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Ligaya Gardening Tips #6 the joy 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.

Here’s this week’s…

There's lots of perennials in Ligaya Garden.
There’s lots of perennials in Ligaya Garden.

If you ever look at the list of plants that we produce almost 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 main reason which underlies all the other reasons why we focus on perennials is convenience. It’s really that simple. 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 such as Blackberry Nightshade that live 2 or 3 years but the principle is the same.

We have perennial greens too – Warrigal Greens, Okinawa Spinach and the closely related Longevity Spinach, Water Parsley and others. Beetroot too, which we grow for its leaves you so we treat it as a short lived perennial. Lots of things are possible with a little research.

We focus on perennials in the front garden because:

Calendula self seed amongst the perennials.
Calendula self seed amongst the perennials.
  • you don’t have to disturb the soil every year when 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. Deep roots make the plants more drought tolerant.
  • it’s easier to train perennials vertically making harvesting easier. Growing vertically is essential in a small space such as Ligaya Garden
  • perennials are a bit bigger than annuals so that you don’t need to bend down so far to pick them
  • having the same plant in the same place every year makes tailoring fertilizer, pH and watering needs easier
  • they’re generally less troubled by lots of pest bugsĀ  – they sometimes have their own bugs that target species individually but in general, the big three pests – Snails, Slugs and Earwigs don’t affect them once they’re well established
  • many perennials can be grafted, giving you more varieties in your space
  • perennials favour mycorrhizal associations with fungi which contribute to the health of the plant, if not the garden in general

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!

You don't have to work so hard with perennials!
You don’t have to work so hard with perennials!

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