies all the possible reasons is convenience. You just don’t need to work so hard with perennials and that’s a winner in my book!

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